Greetings from the Odinson,
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit theatres this month and I’m here to tell you, boys and girls, it was well worth the wait. Winter Soldier is, without a doubt, the second best Marvel movie to date. Iron Man gets all the credit in the world for getting it right and kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the spectacle of seeing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes come to life in Avengers still holds the title, but Winter Soldier is the standard by which all future Marvel movies, nay, all comic book based super hero movies will be measured.
This was a good movie, full of drama, character driven story, and action, Action, ACTION! The story revolves around a conspiracy that threatens to destroy SHIELD and democracy from within. The freedoms of every man, women, and child in the world are on the line. And when freedom is threatened, there is only one man for the job – Steve Rogers. The film also further explores what it’s like for Rogers as he tries to acclimate himself to present day life. This is beautifully illustrated when Rogers pulls out his to do list which includes him getting familiar with all sorts pop culture he missed in the last half of the 20th Century like Marvin Gaye, Nirvana, and Star Wars/Trek among other things.
Things get complicated as the story unfolds for Rogers is finding it increasingly hard to know who he can and cannot trust. In true Marvel fashion, this film has all the elements in it that make it a wonderful adaptation of the source material. It’s full of Marvel Easter eggs. I won’t list them all at this time for I do not want to spoil the surprises for those that have not seen the film yet, but I will ask that pop culture fans look for the gem the film makers put in that ties the Winter Soldier to Quentin Tarantino’s classic film Pulp Fiction.
Films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Dark Knight show the true potential comic book super hero movies have. And they show just how remarkable the experience can be when not bogged down by an “Origin Story.” There’s a reason these stories have been around for seventy-five years – they work! Some filmmakers, when they get their hands on these jewels, feel like they have to reinvent the wheel. Every time a new 007 movie comes out, we don’t need to see his origin retold. He’s James Bond, a secret agent with a license to kill or be killed, now go save the world. Besides, no one is ever going to improve on the original origin stories told in Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie or Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. At best, the filmmakers can improve on CGI FX, at worst they’ll add flourishes or retcons that alienate and upset longtime fans. Just tell the next adventure, please! Hopefully The Winter Soldier will be a step in a new direction of adapting great comic book stories for film the way Hollywood has adapted novels.
The way the movie portrays my hero, Captain America, is exactly how I envision him when I am reading my favorite comics. Chris Evans is amazing as Steve Rogers. Sam Jackson (Nick Fury), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) all return to lend support to our hero and their performances are pitch perfect. But the breakout star of the film has to be Anthony Mackie as the Falcon. Seeing this long underrated character come to life on the Big Screen was worth the price of admission.
The journey of the title character was fantastic. And though you don’t really have to have seen Captain America: The First Avenger or The Avengers in order to enjoy The Winter Soldier, it does add to the experience. This film was like watching a James Bond movie, but with Captain America in the lead. It is definitely worth your hard earned shekels and it comes with my highest recommendation.
Odinson Rating: 5 out of 5 Hammers and a Thunder Clap
Here’s a list of material that inspired film and expands on the characters and themes explored within: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, Nick Fury vs. SHIELD, America Lost, Captain America and the Falcon, Captain America #273-274, Captain America #303, Captain America #363-364, and Black Widow: Deadly Origin.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell