CAPTAIN AMERICA 2: THE WINTER SOLDIER

This is going to be chock-full of spoilers, so I’m going to put it behind a cut. I will say this much beforehand, though: what a fucking fantastic movie. It was everything I was hoping it would be, and more.

I thought this was an absolutely brilliant film. The action was amazing, the relationships between the characters was brilliantly done (especially between Steve and Natasha– they make the most excellent odd-couple team), the plot was cohesive, and the writing was witty and moving. I have to admit, I didn’t really believe Fury was dead (though that might have been because I saw the film quite late and assumed that if Fury had died, I wouldn’t have been able to avoid being spoiled for it beforehand), but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the film, or my delight at finding him alive later on.

As with Natasha, I’m not quite sure what to make of Fury as a character, so I’m glad he’ll continue to be around being enigmatic and exciting for future movies. I’m curious to see where they go with Sam, too. He stole the show quite a few times –I especially loved his fight with Mouthy Undercover HYDRA Goon, since “shut the hell up” was pretty much my response to that guy’s spiel too– and he makes a cute foil for Steve. The return of Zola was a surprise delight, too; I loved his character in CA1 and found him a lot more interesting than Red Skull as an antagonist (no slight to the delightful Hugo Weaving, who did an excellent job, I just find the character a little irritating), so it was nice to see his creepy little self make a reappearance. I was also really happy to see Maria Hill get more of a role this time around, and I hope we see more of her in future movies– she’s only had a small part so far, but I kind of love her as character. (This may be due to the fact that I think Cobie Smulders is lovely, but I don’t think it’s just that.) I enjoyed route they took with Sharon Carter, as well, and the post-SHIELD realities for both her and Maria were great. (I would give anything for a short about Maria working with Tony. Really. I would love that. If you’re listening, Marvel, I’m pretty sure you have the opportunity for comedy gold there. Mine it!)

Most epic props go to the makeup team who worked on Hayley Atwell. They honestly deserve an award for their work, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen better ageing makeup in a film before ever. (I’d talk about the whole Peggy storyline, but I found it horrible and sad and I just don’t want to. It was beautifully acted, that’s all I’ll say.)

The storyline with Bucky was also terribly sad, but I thought it was really well-handled and surprisingly nuanced. The part where he opens his mouth for the rubber mouth-guard so willingly was just awful, god. Does it make me a terrible person for laughing when he dumped Steve on the beach and walked off? Because I really did. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress from here, though. Bucky knows who he is now, and if all the SHIELD files are on the internet, he should be able to read up about himself more extensively than with just whatever was previously available at the museum. Hopefully, he’ll calm down a bit and be a bit less murderous next time around…! How they’re going to handle that situation in future with Steve being in Avengers 2 and neither Sam nor Bucky being in it is something of a question mark, though.
That was my sole complaint about the film in general, really– which I think is going to be a recurring theme in the MCU, because of the… Well, let’s say compartmentalization of the movies. Steve and Natasha went to Falcon –a guy that previously Steve had met just twice, and to whom Nat had spoken for all of twenty seconds– because “everybody they knew was trying to kill them”, which I found a bit ridiculous. Really, guys? Clint, Tony, Bruce? They trying to kill you as well, were they? They’re going to have to come up with better excuses for, or at least some references to, the fact that these people should be helping one another out there when there’s a crisis… But somehow are always absent. This was first apparent in IM3, it got worse in Thor2, and given the relationship between Natasha and Clint that was implied in Avengers, it was a little bizarre that he wasn’t even mentioned in CA2. Tony and Bruce obviously have a little more distance, but Clint, a SHIELD employee? He really ought to have been at least mentioned.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal, and they don’t even have to get the actors in for filming. It could be as simple as a throwaway line like, “We could go to Clint if he weren’t stationed on the other side of the world right now” or “Stark’s not answering his phone– I guess HYDRA are keeping him busy, so maybe we should find another place to go” or “Thor and Banner are off the grid, unfortunately”. This is a problem that’s going to present itself continually– and which is going to get worse rather than better as they continue to make the team movies and solidify the relationships between the singular heroes. People understand that every character can’t be in every film, and they don’t expect that they should, but that suspension of disbelief would be a little easier to manage if the writers would give us something to work with on that front. A small reference would satisfy hardcore MCU fans without overwhelming casual viewers, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.

Overall, though, I think this was a really exciting installment of the MCU franchise, and I’m really excited to see where it goes next, and particularly what the fallout of all this will be for the other MCU characters. What’s this going to mean for Agents of SHIELD? Who is Tony Stark going to antagonise now? Will all of those other agencies hunting Bruce Banner be able to close in now? I guess we might get a little more info in Guardians of the Galaxy, but after that it’s gonna be a long, cold wait until Avengers 2: Age of Ultron comes out. I, for one, can’t bloody wait.

Are you a Marvel fan, an MCU fan, or just a fan of looking at Chris Evans in general? Did you enjoy the film? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

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