I used to read a lot of comic books. Maybe too many. Eventually, with the pesky responsibilities of work and 'life', I couldn't keep up and stopped reading altogether. Which is really a shame, since the stories and visuals in comics are way better than many things on TV or in theaters (the secret is creativity). But with everything I read, I never cared about Captain America. I knew very little about him, except he was maybe overly patriotic, and something about being frozen from World War II, and he had a shield. Whatever. He showed up everywhere but I never gave a crap about Cap (you can use that if you want).
Then in 2011, Marvel Comics released Captain America: The First Avenger, as part of their ginormous Phase One story arc of epic superheroes movies. At the time, all I could think is whyyyyyyyy???, when there were so many other interesting characters they could have translated to movies. But because I am a slut for superheroes, I saw it anyway, and then I suddenly decided Captain America is one of the most awesome characters eva! See me rant about how great that movie was here.
Cap continued to be extra awesome in Avengers (and here is that rant). And finally, after all the Shawarma dust settled, Marvel is ready to move into Phase Two of their epic superhero lineup, which includes Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Okay, in my efforts to keep my reviews spoiler free, I've overly simplified the plot. But this movie was anything but simple! Huge thumbs up to writers Stephen McFeely, and Christopher Markus for creating a complex storyline that actually worked! Generally, simpler is better. But this was a successful rare exception of combining action with a well thought out storyline.
One story element I can tell you about (sort of), is the Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan). If you've been paying attention, writing has taught us: With great writing, comes a great bad guy. So without giving anything away, I will tell you, OMG this guy is soooo awesome! He is the perfect ass-kicking counterpart to Cap, with a well developed origin. And he seriously made me question my own sexuality because he is quite dreamy.
But successfully reminding me that I am in fact still heterosexual, we get Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson.... mmmm....), who seems to get hotter with every movie. We also get a bonus with Sam Wilson aka Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie), who has his own share of kick ass moments. And lest we not forget plenty of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, kicking his own share of ass.
Oh, also Robert Redford has an important role and does some stuff... meh.
Now before you think this is the most awesome epic movie ever made... there was a problem. Most of the directing by Anthony Russo, and Joe Russo was well done and kept me engaged visually. But... PLEEEEEASE pull your camera back and show us your fight choreography!! This wasn't as bad as some movies in the past *COUGH*jj.abrams*COUGH*michael.bay*COUGH*, I could mostly see what was going on, but it would have been nice to not make us feel like the cameraman was trying to break them up the whole time. With two directors, I am curious if maybe one of them filmed the story elements, and the other directed action sequences. In which case, I'm only angry at one of them. But which one.....
And finally, bonus points for ABC's series Agents of SHIELD for successfully writing episodes around the events from Cap 2! I was not originally a big fan of this show, and felt the stories were a bit predictable, the characters were bland, and visually it was dark and had no life. The last few weeks have revitalized a lot of the characters, and they started to finally add more colors and light into the show. And recently, incorporating events from Cap 2, they suddenly have my attention.
There was a lot of hype surrounding this movie, and going in, I was very apprehensive. But yes, believe the hype. It was VERY well done! Now, once again, I need to re-evaluate my top list of best Marvel movies.
In the meantime, did I mention Scarlett Johansson was in this?