As I waited around to see the hidden scene at the end of the credits of the new Captain America movie I began to get depressed. All of these names, all of this manpower, thought and resources spent to give us.this, when the comic book it is based on with only ten names on the credit page was so far superior.
It’s not that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a bad movie. Chris Evans who plays the title role is interesting as a paragon of virtue and his fight scenes are very imaginative. One of the problems with this movie though is Captain America is not on screen enough. There are too many other action figures to be sold, I mean too many other actors fighting for attention on the screen. You have an overweight one eyed Samuel L Jackson limping around, Scarlett Johansson vamping like she’s auditioning for either the remake of Weird Science or a video on a dating website, and Robert Redford one step out of the grave grimaces like he wants to fire the agent who put him in a movie where he doesn’t get to spend the whole day on a sailboat.
But this movie will still be a huge box office success even though no one will remember a single scene from it in three months time because Marvel has transferred their brilliant marketing strategy from comic book shops into the theaters.
Never have the story end.
Everything is always building towards the next story, but that being said would it hurt to have a little fun in the here and now? The only attempts at humor involved Johansson constantly trying to figure out if Captain America is gay or not.
Last year’s Iron Man 3 was so great because it focused on one-liners and surprising plot twists more than setting up future franchises. The first Captain America movie was successful because it tackled the question of what makes a hero while giving us some laughs while not being ashamed of it’s comic book roots.
This movie though, I’m not sure who it was for. There’s too many deaths for it to be for kids. It has too many characters in it for laypeople to remember who was who (especially the key plot point of who the Winter Soldier was), and it takes itself way too seriously to be for comic fans. Take the character of Batroc. In the comics he’s a brightly costumed, strong accented wisecracking Frenchman with a pointy mustache whose full name is Batroc the Leaper, in the movie he’s a mixed martial arts assassin . Or the Falcon whose superpower was he could fly and telepathically talk to birds, but because that wasn’t realistic enough in a movie about superheroes they give him a military issued flying suit. I guess with its video game like fetishization of gun play and Scarlett Johannson this movie’s target audience is boys who are old enough to masturbate.
One thing the movie got right was the way Captain America fights. No other comic book movie came close to showing its hero look as amazing in battle. From the ricocheting of the shield to the leaps he takes to the distinctive fighting style when Cap was in action it brought the movie back to life.
At least until Redford started prattling off again.