Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier (****3/4)
S.H.I.E.L.D. is in trouble
Cap versus Winter Soldier
Falcon is awesome
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. I LOVE Marvel movies. And I'm so pleased—in the best of ways—with how much better they keep getting. Captain America: The Winter Soldier didn't let me down one bit.
The movie picks up post-Avengers. Steve and Natasha are working for S.H.I.E.L.D., policing what needs to be policed and going where Nick Fury tells them to go. When a "routine" mission nearly goes south, Steve realizes that Nick isn't telling him the truth. And when Nick is attacked by a mysterious—and oddly familiar—figure called the Winter Soldier, Steve realizes that the lying goes much deeper/higher in the organization than Director Fury.
Captain America is an interesting character. On the one hand, he's a total square. He believes more than anything in good triumphing over evil, but in a world that's full of greys, his black and white views don't always work. It's been interesting to see Steve grow as a character from Captain America: The First Avenger through The Avengers and now into Cap 2. He's finally coming to terms with the fact that life isn't always so cut and dry. And although good can eventually win over evil, sometimes you might have to fudge the rules a bit to get things done. Chris Evans does such a great job of portraying a man out of time. (And to think there was a time when I was worried if he could pull it off!) He's getting a bit more humor with each role, too, which is something I love and Marvel does so well (i.e., mixing the humor in with the action).
Out of the rest of the supporting characters, Anthony Mackie stood out to me as the best new addition. Falcon is a fun character with a well thought-out back story, and makes an awesome quasi sidekick for Steve. Sebastian Stan was good as the Winter Soldier, but he didn't do much other than shoot at/punch people and blow stuff up. But that's pretty necessary in a mysterious supervillain, so it worked. The movie's ending left his story wide open, so I'm sure there will be much more character building to come. (Plus, there's that whole nine-picture deal thing to consider.)
And now—DEFINITE SPOILERS AHEAD. I've written the below in white type so as to not spoil things for those of you who haven't seen it. Highlight the space below if you'd like to read more.
I'm really curious as to how the demolition of S.H.I.E.L.D. will effect the rest of the Marvel properties. I read this weekend that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (a.k.a. that TV show that we should be watching but just sits on our DVR languishing instead ... ) will be affected by the movie, which I think is just so cool. Marvel really thinks things out, and it makes me smile.
And as with any Marvel movie, Cap 2 featured some Easter eggs that point to the rest of the Marvel 'verse. My favorites were:
- Natasha's necklace was a small arrow. Reference to a certain Clint Barton, perhaps?
- Stephen Strange was name-dropped at one point.
- The "twins" in the mid-credits scene were Aaron Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, who are playing Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
If it's not obvious already, I'd highly recommend this movie—to anyone, not just Marvel movie fans!