American Ingenuity – A review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Title: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Production Company: Marvel Entertainment
Run Time: 136 minutes
Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo
Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan
Summary: Captain America is the ideal hero for us on the big screen. He has no super powers, just a marvelous physique and an intellect that helps him uncover plots and underminings that threaten the U.S. and our way of life. This movie is must-see.
Captain America was always one of my favorite comic book characters when I was a kid. I used to collect his comic along with Marvel’s Avengers and I read them diligently every week.
When the first movie came out in 2011, I was amazed at how true to the story and how well played and accurate the script was to the comic. For fans like me, this was a dream come true, especially given how horrible previous movie and television attempts had been to create Cap.
I was skeptical about the casting of Chris Evans (who had previously played hothead Johnny Storm in the critically lambasted Fantastic Four, another favorite comic of mine) but he managed to pull it off with just the right amount of snarkiness and reverence required for the role.
Now here he is, back for round two in WashingtonDC, working with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and uber hottie Black Widow Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) to stop a government plan to eavesdrop on Americans via a top secret project called Insight.
And yet again, art imitates life. Bet the NSA would love to get their hands on the three helicarriers S.H.I.E.L.D. built for this project. For the uninitiated, that stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division – in the movies, anyway. The acronym is different in the comics…but I digress.
Along the way, Captain American must face off with a foreign operative codenamed the Winter Soldier, a character who, it turns out, played a strong influence on young Steve Rogers before the super serum turned him into the man wearing red, white and blue.
And there is a major plot shift in the works for the Marvel movies. Evil directorate Hydra has managed to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D and our government with highly placed operatives intent on destroying our way of life as we know it.
It’s fitting that Captain America, the comics’ symbol of American resilience and freedom, is the man to uncover the plot and work diligently to uproot the forces of Hydra and restore the integrity of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cap’s sidekick in the comic book was a man codenamed the Falcon. In the comic, he was fitted with large synthetic wings that allowed him to soar through the air, much like his character’s namesake.
Here, the synthetic wings have been replaced with deployable steel wings and a rocket pack which, I’m sure, took some serious training to learn how to use. After all, we saw how long it took Tony Stark to learn how to use his repulsors in the Iron Man movies to achieve flight.
Of course Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) doesn’t have the benefit of an iron suit of armor to protect him while he’s flying, so a natural aptitude for handling the machinery is a must for the aeronaut. Needless to say, the effects masters have assured he has that proficiency.
Additionally, we find that Nick Fury isn’t the only guy at the top of the S.H.I.E.L.D. food chain. Legendary actor Robert Redford joins the cast as Alexander Pierce, a bureaucrat who just may have an agenda of his own.
The ultimate irony here is that, at a time when Americans are finding it hard to trust our government and our leaders, here in the Marvel universe, we’re seeing and experiencing much the same, albeit on a more far-fetched level. But isn’t that why Hollywood created popcorn cinema?
The story implies that Americans desire protection and security over freedom, which is why Hydra was so easily able to infiltrate our culture and our government. In his own way, Cap reminds us of how things were in the ‘40’s when the world was a much simpler place and time in which to live.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a comic book movie that is very much a must see this year. While many may think it’s just a tale ripped from the pages of kiddie books, it really is an allegory to the freedom and way of life that we live here in the U.S. and, even more so, why we must be vigilant and strive to protect it or else its loss is imminent.
I give Captain America: The Winter Soldier five out of five stars.