Imagine a world where a secret division of the government controls it all. Where every move is a calculated one against the inattentive masses. Where a multi-billion dollar organization can produce sequel after sequel after sequel of movies, each less unique and well crafted than the next, and still make a sh*t load of money.
Well, the future is now! As a fan of Captain America’s first outing, I was looking forward to the latest installment but having experienced the utter blandness of each and every superhero movie from the year 2013 I was fearful of what could go wrong. Turns out, I was right in both areas and thus, I was also wrong. Captain America The Winter Soldier is good…..and just that. If you’ve seen any other good superhero movie in the past, then you’ve seen better than this.
(The next paragraphs contain big spoilers. You have been warned.)
The story, much like the movie on the whole, is generic but in an odd sort of way. It feels like the film-makers watched the entire Bourne series (or just the latest installment) and went “Hey, let’s put that in the next Captain America movie!” And they did…only they forgot the clever writing…or dialogue…or Matt Damon. I know I’m gifted at predicting the plots of movies before they unfold, but I kid you not when I say I predicted every single “twist” within the first 15 minutes, several of which I gathered from simply watching the trailer.
The government official who acts like a great superior/friend of character who dies turns out to be the evil mastermind? The major character who “dies” twenty minutes into the film turns out to be alive later through the use of BS heart-stopping injection plot device? The masked silent enemy that’s a force to be reckoned with turns out to be a character previously thought to be dead and is also a close friend of the main character? Despite trying to pretend to be an intelligent and distinctive Marvel movie entry, it just ends up being a generic and pretentious popcorn flick in a number of ways.
I brought up the dialogue earlier and that’s probably the only area that’s even worse than the plot. For a film that has several great actors (Chris Evans, Scarlett Johanson, Samuel Jackson) it has a bizarre tendency to give them a plethora of cheesy one-liners that somehow manage to not be entertaining. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before. Most cheesy lines are at the very least enjoyable in the “so bad it’s good” sense or they’re just plain awesome like in every other better Marvel action movie, but in Captain America 2, the dialogue is nothing short of painful.
One thing that really bothered me were the characters, all five billion of them. Seriously, why where there so many bland side characters? I don’t think even Avengers had this many characters competing for screen time, and even then at least most of them were superheroes…and where mostly competing by pile-driving each other in the face. This turned out to be problematic because as it stands, I don’t feel connected to a single character in Captain America 2 because none of them were thouroughly developed.
Take even one of the new heroes, Falcon, who has this awesome jetpack wing thingy and kicks ass, he’s mostly dedicated to be a distraction to Hydra enemies so the Cap can do his thing. Half of these characters were new ones, and I really don’t see why there was a need to make so many of them, or even pull them from existing Marvel lore. Come on guys, there’s gonna be at least two or three Marvel movies every year from now on, it’s not like you won’t have the chance to give each and every character in the Marvel universe their own time to shine.
At this point you’re probably wondering why I actually think Captain America 2 to be good seeing as all I’ve done is rail on it from the opening paragraph? Well the thing is, despite all of this, there is one aspect that works in Captain America 2, and that’s the action, which is essential for this kind of movie. It does a good job of changing up the fight scene a lot, and by that I mean you won’t see the same thing again and again. On top of this, Captain America, Falcon, Black Widow and all the baddies get some fairly well choreographed fight scenes. I do feel like the directing could’ve been a little less shaky and more clean and crisp at times but at this point I’m just knit picking.
Ultimately, whether you like Captain America 2 or not is going to be determined by how much you expect from a superhero sequel. I try to judge media by how it is crafted, and unfortunately everything but the action in Captain America 2 is not at all excellent. But, it’s a good thing the onscreen action is engaging because it feels like that’s something every superhero movie from 2013 forgot, among other things. In the end, Captain America 2 felt like the kind of the movie I could’ve waited to rent instead of pay to see in a theatre, and to me, that’s somewhat of a letdown. I really hope this isn’t going to be a trend for superhero movies, where they just continue to degrade in quality corporate milking of franchises persists as time pushes onward. I’m looking at you, Amazing Spiderman 2. Your predecessors were stellar. I hope you are as well.
Conclusion: Captain America: The Winter Soldier gets a 7/10.
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