Captain America: The Winter Soldier

G 4 StarFor the record – Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an entertaining movie. Unless you are JB and you leave it off your top 5 2014 Summer Movies for The Fault In Our Stars. He will have to defend himself on that issue but just know that The Winter Soldier has all the action, quirky one-liners, and bold adventure that we have come to expect of a Marvel movie.

We get introduced to a new/old villain as well as some fun romantic tension between Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Natasha Romanoff (The Black Widow). Speaking of Scarlett Johansson: She’s perfect for this role as well as an incredible actress (go see Lost In Translation) in general. As Agent Romanoff, the chemistry between her and Chris Evans onscreen is significant enough to make you wonder if eventually there is going to be a Captain America/Natasha Romanoff connection. This would be awesome but let’s face it – we don’t watch these movies for the deep, emotional, love story.

Which brings up my minor irritation with the Captain America series. I think they try to hard. They make it more complicated than it really needs to be. Some examples:

MINOR SPOILER ALERT:
1. The love story. Is this necessary? We see the Captain wrestle with either he will remain faithful to a 80 year-old woman on her deathbed OR engage in a date with his next door neighbor. I get the point – Captain America/Steve Rogers is faithful. It’s nice but then there is this whole Natasha trying to set him up when she clearly has feelings for him while they are blowing up a cargo ship. It comes across as a bit forced, awkward, and maybe pointless.

2. How many times will they go back to the whole – “The deception goes deeper than you can imagine. You can’t trust anybody” ploy? If the bad guy is always someone you would never imagine then you know within 20 minutes of this movie who the bad guy is. Or do you??

3. He’s dead. Not really dead. Not him, the other him. Well…they both were dead – not really – but now they are both alive. But one of them can’t remember who he really is. Instead of doing this with one character – like they did in the first movie – they now do this with two characters. It’s not a huge distraction, it really isn’t. Just find it funny that this theme keeps returning to the Marvel universe.

END OF MINOR SPOILER ALERT

The Winter Soldier isn’t all crazy and frustrating. It’s at its best when Rogers and Romanoff are on the move trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The explosions are nice, the action scenes are intense but I found myself really enjoying those moments where skill and wits were relied on more than gadgets and explosions. There are plenty of both kinds of moments in the film – just found myself enjoying the quieter ones more.

It’s a bit more nuanced in defining patriotism. Better said – it reveals how complicated patriotism can get with a corrupt government. This time out, Captain America recognizes that the lines between right/wrong aren’t always as clear. The whole safety of the many vs. rights of the individual gets played out as well as the concept that power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The cast is great, no awkward acting moments to report. Robert Redford is great as is Samuel L. Jackson. It’s a great summer flick with all the action you want, definitely worth renting.

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