Holy New World Order, Captain! This movie was huge. Bigger than 2012’s Avengers. Bigger than The Dark Knight Rises. And I’m not talking about box office returns, although from what I’ve read, it has broken Fast Five‘s 2011 record for highest-earning April release. (Take THAT non-Transformers car movie!). Captain America: The Winter Soldier stuffs more comic book easter eggs, action, and political thrill into just over two hours than you can even take in and register in the first few viewings. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the second weekend will be even bigger for this movie. Between trying to catch all of the references to Marvel mythology, trying to make the connection between the political twists and turns of the movie and our current real life situations, and word of mouth from raving lunatics like myself that won’t be able to stop talking about it to anyone willing to listen for at least 30 seconds, Captain America will be kicking the crap out of theaters for another couple of weeks, I have no doubt. And it’s about freaking time, too. The good Captain predates Iron-Man, X-Men, Spider-Man, and Thor by two decades. During World War 2, he was a literal Earth-born Superman. Cinema however, had not been kind to Captain America before 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, which, let’s face it, rode the Iron-Man wave to box office success. In the 70s, when Superman was THE superhero of Hollywood, Captain America was given the motorcycle movie cheese treatment, complete with horrendous bobble-head helmet. In 1990, Matt Salinger was cast as Cap in a straight-to-video forgettable crap-fest with a Red Skull who looked more like Al Pacino’s Big Boy in Dick Tracy. That year, Captain America was left cold and alone in the shadow of Batman’s cinematic greatness.
But like all great underdog stories, Captain America has made a great comeback. Chris Evans provides another great performance as Steve Rogers, the thawed super soldier living in a world he understands just well enough to know that things have not changed for the better in the country he volunteered to fight for in WW2. SHIELD, the top-secret national defense organization of which Cap is a member, has a traitor or two in their midst, and, heeding a cryptic warning from a marked-for-death Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), strikes out on his own, (or, at least with help from a couple of friends) to stop a plot by SHIELD to use satellite surveillance to PREDICT crimes before they happen, by lethal measures. With all of the real-world controversey surrounding NSA surveillance and The Patriot Act in recent years, the plot of this movie might be the most relevant of all superhero movies so far. This will also make the New World Order crowd jump for joy, as we discover that an evil organization from the past has played a role in shaping history for the past few decades and is now poised to take over the entire world, all in the name of freedom for the masses, of course.
The Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan, is an assassin who happens to have a personal relationship with Captain America, and will force Cap to make the most difficult choice of his life. Together, they create a couple of the greatest fight scenes in comic movie history. Besides Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson, we also see the return of Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow, and we are introduced to Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, who thankfully, has an updated movie-worthy costume. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do a simple Google search for “Marvel Comics Falcon” and you’ll understand. If you remember the Helicarrier scene in The Avengers, multiply that by four (literally) and you’ll have some sense of what the climax of this movie is like, minus the Hulk, of course, who at least gets a few nods in this movie.
Before this movie was even released, the release date for the third movie was announced as July 22, 2016. The same day as… dah dah daaaaaaaaaaah: Batman Vs. Superman is released. That’s right. Marvel and DC head to head on the same weekend for the first time, and I gotta tell you, though I may be a bit Marvel-biased anyway in recent years, Zack Snyder had better reeeeeally do something impressive with that movie to top this.
Oh, and as always, if you go to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, stay through the credits! Anyone who has any interest in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to want to see the bonus scenes in this.