Captain America wields his shield through a surprisingly good movie that not only dazzles the eyes with it’s intense, action-packed scenes but engages the mind with an intelligent political thriller.
These are disturbing times for Captain America (Chris Evans). He finds himself smack dab in a plot by the very espionage and law-enforcement agency that he works for to create a surveillance state that has menacing claws and is armed to the teeth. What is particularly alarming is the astonishing array of weaponry on board the three new yet-to-be commissioned Helicarriers. These will be guided by sophisticated satellites that can “read a terrorist’s DNA before he steps out of his spider hole.”
The facade-like rationale pasted over a vast conspiracy is that society is at a tipping point between order and chaos and this program will definitely tip things in the favor of order. It does nothing, however, but make the disenchanted Captain bristle at the thought. “This isn’t freedom,” he tells S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). “This is fear.”
The ripped-from-the-headlines elements of unfettered surveillance, wiretapping and data-mining in the movie hasn’t been lost on the critics. This movie does hit close to home and I wonder if it may be subtly asking us what are we going to do in an age where NASA is intercepting and storing our data on a massive scale? We have already started down the path of relinquishing our freedom and privacy for security. How far down this path will we travel before our lulled senses are jolted and we choose to do something about it?
From out of obscurity comes the winter soldier, a ghost from the Captain’s past and a deadly agent of HYDRA, a new-world-order criminal organization that we saw in the first Captain America movie. A masked super soldier slash assassin brandishing a powerful mechanical arm and weapons to match. A mere, mindless pawn though in the agency’s attempt to control history and have it unfold according to it’s design.
Captain America: Winter Soldier certainly has it’s riveting moments. The vicious assault on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) while he’s in his armored car is quite simply breathtaking. Also of note is the attempt of a dozen or so men to overpower the Captain in an elevator which was not only cool to watch but kicked off with a moment of surprising humor. Then there’s the Falcon (Anthony Mackie.) A former Air Force para jumper who wears a jet-powered flight suit that has a pair of robotic-like wings and steals, justifiably so, some attention away from the Captain.
Robert Redford plays Alexander Pierce, a suave senior member of the agency’s leadership and Fury’s superior whose absolutely calm demeanor belies his callous ruthlessness. To his way of thinking if you’re not for the agency’s Insight program then you are against it and to be eliminated immediately. Redford commands every scene that he’s in.
The fighting and action sceness have been amped up considerably. The Captain and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) take down the enemy with some amazingly exotic choreographed fighting scenes. Then there’s the have to see scene of Captain America running through a building and breaking through numerous walls.
Chris Evans does a swell job portraying the retro superhero who has old-fashioned uncomprising ideas and who is acclimatizing himself to a new world. While I still have a little difficulty with him in that role simply because his appearance doesn’t match the cartoon hero’s that is etched into my head I certainly don’t question the casting.
Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff make an interesting odd couple dynamic duo. Steve the righteous do-gooder with a strong conscience and Natasha with her questionable past and malleable morality. No where was this more apparent than the good cop bad cop take they did on a badie on top of a roof.
I found Captain America: Winter Soldier to be thoroughly enjoyable and had my rapt attention throughout the movie. I’ll give it four stars out of five like other critics but if you are an easy-going, easy-to-please cinema goer like myself make that five!
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