Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I saw it last night, and two friends said, "I'm looking forward to your review," so I guess I should write one.  First off, I greatly enjoyed this movie.  Like many movies on the big screen, sometimes it's hard for me to take it all in the first time around.  I probably won't be able to see this one a second time in the theaters, so let's see what my brain remembers from last night's 11:10 p.m. showing.

First, here's the trailer to get us in the mood:

First off, the negatives (there aren't that many):
  • Bad Hair.  I hate the Black Widow's hair in this movie.  I know she's had different hair for each of these movies, and her Avengers hair was the best, in my opinion.  The ringlets were far too fussy for an assassin.  The Avengers bob was the perfect color and length for the Russian spy on the go.  It moved with her acrobatics and gunslinging just right.  This flat-iron job is too, well, flat.  The color is flat with too much dull orange for her complexion.  Plus, what spy has time to flat-iron her hair every morning?  About halfway through this 136-minute movie, it finally stopped distracting me.
  • Lack of Guyliner.   Look at that very last shot of the Winter Soldier.  LOOK AT IT!  Do you see the fantastic guyliner he's sporting?  Okay, fine, it's more like the stuff football players wear to protect from glare, but let's not split hairs here.  SPOILER ALERT:  That awesome eye make-up is not in the movie.  My Facebook nemesis friend Ben said that maybe it's just in the trailer to help "disguise" his real identity.  Whatever.  I wanted guyliner, goddammit!
Supervillains this season are sporting the "morning after" eye make-up, a.k.a. "The Raccoon."
Now on to the positives.  While I do adore Iron Man's snark, Steve Rogers' combination of "Boy Scout" and dry humor is right up there, too.  That and the fact that he's more of a "defensive" fighter than offensive make him a nice change from some of the other superheroes.  Captain America:  The First Avenger is, of course, an origin story; the recent Marvel special, Assembling a Universe, called it "a period action film."  I liked that.  This being Cap's third movie, we know who he is.  So there's less exposition and more explosion.  A LOT more explosions.  Like a lot.  I jumped and squealed several times.  There are also a lot more fight sequences for the Captain; they were really able to show off his moves.

Speaking of "showing off" the Captain, his arms -- mostly his shoulders -- are HUGE in this movie.  They are noticeably larger than his previous films.  Almost too big.  He's not the Hulk, and I don't want them to make him look too far outside of human norms.  He's not Mark McGwire, for goodness sake.  In fact, there was one action sequence where I commented, "Is he the Hulk now?" because of his recklessness.  His fury (pun intended) in terms of plot make sense in that moment, but I still thought it was pushing the limits of his superhero strength.

Wait, I thought this was the positive section?

  • The Falcon.  A.K.A. Sam Wilson.  His humor is right on par with Steve's.  His character was fun with still the right dose of reality.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.
  • Black Widow.  Besides the hair, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff can really do no wrong in my eyes.  Her timing is impeccable.
  • Attention to Detail.  These little "bits" are part of what make all of these movies work together in the same universe.  Some examples:
    • Natasha wears a small necklace.  Look at it carefully during the close-up shots.  I don't want to spoil it for you, but I definitely know what I think it means.
    • Nick Fury's costuming. 
      It's the toy that says, "Bad-ass motherfucker" on it.
      In the previous movies, he's all bad-ass (as only Samuel L. Jackson can be) with his leather trench coat.  While he may be the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he's still anti-authority.  Take for example this bit of dialogue from The Avengers:
      • World Security Council: "Director Fury, the council has made a decision."
        Nick Fury: "I recognize the council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it."
      • In the beginning of The Winter Soldier, Director Fury is attempting to tell the Captain to get on board with S.H.I.E.L.D. and all its bureaucracy (shown in the trailer).  Look at his clothing.  That is not the bad-ass Nick Fury we all know and love.  His clothing is very military-esque, showing that he's part of "the man" now.
    • Nick Fury's epitaph.  It goes by quickly, but read it carefully.  :-)
I will not give away any spoilers, but there are plenty of plot twists and turns that I totally fell for, even though I should have known better, as well as introductions to further Marvel characters.

Our previews also showed us the trailer for X-Men:  Days of Future Past and godDAMN!  That looks pretty intense.  I may need to rewatch X-Men:  First Class; although, each time I've rewatched it, I like it less and less.  And that makes me sad because I loved it in the theater.

I was going to post the second Winter Soldier trailer in here for you, but I think it gives too much away.  Gotta leave something for the film, right??  So here's the X-Men:  Days of Future Past trailer instead.

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