21 March 2014 | fear_da_fro_bro
A wonderful thriller, conspiracy and adventure that delivers a great great film
This film is simply exceptional in every way. The edge it has is delivering the best, grittiest action the genre has ever scene and characters that are as complex as the are fun. Why do I say that? Well...
What I love about the character is that Steve Rogers has "I'm-a-man-out- of-time issues" but he's comfortable with the chaos that it brings. In acclimating himself to this century he is at his best. Yes, most people would be overwhelmed but because of who he is and where he's from, he's able to cope and adapt. The serum that gives him his physical edge also gives him a mental boost. It's his emotions that are raw and unaided. Time has passed since Avengers so we don't get to see his day to day amazement and adjustment. I'm glad they skipped that stuff. What we do see is the man who once represented America and has become alien to America and it's slanted values. The passage of time. Add those struggles to a full blown conspiracy film and what results might just be the best film released all year long.
Steve Rogers is basically a John Wayne American. The world shifts to him and it's his job to tell everybody "Here's they way things should be done." We saw that in Avengers and even the first film after he gathered his Howling Commandos. Now, the powers that be are a lot more flexible in terms of loyalties and how they're going to get certain jobs done. How he handles this century's gray morality is at the heart of the film.
Like most men from the 1940's, Steve keeps things to himself and keeps his emotions bottled up. (EX: the first film when he mentions his mother dying of TB and he was even embarrassed when Peggy found him mourning alone for Bucky) So, bringing The Black Widow in to this film gives him someone who is going to draw out his story, because he's never going to offer it up of his own accord. Natasha learns from him. Fury learns from him. Sam Wilson learns from him. Yet, they all give him something in return. Every character used is utilized perfectly and smartly. Falcon for example, is not in awe of the legend of Captain America. This is exactly what Steve wants in a friend and in a fellow soldier, to not have to be Captain America. Everyone fits perfectly in to the plot and allows access to different beats, tones and emotional depth. Yes, conspiracy thrillers need depth and this one has it.
Captain America is probably the only superhero left in this world of the reboot who is singularly heroic. He doesn't have this dark existential quandary like other reinventions. Plugging that resolute goodness into a morally complex story means he doesn't question what he believes, but he questions whether anybody else does anymore. He doesn't question his foundation but he questions where he has ended up and what his role must now be. The conspiracy element and structure of this story helps in that Captain America is not up on a pedestal being self righteous, he's in a corner and that makes you want to root for the guy. He believes in what he's doing and the viewer is along for a great ride sharing that belief.
Marvel movies usually establish character early. This one starts out fast but it's got a lot of character in it. The first act packs a punch but does it laying the groundwork for a remarkable third act. They take time showing the issues and you immediately empathize with Steve. Giving us good character depth means the action delivers more punch. And the action here is beyond great. This movie absolutely punches you in the face in the best way possible. The action has advanced a lot from the first film. How he now operates in the world and kicks butt is all very impressive.
So, this is probably Marvel's grittiest movie and it's also their best sequel to date. There's a dash of humor but there's mostly a wonderful thriller, conspiracy and adventure that delivers a great great film.