Last weekend we welcomed the return of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the second installation of this Marvel trilogy. Opening to U.S. audiences everywhere, my only question for the weekend was, “What time are we going?” I was pleased to see that most showings were sold out early in the day and the only one with two comfy seats was the 9p.m. showing at the AMC. And while this is about the movie itself, I have to touch on, for a brief moment, the amazing theater situation. This place has recliners! And free refills on any drink size! So, when deciding where to see Captain America, our choice was clear. RECLINERS! My gal pal Tuller and I got cozy with our dorky RealD glasses and readied ourselves to be marveled.
Beginning in the middle of action, Chris Evans skipped all formal introductions as this apple pie superhero, jumping out of an airplane and into the ocean. This was not going to be a boring movie. Of course there were plenty of cleverly choreographed fight scenes, heavy suspense, major explosions, and acts of great strength, physically and mentally. It is a superhero movie! It must have all of those things to sustain. So, instead of mull over this stuff, I’m going to highlight the three points I found most interesting about this particular movie.
1. Social commentary on the treatment of active military and vets
2. Trust issues/PTSD
3. Wholesomeness. Yes, I said Wholesomeness
1. As the greatest American soldier ever, Steve Rogers, a.k.a. the Captain, has a lot to live up to including his own legacy from his former life. While he is greatly respected, we get a real sense of his solitude, regrets, and fears. Having served in WWII and now working for the world agency S.H.E.I.L.D., the Cap doesn’t feel secure in this new hero status he’s been granted with and struggles to find identity in his old self vs. this new, more exposed version of a young man who hasn’t been given time to grieve the loss of fellow soldiers and friends. Namely his best pal, Bucky. It is clear that while he is a major hero, he is also the “property” of this agency. Were he to lose this status, he’d be reduced to a Lt. Dan. A vet with a drinking problem, no friends, and a bleak future. Chris Evans helps capture these emotions with his square jaw and piercing, broken eyes. You just can’t help but want to reach out and say, “There, there Captain. Cry to me.” The message was loud and clear in this picture. The greatest solider of all time, and yet he is still disposable should he ever become anything less than amazing.
2. Trust is a rare commodity in this world of superpowers and super agencies. Each character, Agent Romanoff (Black Widow), Nick Fury, and the Cap all question the intentions of those claiming to be friends and confidants. And, while they are all clad in spandex and/or tight leather, the fight to trust and be trusted felt genuine as the relationships of these characters is not based on sexual or romantic ideologies. Rather, they are settled somewhere between a larger than life world where S.H.E.I.L.D really does exists, and our average, every day struggle to connect to people as people. Ignoring for a moment that this sub-story is all taking place in a fantastical nexus, the human condition always seems to win over creatures and insanely complex weapons. Captain America and his band of hero brethren really need to trust and be trusted. The issue becomes vital to the central point of the film.
3. Doing the right thing and being a good man is the top priority of this blond haired, blue eyed, wholesome as apple pie hero. His shyness and reluctance to stardom makes this hero, perhaps, the most easily followed in the Marvel series. You want to be in his good favor and esteem. There is a brief moment when the Black Widow and Captain share a kiss to avoid being made by some really mean dudes. My thought was, “of course. Of course it will be Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow that brings out the man beast in this character.” But, I was wrong. As it would turn out, his smile and general respect for all humans turned her in to a bit of schoolgirl, but not too much. She is the Black Widow after all. And this hero, unlike Iron Man, is the kind of guy who will go in to the burning building to rescue the kitten so little Lucy isn’t alone and sad. It is part of his core value system that is stated in his face and boy-next-door smile.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a fun action film with warmth and plenty of heart melting from Evans. If he weren’t playing the role, I’m not sure it would do justice to the core of who this character really is. Evans just has a trusting face and confident gait that makes you think he just must be the real thing after all.
I loved the movie! I give it a wink and two thumbs up!
Now go see it!
Peace – Carrie