|"Yeah, I've been thinking...this is a crap costume, Nick."|
“You’re my mission."
1) As with all successful Marvel movies, this film strives to give us a different feel from its peer. In this case, it’s a Tom Clancy-style political thriller complete with a fetishism of hardware and lots of double blinds and backstabbing.
2) I don’t care what Joe Quesada says; we need Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow to be featured in her own film. Hell, we need Black Widow to show up in every Marvel movie from now on (yes, even Guardians of The Galaxy). One has only to see Johansson in the first act, and her easy chemistry with Chris Evans, to know that This Is True.
3) I love how this film has a different feel from the first Cap film, yet it manages to tie into the first film very, very strongly. Hell, the plot (beyond the obvious connection) is seeped in the plot of the first, actively evoking one of the villains of that original film in a version that made my comic reader heart beat a little faster.
|Yep...I'd let her shoot me....|
4) BATROC! BATROC THE M’FIN’ LEAPER! And not only does he give Cap a tough, exciting fight at the top of the first act, not only does he make it clear that savate is a martial art Not To Be Fucked With, he is wearing a version of the purple and orange outfit he wears in the comic. As someone who isn’t ashamed to admit that Batroc is my favorite Cap baddie bar none, this made me geek out.
5) Boy, does Anthony Mackie make The Falcon come off as a bad ass. In keeping with the Tom Clancy feel of this film, Mackie’s Sam Wilson has a much more militaristic origin and justification for his wings. But Mackie breathes life into the character, selling the action and fighting sequence with gusto and energy. And one of the best action sequences involves him and a slew of Helicarrier guns.
6) I find it clever that the film cast Robert Redford, who appeared in his share of political movies--Hell, he was the candidate in The Candidate--as Pierce. This is an example of stunt casting that works, as the resonance of many of Redford’s previous roles gives more authority to him in this role.
|Forget The Winter Soldier...Viva Batroc!|
7) While I did like some of the incidental world building (the name drop of Dr. Strange was particularly surprising), I was somewhat disappointed by the use and ultimate fate of Maximiliano Hernandez’ Jasper Sitwell. Part of that may be because I’ve always contended that Agent Coulson should have been Sitwell, but most of it is because of the character’s legacy in the comics and his build up throughout the movieverse makes his use here seem like a waste. I wonder if it would have been better to establish another, original character over the course of a few movies or use someone like Victoria Hand, who at least has a rep for being a little more mutable in her alliances.
8) Even though she doesn’t look like Hayley Atwill (but then, maybe Marvel Studios wanted to distance themselves from the whole ‘dating your WWII girlfriend’s descendant thing that adds to the overall creepiness when it comes to Silver Age Marvel Relationship Politics), Emily Van Camp does make a decent Agent 13 on the surface...if they gave her more to do other than pretend to be a nurse and get all contrary with authority figures. Van Camp gets so little that I wondered why they didn’t just take advantage of the Evans/Johansson chemistry and make Natasha into his romantic interest.
|Why? Because extra Scarjo makes things better...|
On second thought, given the awkward way she handles her one action scene, maybe the smallness of her role is a good thing.
9) While I liked how Evans’ portrayal of Cap is consistent with my view of Steve Rogers as ‘The Last Stand Up Guy’ (the scenes of him visiting an aged Peggy and interacting with The Winter Soldier once he learns who he is drives this home), I have some problems with the way he tacitly approves of the behavior of other people around him. There’s one scene where he seems to gleefully approve of something very violent that Natasha does--an act he seems to have counted on her doing--that made me real uncomfortable. I know some people will wave this off as Cap being a soldier, but I don’t think that his being a soldier should supercede what has been established about him up to this point.
10) Look, I know that on one level I went ‘duh,’ when I saw that final title card--but damn if it still doesn’t get me all psyched in the same way all those ‘James Bond Will Return In...’ title cards did when I was a youth.
Overall...an excellent follow-up to an excellent orginal, better in keeping the through line of the character vital than Thor: The Dark World.
I returned to The Regal Atlas Park, and managed to almost totally avoid the Regal First Look. I was tha assailed with ten trailers if you count the half-assed ‘behind the scenes preview’ of A Haunted House 2. Amongst the trailers, there was Godzilla (which looks like they’re going to get it right this time), Lucy (in which someone makes an argument for Scarlett Johansson being more than able to carry a Black Widow movie) and, of course, Guardians of The Galaxy (which actually looks pretty good, considering my lukewarm reaction to James Gunn’s previous films).