Directed By: Anthony and Joe Russo
Written By: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Release Date: April 4th, 2014
Run Time: 2h 16min
Link to IMDb
Hell yeah! We’re getting back on the Quality Train, baby!
After Captain America: The First Avenger (as well as a few terrible movies from before the turn of the century), I believed that a good Captain America movie was impossible. I mean, come on, just look at the dude! There’s no way he could star in a genuinely entertaining, nicely made and well written movie!
Well there was. In fact, it’s possible for him to star in one of the best films in the entire MCU.
This movie fucking rules! The writing is fantastic, with one of the most engaging stories in the whole series, the actors are doing an amazing job, and best of all: it’s actually significant to the MCU as a whole! It’s got everything I look for in a movie like this.
Except for good action. But we’ll get to that.
First, what do I mean by significant? I’ve never mentioned that before. How is this movie significant and the others aren’t? Well, the others are plenty significant in a few ways. But the only real significance they have is “They introduce a character” or “They introduce The Avengers as a team”. It’s very surface level in terms of their significance.
Winter Soldier’s plot (spoiler alert, in case you haven’t seen a five year old movie) has plenty of important events that directly effect the rest of the MCU beyond introducing new characters. Mainly with two events: the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra’s resurgence (even if the ladder was concluded in this movie, it still has some important repercussions for the rest of the series). Yes, the complete collapse of the agency that funds The Avengers happened not in an actual Avengers movie. That whole thing was Captain America/ Black Widow’s problem.
Thanks Tony, Bruce, Flint and Thor. Glad you guys have got their backs.
We also meet one of my favorite characters in the series: Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier edition. I think this guy is awesome! He looks bad ass, he’s seemingly unstoppable in action, and his role in Steve Roger’s story is both interesting and well executed. Having a small but important part of Steve’s old life from the past suddenly return as an antagonistic force is an easy and effective source of drama! Since he’s all Steve has left from his old life, it creates a great amount of tension throughout the film. Will he be able to save his friend? Or will he have to put him down for the greater good?
The film also introduces Falcon! AKA nobodies favorite super hero! He’s… okay. I don’t like him much personally, but his presence doesn’t make the movie as a whole worse. But here he is!
Also introduced in this film is the relationship between Natasha and Steve. No, I don’t mean a romantic one (thank god). In The Avengers, these two didn’t have any real relationship with each other. But here, they have a strong brother-sister dynamic that is very entertaining to watch! The two play off of each other very well, and it makes me care for Black Widow way more than I did before.
Granted, it’s not hard to go up from nothing at all.
Still, this movie is far from perfect. The usual Marvel problems are still here on full display. The cinematography is dull and uninspired, with very few creative and visually interesting shots to break things up. The villains are bland and uninteresting, with their only goal being ‘finish what the Nazi party started seventy years ago because we’re Nazis and that’s just what we do’. And the action is really poor and not very interesting to watch.
The action part especially hurts after watching Iron Man 3. In that movie, Tony utilized his wits and his suits in creative ways that made the action super fun to watch from beginning to end. It was creative, put the character’s personality and abilities on full display, and it was all important to the plot.
Here? It’s one dude who knows karate fighting another dude who knows karate. It’s not super well choreographed, with neither party being very creative in the use of their skills or abilities. When combined with the shaking camera that’s almost nauseating most of the time, you get action that is disorienting, visually uninteresting and lacking in any stand out qualities. The only impressive thing about it is that the actors/ stunt doubles pulled it off.
Aside from those issues, this movie is an absolute blast. It’s well made, the writing is excellent (save for a few corny lines of dialogue that feel ripped straight out of the comics), and it serves as an important turning point to the rest of the MCU. I know a lot of people who say this is their favorite film in the series, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s just a shame that those issues are still a plague on these movies, because this movie could have been so much better if they were ironed out.
Alright, that one was pretty good. What have we got next? I mean, not that it really matters, it’ll pale in comparison to this one anyways if the previous trends have shown us any-
What? It’s Guardians of the Galaxy?
This week just went from good to great!