Technical Info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1843866/
Being often on a shoe-string budget, I had to skip the big screen release of this movie. Then again, there were other movies released in the previous and later months and I had to skip those too.
So, I ended up waiting for the DVD release.
First time in many many years where I regreted doing so.
A lot of hipsters can be found around the blogospheres and other internet outlets praising movies with a statement akin to :”Not only it was a great superhero movie, but it also was a great movie.”
Well, in this case, this was a great Super-Hero movie, and it also happen to be a decent movie too.
But it is pretty difficult to make a GREAT super-hero movie. Granted, it has been getting easier on the last decade or so, but still….
Here are some factors you have to contend with:
1) Pulp feel, not translating well to screen: There are millions of directors out there, all waiting for a chance to lend their vision to a project and get financed to put their ideas onto the screen. It is incredibly difficult to find a good director, who would do justice to the material, and, if needed, leave their ego at the door, and focus on what is best for the character. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier this was achieved with flying colors.
2) Colorful C0stumes.: They usually don’t translate well into wardrobe efforts. Maybe the first Spiderman movie by Sam Raimi changed that, but in general, the great looking spandex that amazes us in comics doesn’t end up looking as cool when filmed in real life. Marvel has played a smart card introducing the Ultimate universe, and in it, toning down the campy look of superhero costumes, and adjusting it more to real-life expectations.
Thus, the new movie was able to come up with look that totally work.
3)Difficult powers are given crappy CG graphics: Thank goodnes we are in the first decade of the 21st century, so special effect can be done cheap, but still look amazing. So it happens with Cap’s shield play in the movie. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier you finally get a lot of shield play, the way Kirby intended. I lost count of the quantity of Hydra agents cap’s shield knocked out in bounces!! And I believed most of it!
4)Making the hero feel super: Most of the time, I fail to see this aspect of the hero. Again, there were some exceptions with Spiderman, like when he stopped the train. But in Captain America: The Winter Soldier the opening scene is Cap running circles around a jogging man, and I felt there was something more to Steve Rogers than a strong soldier. Here he was, a super-soldier. From the start!!! WOOHOOO.
5)Balance of powers: The character of Steve Rogers comes across as super heroic, not just hyper-heroic, when contrasted with the fragility of the surrounding characters. Black Widow is an amazing spy, but she knows her own limitations, as does Nick Fury, who have nothing of superhuman. Even the Falcon is just a soldier in training who wears an flying suit. A believable flying suit, mind you. But Cap get go toe to toe with the Winter Soldier, a man who has had cybernetics implanted on him, and he can hold his own. Lots of kudos to the director for maintaining this delicate consistency.
6) Innovative action scenes: Mind you, I tire of car chases for the sake of car chases. I tire of shaky camera technique, to mask the shortcomings of the action scenes, and the lack of martial training from the actors. I tire of telegraphed punches and obviously choreographed fight scenes. I need to see something I haven’t seen before. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier I got quite a bit of that. The angles chosen could’ve been story-boarded by Bryan Hitch, but the director managed to give it a crystal clear photography and fluidity that was refreshing. The fight scenes were interesting, because at times we were regaled by shield work from Cap, but at times we faced acrobatics worthy of the best comic sequences I’ve seen in comics.
7) The general plot reflected current events: On top of that, SPOILER SEMI_ALERT the plot dealt with greed, treason at the highest level, and betrayal of trust, something that the American public has grown weary and disgruntled with in the post 9/11 world. But the story plot does not feel pasted on, nor forced into the movie, and it flows organically well.
The Russo brothers (Anthony and Joe) did a great job, staying true to the spirit of Captain America and Steve Rogers, and behaved like talented fans, who want to bring the best of a character to the screen.
By contrast, Wolverine has been all over the place, similar to the comic books, regarding origins, powers and persona.
The x-men are a hot mess. The varying degree of talent used on telling the stories, and the time-line being so broken in cinema, makes me look back at the three movies and just remember a strange amalgam of heroes who come across poorly written and too teen oriented.
The fantastic four, not even worth remembering. Seriously. Except that Steve Rogers was Johnny Storm before growing up onto a real superhero.
Spiderman, mixed bag. Awesome visuals, but the story was at times not super-hero enough. Other-times it redeemed itself brilliantly.