Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Winter Soldier All the Right Points

There are only a few sequels that are better than the original.  It often takes the third movie to at least match the original, especially in the world of action movies.  I think, however, that Marvel Studios and their production team are finally figuring out that a series of epic battles with no character development just doesn't cut it.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a really good example of avoiding the pitfalls of sequels, developing a plot and character, and showing respect to the genre.

We see a struggling Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) who has found that the world he left in 1945 is much changed. In 1945, it was a world in which horrible events occurred.  Captain America fought so that people could be free.  It is now a world that is under constant surveillance in the name of protecting that freedom. At beginning of the movie comes “That’s not freedom. That’s fear,” announces Captain America as he discusses this surveillance and planning strikes before someone has broken the law.  It is this neat juxtaposition of fighting for freedom vs. living in fear under the guise of protecting freedom that drives the main plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

This is what good science fiction, this time from a comic book format, does.  It asks the tough questions and reminds us what should be.  The answer about the surveillance comes from the leader of Shield, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who tells us that he and Shield must live in the world as it is not what he would like it to be.  He has forgotten perhaps why it is he does what he does. It is from this point that we realize that this is what Captain America is really about.  Not settling for the world as it is, but fighting for the world we want it to be no matter the risk.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is at times both silly and stylish.  It is classic in the comic book world in that we know who the bad guys are going to be, and we will also have a few remember why they wanted to be good guys to begin with.  They will struggle with power and responsibility.  Heroic comic books at their best are true morality tales.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains true to the genre while having more character and emotional value than the first Captain America without becoming grandiose.  Too often, Hollywood seems to forget that for a movie to be well done, that it is not about the action sequences or trying to come up with something "different" or the "twist" to the genre.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier works because the writers and production team seem to hold a respect for bringing these stories to life.

I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 3D and it plays really well in the format.  I have to admit, one of the best uses of 3D technology was in the old fashioned chase sequences.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier has all the marks of a great blockbuster.  I will buy the DVD.