Thursday, April 10, 2014

Summer Movie Review - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It looks like Marvel Studios is growing up right in front of our very eyes; finally coming into it’s own with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  It seems like the summer movie season starts earlier every year with this film premiering April 4th.  But if this is a prelude to crop of films coming this summer, The Winter Soldier set quite a high bar to match. 

With the original Captain America film being a World War II period piece, sprinkled with sci-fi fantasy with its introduction of the Tesseract, The Winter Soldier takes Cap right into the modern world as he’s an agent of the C.I.A. type spy agency, S.H.I.E.L.D.  It’s a far more reality based film, far more then even last summer’s blockbuster, The Avengers. 

What really sets this Marvel film apart from any other is the fact that this is a complex political thriller, in the vein of some of the most classic political thrillers of the 1970’s.  Films such as Three Days of the Condor and The Jackal came to mind while I was watching The Winter Soldier.  Brothers and co-director’s Anthony and Joe Russo channeled their inner William Friedkin, pitting the Captain against everything he thought he knew was right.

A great deal of the film is an allegory of our own post 9-11 world as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is hell bent on preventing another disaster similar to what took place during The Avengers.  The film clearly takes a blow at President Obama’s kill list and the overreaching of the N.S.A. In fact I could see Edward Snowden putting his seal of approval on this film for sure. 

The idea of targeted killing is a major theme in this film and it forces you to think about how that’s used in today’s war on terrorism.  Fury’s Project Insight, does exactly that as they’re able to target tens of thousands if not millions of perceived threats and eliminating them in one fell swoop.  At some point it makes you wonder does killing a hundred people make us safer?  What about a thousand or a million?  When is enough enough?  What is legal and what is acceptable according to our Constitution, are both asked in this film.  Art imitating life at its best I believe. 

The acting in this film in truly top notch (major tip of the hat to Robert Redford) as the screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely weaves some of the best dialogue of any “comic book” film made to date.  Without giving too much away let’s just say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier, sets the Marvel Universe in a whole new direction.  Clearly Marvel Studios has its collective act together and is running like a well oiled machine. 

The Sector gives Captain America: The Winter Soldier 3.5 out of 4

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