Well, if you’ve watched everything since the original Iron Man, you know there’s another crepuscular figure with the higher plan. But, in Captain America II? That could be anybody. That’s what makes this movie so intriguing. Who’s running the show? Who’s trying to bring it down? Is it the same person attempting to do both? And, perhaps above all else, what happens to a Super Soldier who sees everything black-and-white — or, more apropos, red-white-and-blue — when dropped into the ambiguous anxieties of the modern world?
Watching Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) slowly adjust, or, better yet, attempt to prevail through this twisted society is the funnest part. Sure, The Winter Soldier is the most idealistic of superhero films, as it should be. There’s an entire field of topical messages (privacy, freedom, loyalty) that whoosh and whirl as frequent as Cap’s trusted shield. It’s fine. It hits. And it’s what separates Captain America from his more Hollywood/Asgardian Avengers trinity.
Great thing is, Steve doesn’t even serve as the “straight man” in all of this. Rather, it’s his newly acquainted brother-in-arms, The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), who helps keep the film’s moments of tense fuckery even-keeled. Mackie nails the role, only opting his winged warrior to go macho when action calls. This Falcon gets rid of the “Red”, impressively finding the fine line between too humble (Don Cheadle’s Iron Patriot/War Machine) and too brash (Sam Jackson‘s Nick Fury). Some of the sequences that see the Falcon square off against other aerial foes will be worth a future Blu-ray purchase alone.
Speaking of Mr. Fury, one could argue this movie is just as much about him as it is about Cap. Heh, one could actually argue that much of the same for Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), as well, seeing how she spends more time on-screen in this film than her two or three previous appearances combined. With TWS, she’s given more of a chance to show her chops than just making sure there’s something other than sausage frying in the pan. Natalia and Steve have perfect comic book camaraderie, exchanging belly-aching quips during the more dire circumstances at hand. Fans will also be pleased to watch her growth and depth as a hero come at the cheeky friendship of Rogers, since she on-and-off dates Barnes in the comics anyway. As for Fury, the Colonel’s finally allowed to do more than merely bark orders and rock a line of svelte trench coats. Just wait ’til you catch the chemistry between him and Agent Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). These guys light up the whole movie.
This isn’t all to say that Cap doesn’t hold his own…
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