Captain America: The Winter Soldier - 4/5
So much kicking. You’ll have to forgive me for the delay but I am only just now realizing that action scenes at their best are the equivalent of musical numbers at their best. More than just ‘being good,’ they serve to further the plot – establishing setting, defining character motivation, pushing things forward. And man, ‘The Winter Soldier’ is the hetero-normative male version of ‘Frozen.’ It’s all punch-kick-joke-punch-kick-character motivation-punch-kick-reveal. It’s now become a hallmark of each of the Marvel movies and it’s important in this case 1) because it’s a long-ass movie with four main characters and three new villains and they’ve got a lot of shit to get to and 2) because it doesn’t get tiring. My problems with movies like ‘The Raid’ (and I hate to even say this, but my occasional tiredness at a Jackie Chan movie) are that it has the tendency to be ‘look what we can do with our legs!’ (Important to note: what they can do with their legs is asfbakdj;lsdjfasdlf). But that’s acrobatics; this is ballet. So yeah. There’s a lot of kicking (with purpose!). In terms of the actual, you know, plot: this is the first Marvel movie I can think of that is effectively *about* something (bigger than the oversized heroes, at least). It’s about happiness (or some similar word – peace?) only being possible when you’re completely open. No secrets. Individually, and on a corporate/political/global scale. That’s a great message and that part plays itself out character-wise most notably (and wonderfully) in The Black Widow, but it’s still a story that perfectly suits Steve Rogers. He wears a mask, but he is Known. He is the anti-secret. The world knows him, so he can’t be just anybody; he can only be himself. And that’s the story of Steve Rogers, Captain America. Dude is, at his core, a Good Dude. He only knows how to be that, without hesitation. Ignoring that lack of a secret identity and fact that he doesn’t seem to mind killing people, he is currently a better Superman than Superman. The one flaw: Bucky Barnes wasn’t effectively built up in the first movie, so The Reveal doesn’t seem as monumental. He’s just a surprisingly average-looking dude with oily hair that you may have seen earlier but can’t quite be sure. Considering the title of the film, he was the least successful thing the movie had going for it.