Happy first review of the year! I picked a hell of a movie to start off with. Cap 2* came out this past Friday, I went to see it Saturday and then again on Sunday (today). I haven't seen a movie in theatres back-to-back days since the Avengers had come out where I almost went 3 days in a row. So let me give you the run down before I head into spoiler territory. This is a great film and stand toe-to-toe with The Avengers and The Dark Knight. Cap 2 takes Superhero movies to the next level, combining compelling characters and story with top notch action and effects.
Now, let's get into what I liked about the film. And there's a lot to like. The movie opens with Cap meeting up with Sam Wilson aka Falcon. I really liked this dynamic and how Steve interacts with the characters around him, especially his allies. This first scene gives us some humor and I like that the movie was not overly funny unlike The Avengers. With that ensemble, you were able to take the ridiculousness and absurdity of these colourful characters and have fun with it. With Cap going solo, it's much more grounded and plays with themes that can hit closer to home which they did, but still get in some clever gags to keep it real. I noticed between his three allies, Falcon, Widow and Fury- Cap's behavior changes. His interactions with Falcon are very friendly and positive. They're both soldiers and brothers in arms and most of the comedic relief comes from Anthony Mackie who I feel we'll be seeing much more of. In scenes with Fury, Cap's pretty hostile at times due to Fury's secrecy. And Widow is kind of in the middle. That grey area. It's cool to see that different sides of Cap and while doing so, showcasing the supporting cast and giving them some interesting stuff to do. This more has more Fury than any other Marvel film so far even with him only appearing in a handful of scenes. Same thing with Widow. The character is slowly coming into her own within the universe with the rest of the heroes.
Now, let's flip things and look at the bad guys. The portrayal of The Winter Soldier was pretty much perfect. Especially the design, which pretty much jumped right from the pages of the comics. Sebastian Stan really convinces us that he's a totally different person since the last time we saw him in The First Avenger. Just by his posture, the way he walks and his eyes when he's wearing the mask. It all spells B.A.D.A.S.S. I also liked Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow and GSP as Batroc. I really enjoyed that Marvel Studios are using some recognizable characters from the comics as supporting characters and people with minor roles to flesh out the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's something that Agents of SHIELD should have done when it started. But I get that they have limitations and want to save the really good stuff for the feature films. Anyways, really good stuff. I'm curious to see where Agents of SHIELD goes in the wake of this movie with the revelation that Hydra was inside SHIELD, Agent Sitwell who was a reoccurring character on the series was Hydra and also died! Plus the downfall of SHIELD as a whole. We also don't know when in the timeline this movie takes place in relation to The Avengers and THOR 2. And speaking of Batroc, what an awesome fight with Cap on the boat. Cap 2 has the best fight choreography in a superhero film to date. These antagonists are integral to the plot and aren't just there on the surface and they don't feel like their roles were just tacked on to a plot. I thought how they used and portrayed Arnim Zola was fantastic. I was always skeptical when they announced the character in The First Avenger because the comic design was just ridiculous. But he was just a man in the first movie which I liked and then he surprised me in this movie and how well his original look was adapted.
Robert Redford was also a highlight. I really liked that he wasn't just a throw in role that was just so they could say They got Robert Redford in the movie. It was a really great character and important to the plot. I liked the twists and turns that political thrillers a known for. I can really see that's what the Russo's (directors) were going for which is perfect. The story really delivers on themes and messages that are relevant today with things that are happening now with security, keeping secrets and trust on all levels.
I enjoyed the way Cap's 'culture shock' is portrayed in the film. It's not played up for gags, but subtle. He's taking things in stride, it's not like he's a caveman or anything. One of my favourite parts was before Widow kisses him in the mall, she's saying "public displays of affection make people really uncomfortable" and he says "Yes, they do!" oblivious to what's about to happen. Hehehe... that was funny. It focuses on his challenges with the moral differences rather than technological.
I really liked the costume designs for all the characters, my only gripe was the cap' alternate shield. I get that they would change the colour for recon and stealth and stuff but just didn't like the colour combination. I also didn't get whether he has the one shield that was just repainted or if he had 2 shields. I feel like He had 2 shields, but then how did they make it? They just got more vibranium? A little plot hole the stuck out at me but not really important. I really dug the stealth suit. A lot of people I know didn't like it which I never got. It makes sense and it's again, right from the pages of Steve Rogers: Super Soldier. Also nice to see him dawn the First Avenger suit and they made some cool new tweaks. Ed Brubaker and Stan Lee's cameos were great, the two post-credit scenes were cool. Can't wait for the future films! It was nice to see that jackass senator from the Iron Man films get taken down too.
The score was also very well done. Henry Jackman's score has elements of Alan Silvestri's original score but with it's own identity and brings a more modern feel that fits the tone of the movie.
My only other gripes beside the Recon Shield, was I would have liked a little less shaky cam during the close-up fight scenes and a little more interaction between Cap and Bucky. Or more time for Steve to deal with Bucky's return. In the Winter Soldier comic, The Winter Soldier's identity is revealed pretty early on so as to leave Steve feeling more conflicted. But I get that these character moments have to share space with lots of other things going on in the movie. In the end, I think Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a better made movie than Avengers though Avengers was more fun. But I thought Cap 2 had a stronger story, more compelling characters and more development. This movie is a hybrid of what Avengers and The Dark Knight had started. Captain America takes the relatable, grounded themes and issues and compelling character arcs of The Dark Knight and the epic scale, special effects, action and fun of The Avengers and fuses them into this awesome experience. I always thought that super heroes movies had to be one or the other. It's either dark and dramatic like a DC movie, or funny and light like a Marvel movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier proves that superhero movies can be both.
Fury's grave stone. "The path of a righteous man..." Pulp Fiction, anyone?
Danny Pudi had an awesome cameo!
I was just thinking about the caps SHIELD, and he probably had 2 shields. Te question is how/ why, whatever and then I remembered from Iron Man 2, Tony had a half built Cap shield in his work shop so we can say that he made a new one. Whether it's still vibranium is questionable.