Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I heard that movie is awesome. It’s awesomeness is all over the place. Whatever.” But do you truly know how good this movie is? If you haven’t seen it, then you don’t. Which is why you should see it.

But I want to give you more than just vague reasons that may or may not resemble some semblance of logic. This is not a review, because I don’t do reviews. When people do reviews, they try REAALLY hard to find this that are bad about something because they want to seem unbiased. I think that’s dumb. This is me telling you why you should see this movie while trying to avoid spoilers. It’s going to be hard, but it might be entertaining.

Fun Is Not Dead

Do you remember the first Captain America movie? Probably not. It came out three years ago, and we all know you can’t even remember that we ever had a president other than Obama. I understand. You probably don’t remember that movie because it wasn’t really an amazing movie, but it was a good movie and exactly what it should be. Anyone with a passing familiarity of Captain America comics can tell you that Captain America is supposed to be silly, campy and filled with kicking Nazi ass. What’s the problem with that? Well, campy and fun is something that doesn’t quite fly in American theaters today, unless you’re Quentin Tarentino and you throw in a bunch of gratuitous violence.

You know you loved how he fucked with history

Unfortunately for Captain America, the story is generally pretty family friendly. But you can’t just throw Captain America into a Christopher Nolan style gritty realism and expect it to work. I mean, come on. Have you seen his costume?

It’s goddamned ridiculous. If this guy was in high school, he’d get his ass kicked. I mean, he throws a goddamned shield at people. That’s his only weapon. He has the letter A on his forehead because with all the red, white and blue and stars, you’d never know he was representing America. Besides the shield, his only power is superhuman strength due to roiding up like a madman (although it was military roids, so they’re more potent and legit). Iron Man has the power of super engineering smarts and a mech suit. The Hulk has animalistic desires and a green Mr. Hyde. Thor is a fucking god. What does Captain America have? A shield a American pride? Are you kidding me?

When I first heard about the original Captain America movie, I had to admit, that I didn’t give much of a shit. I followed the above lines of logic and figured Captain America was always going to be dumb, but now I kind of regret that. I love campy and ridiculous. I love all the Wolfenstein games. I loved Indiana Jones. I love the Adam West Batman (to an extent). I even (gasp) kinda enjoyed the Joel Schumacher Batman movies. Yes they were terrible, but they were fun, and I think sometime in the early 2000’s we all suddenly developed major depression and decided that fun was no longer in fashion. Joel Schumacher got shipped off to an insane asylum, and we started getting movies and TV shows that took themselves way too seriously, culminating into anything from Christopher Nolan, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, and deciding that Spiderman needs something more than Toby McGuire’s wackiness.

Now, is this trend a bad thing? Not really. You may notice that all four examples are actually really good movies or TV shows. But the problem is that they all make you feel like you should kill yourself or the person sitting next to you out of fear that they will kill you. These things do not make you happy inside. They are good because they’re important, not because they’re fun. And I miss fun.

So to bring this rant back around, I think the first Captain America was an incredibly great attempt at bringing the happy campy Nazi ass-kicking of Captain America to modern audiences. It was deep enough to make you care about the characters, but ultimately it was a fantasy set in a world that is very much different from ours. It was Nazi’s sure, but it was really Hydra. The villain was a guy with a red fucking head. And that costume. They modernized the costume, but it still looks ridiculous. He still hits people with a shield. But damn it, that movie sold the campiness. But most importantly, the first movie brought Cap into the modern age, and contrasted today with the “simplicity” of the 40’s. In the span of 2 hours, the writers created a golden age, set up an international conspiracy, gave you a great character that you learn to love, and then rocketed you back to reality and gave you nostalgia for the past. That’s brilliant storytelling and it did exactly what it needed to do. Now I understand Captain America as a relic of a simpler time who represents when we still had fun and weren’t so goddamned depressed. That movie made me happy, but in the end of that movie, I worried about what would happen to Captain America when he was brought into this age where everyone is depressed and fun is no longer had.

Well, he does a lot of this. He kicks ass for S.H.I.E.L.D. because he believes in his friend Sam Jackson and what he says. It’s a more complicated world, but he does what he thinks is right. In the back of his mind, though, he’s considering everything he does. Things aren’t quite right. And it’s the fact that he is a relic and believes in the things that he does that actually helps him get through the events of the movie.

 

 

Interestingly, he doesn’t actually wear this costume for most of the movie. If you’ve seen the original movie, you’ll know that this costume represents the morality, simplicity, and old school values that gave Captain America such appeal in his prior time line. As with every superhero, Captain America’s suit represents that he is more than a man, and I feel that is made so clear in this movie. When things are shadowy, dark, gritty, Nolan-esque, he’s not wearing the suit. But when he finally figures out who the true bad guys are and decides to kick some ass, he returns to the suit and goes all Nazi ass-kickin’ on everyone.

Basically what I’m saying is that where the original movie was a glorious return to campy fun, this movie is an evolution of that theme. It brings the fun that we’ve all been missing into a world that’s truly dark, gritty, and confusing. It satisfies our need for intrigue and drama, yet finishes with the good guys winning and the bad guys getting what they deserved. I wouldn’t say that the plots that are created are finalized in any sense, sense there’s a bit of a thematic cliffhanger at the end of the movie, but it ends in a satisfying way, and I think that’s important.

The Winter Soldier

I don’t know how obvious this is to everyone, but the title actually reveals the two people that you will leave the theater being impressed by. Captain America and The Winter Solider. I would forgive those who don’t know anything about Captain America comics for thinking The Winter Solider was somehow a secondary name for Captain America, but The Winter Solider is actually as character all on his own. And my gods is he glorious. As much as I loved William Defoe as Red Skull, that villain is nothing compared to the sheer badassery that is represented by The Winter Soldier.


I mean, well I guess Red Skull looks pretty frightening. But Red Skull also looks goddamned ridiculous (I feel like I could punch him in the head and cause paralyzing pain), whereas The Winter Soldier looks like a badass assassin. Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t truly capture his badassery, and I haven’t found a picture that does. But this character is like Heath Ledger Joker level awesome. Okay, not nearly that awesome, but this is truly the most bad ass villain that I’ve ever seen (Joker is more insane than bad ass), and we’ve seen some bad ass villains in the last 15 years.

But I think the best thing about this character is that he represents the very dark and confusing world that Captain America fights against in this movie. Choosing him as the lone super villain (unless you consider Batroc the Leaper in the first 10 minutes of the movie) in this movie was brilliant, not only thematically, but also developmentally. I don’t really want to go into spoiler territory in order to tell you why this villain is insanely important, but you’ll know once you see the movie.

You Need To See This If You Ever Want to See Another Marvel Movie

Yeah, that’s a sensational title, but I don’t care. It’s goddamned true. This is an important movie for the overall Marvel universe. If you didn’t know already, it’s not just Captain America. He’s also hanging around with Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow, Nick Fury, a new potential Avenger’s member named Falcon, and a whole bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D dudes. There are even passing references to The Hulk and Iron Man, although they don’t appear in the film. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I just want to say that the world you thought you knew at the end of The Avengers gets completely flipped around at the end of The Winter Soldier. Nothing is the same. If you watched The Avengers, and then watched the upcoming sequel without watching this movie, I’ll bet you’d be really fucking confused. Oh and by the way, all these changes are all due to Captain America. He personally changes the world in this movie.

But even more than that, there are some important bits of character development in this movie. Black Widows has always been an interesting character for me. She’s deep in the shadows, doing things that nobody really should, but while she deals with them, it’s clear that she has some deep emotional scars because of the things she’s done and because of her past. Well, let’s just say that hanging around with Cap gives her a real chance at redemption. She doesn’t really get there quite yet in the movie, but I think she’ll be able to sleep better at the end of the movie. Suffice to say, she’s a better person because of the influence of Cap.

There’s also Falcon. I won’t post a picture of this character, because it might be a bit spoilery (he doesn’t really become Falcon until near the end of the movie). I have no idea if he’ll be in the next Avenger’s movie, but I wouldn’t be surprised. But either way, getting introduced to this character might be a good idea. I have a feeling he’ll be important.

And then there’s The Winter Solider himself. Will he be important in the future? Absolutely. I have no doubt that the third Captain America movie will have a lot to do with this guy. Is it odd to have two movies based on the same villain? Absolutely, but The Winter Soldier is so important and so deep that I think he can fill the role quite well. Besides, although I didn’t lie before, I was cagey. There is only one supervillian in this movie, but the main villain is something else entirely which isn’t even a single man. This movie does not focus entirely on The Winter Soldier.

This Article Is Too Fucking Long For You to Be Reading And Not Watching the Movie

Nuff said.