Monday, April 7, 2014

I've Already Seen The Winter Soldier Twice...

And this new Captain America film is pretty much everything I desired from the character.
The First Avenger left me stumped because it couldn't find a balance between its action and its story, so when the action finally came it was shoved into a little 15 minute montage in the last quarter of the film. Not to mention the idea of Cap back in WWII is only made really cool by the advent of the same man doing that job in present day with his past keeping him from being grounded. At the start of The Winter Soldier, Cap has clearly buried himself in his work since the events of The Avengers. He hasn't made very many personal connections because he's been in shock since waking up from deep freeze. So imagine his surprise when something from his past comes back to haunt him... something from his old life. Of course, once he knows the truth he's gonna do everything in his power to find that connection and keep it.
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely did an excellent job of just presenting us with the story of The Winter Soldier given the materials they had to work with from previous films. And almost every element worked. The Winter Soldier acts as a force of nature coming in and cleaning up his bosses' messes. And if you've ever been interested in the books, that character begins in almost that very same way.
However, I do wish those two screenwriters were allowed to make a second pass on this script. When the story broke several months ago that they had delivered a first draft and the studio had accepted it without need of revision I was both excited and... scratching my head. Now seeing the final product, I do see a first draft on screen... a very good first draft, but one that probably could have felt more fluid and concise with an additional pass for the writers to figure out their characters' voices.
The biggest complaint I've heard about this stream of super hero flicks of late is that no one ever dies, so there's never any fear for the characters no matter how insane the situation. And there is some truth to that... Even when the filmmakers managed to kill someone important off in The Avengers, that character was willed back to life so that Marvel could have a tv show... a subpar yet sometimes passable tv show (granted it has begun to pick up a little steam of late). So I agree with that sentiment... However, these are comic book movies... and just because Game of Thrones truly makes you fear for all of your favorite characters doesn't mean every series has to do that. I love Game of Thrones, but it is not the model for super heroes and it shouldn't be. Game of Thrones would not be as good as it is if everything did what it does all the time. Now the only really confusing thing to me is how crucial a part Joss Whedon has played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). When you consider how famous he got for ruthlessly killing off fan favorite characters in series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, it does make you scratch your head to see that he's been so open to so little death in these. But then he only controls The Avengers and can't be in charge of everything.
Chris Evans is doing an excellent job of selling this classic character. Where I was uncertain of the casting before (due to the Fantastic Four), I am now an adamant supporter of this choice. Thank god Scarlett Johansson was in this movie.
On more than one occasion she saved scenes for me because it was clear just how much fun she was having. I'm glad she's becoming such an important part of these films. Samuel L. Jackson had a lot more to do in this flick. And it's cool to see him play in the universe, but at the end of the day he really is just being Samuel L. Jackson.
One really nice surprise was the inclusion of Anthony Mackie as Falcon. This character was critical to the Winter Soldier book run and brought a new life to the film. He played his part with class and even though his "zingers" weren't all that funny, Mackie somehow managed to make them sound so sincere that I accepted them for wholly different reasons. I was also very glad to see Emily VanCamp make an appearance. She's been good for a while now and landed a part that could see a lot more screen time in the not too distant future. The last actor I'd like to mention goes back to the first film and really plays into the brilliance of the screenwriters... Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola. He may have only had one scene, but man was that a cool way to pay tribute to that character. If you haven't seen it yet (who hasn't seen it yet?) just keep an eye open.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier rips Steve Rogers out of the 1940s and gives us the action that we've been asking for. And while I wouldn't call it the best Marvel film in this current franchise, it is a very welcome addition to the MCU.

No comments:

Post a Comment