Dearest Blog, yesterday I chose an afternoon at the cinema over an afternoon at the office. In the common tongue, I believe that's what's known as a "gimmie." On the docket, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
Captain America finds himself at odds with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s thinking, and facing a surprising and dangerous adversary.
Well, dear Blog, first I should admit I'm not quite so much on the Marvel bandwagon as most of the world. They make good superhero movies, and I like good superhero movies, but they don't make anything that sets my world on fire like that last Batman trilogy did. A matter of personal taste, I know, but worth mentioning in the interest of full and fair disclosure.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier has many positives, so we'll start with those. It's a layered story that manages to hold your attention without becoming muddled and over-complicated. The action sequences are solid, and the CGI tricks look pretty authentic. The movie is filled with familiar names and faces, and it's as comfortable as hanging with a group of old friends when they name-check other characters from the Marvel universe. Chris Evans again serves the Captain well. If he's neither as charismatic as Robert Downey, Jr. nor as interesting as Mark Ruffalo, he IS the very picture of the all-American hero, perfect for this role. For my money, though, the actor who's really worth seeing here is Sebastian Stan. I've been a fan since his work on the short-lived NBC series Kings, and am positively delighted about his jump to the big-screen blockbuster. (I'd have been more delighted with more screen time, but since I watched Black Swan for about two minutes of him, I guess I'll live.)
On the negative side: Had the action sequences been trimmed just a bit, the movie would have been sharper and better paced; as it is, it does seem to drag a bit at times. Of more concern was the reaction in my pretty-crowded cinema, almost a total flatline. No spontaneous oohs and ahhs, almost no bursts of laughter at the comic bits, no chatter or applause at the end. For a movie that's been so well received, I found that very curious, especially as the crowd seemed mostly comprised of fanboys and kids.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier runs 136 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of violence, gunplay, and action throughout."
Some folks are saying The Winter Soldier is even better than Marvel's Avengers, seemingly the current benchmark for a great superhero movie. For my money, they're about the same: fun times that perfectly fit the lighthearted summer-blockbuster mold.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Captain America: The Winter Soldier gets seven and a half.
Until next time...