Captain America: The Winter Soldier

April 7, 2014

“Having Captain America around you all the time.  He just–the guy just brings out the absolute best in people.  You…want to be good when he’s around.”

 — Hawkeye #1, Matt Fraction


This is from the new run of Hawkeye that started a year or so ago, and I love it because it sums up so much of what’s great about Captain America.  (Mind you, I’ve taken this quote terribly out of context — in the next panel Clint reminds the bad guy he’s threatening to beat up that Captain America isn’t around right now and he’s therefore not entirely at his best.  But still.)

The first Captain America movie was about Steve Rogers and his story arc.  This movie is about Steve’s impact on the people around him.  How even Natasha Romanoff, presented as one of the most morally compromised characters in the Marvel universe, wants to be a better person around Steve.  And she succeeds.  The overall story is political/spy thriller, and terrible things happen, and our beloved world is falling apart.  The characters who come together to try to make it right do so because Steve is asking them to.  He’s the glue, the moral center, in a story about what is good, and what is right.  I love ensemble stories, everything from G.I. Joe to Aliens.  This is a good one.

I think Chris Evans deserves a ton of credit for selling these movies and this version of Captain America.  He plays it so straight, and my heart just melts.  An inch more earnest and the character would come off as cheesy.  An inch less earnest he would come off as sarcastic.  This…he just gets it.

I also love that the Marvel films, particularly the Avengers sequence, are confident enough to play with details.  This is a very rich universe — not just in depth and information, but in emotion.  Make sure you notice the necklace Natasha is wearing.  I love that Steve gets a friend in Sam who’s a modern war vet — maybe the first person in his new life he’s been able to really relate to.  More Falcon, please!  I got a Peggy scene. *SOB*

But what may be the movie’s greatest triumph is making me excited to see the next Agents of SHIELD episode, to see how the hell they carry on from here.


5 Responses to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

  1. From some of the things I’ve read, the writers of “Agents of SHIELD” have prepared for this moment. Then again, since Joss is the producer, and he’s big in the MU now, it was probably something they’ve had in mind since the beginning.

    And I do love how Chris sells Cap. You really *believe* he is Captain American.

  2. ArcLight Says:

    Agreed on all points. I have to admit I was worried back when Evans was first cast, but he was great in the first one and has stayed firmly in the zone.

    And yes, part of what made this movie so good was the knowledge that these events are going to be felt in the rest of the MCU and wanting to see how that plays out.

  3. jlmerrow Says:

    So much yes. Falcon was awesome! 😀
    And I like your point re Chris Evans – he does such a good job, it’s not immediately obvious what a knife edge he’s on.

  4. David Bowles Says:

    I’m not even a Capt America fan, but I really enjoyed this move. Much better than any Iron Man film, even the first one. I still like X2 the best, though. I’m hoping that Days of Future Past changes that.

    The quality of antagonist often really determines the quality of these movies. The Avengers movie was better when the CGI loser aliens *weren’t* on the screen. However, the Winter Solider and Magneto are both forces to be reckoned with, and it improves their films greatly.

  5. When you think about it, this basically explains why the first half season of Agents of SHIELD was so relentlessly mediocre. The writers knew all along what was coming, so they couldn’t make any major life changes to their characters. They had to just mark time, try to fill them out a bit, and then just not do a whole lot with them until this happened. (This also explains why they had so many gaps in the airing over the last few months; they had to slow everything down so the series and the movie aligned.)

    It can be a challenge to come up with interesting stories about people who have everything. But take everything away from them and you’ve got a recipe for a cracking good time. Let’s hope that the rest of the season lives up to this potential.

    And it’s worth noting that this is something that’s never been tried before: making a TV series cross over in a major way with major motion pictures. It’s like comic books playing out on the screen. If works, we could see other experiments in that way. We might start seeing tie-in movies for TV series while the TV series are still on the air; how cool would that be?

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