Captain America – The Winter Soldier [Tea Tales]

So I promised that I would be writing this, and so here I am. In a timely fashion, or rather fashionably late, as always. I didn’t watch this in a movie theatre, so I have no gasps from the audience to rely on a reference. This is relevant because I’m not someone who’s familiar with the Marvel universe. I’m not invested in their franchises nor their characters. The only reason I watched this movie in the first place was because of a friend telling me to. That I did, a month later than I should have. Perhaps not, as it allowed me a leveled head and a cup of tea to truly figure things out. Also I should note that I haven’t yet watched the prequel, but I know a few things I picked up here and there about the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. Regardless, read on. Do note that if you’re crossing this line, you should be expecting spoilers. I repeat, turn away now, because this isn’t a hype piece. There is no second chances. Good luck.

The film, henceforth referred to as TWS.

TWS started out with Sam Wilson. Sam Wilson was a black man. I won’t lie. That was his first noticeable feature, at least to me, and because the way cinematography had conditioned me to notice that fact. A dialogue exchange forward, however, was good enough to freshen him out. He wasn’t a super hero. He wasn’t even a super hero type, at least from what’s shown in the first few minutes. He was just a man with baggage. Good, we needed more of that.

Enter Black Widow. You can tell I don’t watch a lot of recent movies that I only know who Scarlet Johansson was after reading the cast list. A hear her name a lot, but I never really cared. From what I’ve gotten from this movie though, she was good. She was very good. Her line delivery, her body language, and her ability to act a scene was impressive to say the least. There were quiet shots aplenty in this action movie, and she was the live of those. It didn’t seem fake, and that was important. 

At this point, the events regarding Captain America’s past was well established, even for someone who has yet to watch the prequel. I was properly informed of what he does, and what he’s doing. The heartfelt scene on the bed with Peggy was very welcome. It built character, and it built empathy. I usually don’t have that spared for superheroes. They’re boring and whiny a lot of the time (see Thor). Steve Rodgers wasn’t one of those, but we’ll get to him later.

After some time, we are greeted with Samuel L. Jackson and his car. It was 15 minutes of Nick Fury and his car, and it was great. It was exactly what an action scene aspires to be: cool, convoluted and contrived. It also introduced the Winter Soldier (roll credits), and the all-too-convenient setup for the revelation of his identity later. What was more important, however, was to develop Nick Fury a role. Even though he’s killed off (supposedly) quickly afterwards, he never lost the image of the wise watcher, had nothing but the best intentions in mind, yet troubled greatly by the method he himself chose.

In the same vein, let’s not overlook Alexander Pierce. A devoted and heartless man he was, Pierce was a good character. Sure, he was extremely one dimensional, and this would be a fault for a later part, but he was delivered well. His mannerisms, his actions, and his unrelenting need to make decisions made him a villain. He was a villain from start to finish, in more ways than one. 

As everything turned sour, the movie did a pretty good job of depicting intensity and character vulnerability. We have Captain America. He wasn’t Superman the indestructible, but he wasn’t Batman the human neither. He was strong, fast, intelligent, honourable and perfect in a lot of ways, but he was also believable. He was a man unaltered by the changes of times (technically he was dead), sought nothing but his own ideals. His ideals were then confronted, and he was forced to rethink himself. This was a complaint, from my part. It was great that they decided to challenge Capt’s beliefs, but they didn’t push it far enough. He had no tough decisions to make, something that would affect people bigger than himself. He did roll the course of a hero, through and through, and I didn’t really like the roses. Regardless, he was hurt, beaten (although not thoroughly), and put to intense trials of combat. He didn’t play much of a role in much of any plan regarding intelligence, as he wasn’t a character made for it. It limited him enough, though, to make him just a bit more relateable. 

Falcon was introduced a few more times down the line. He didn’t have a lot to say though. Sam was a rather lackluster character, to say the least. Sure, he wasn’t the token one liner – spouting black actor, but he was only marginally better than that. His entire course of action is full of cliches, and he summed himself up perfectly as someone who ‘does what Capt does, but slower’. He was essentially a less interesting Captain America. His only character development was that his partner died in a war. It didn’t show, only talked about. It wasn’t enough.

I won’t talk about Bucky – the Winter Soldier. Bucky was not interesting. Buck did not warrant my writing about him.

Perhaps my largest complaint about the entire experience was how the villains were portrayed (once again I’m not going to talk about Bucky). Yes, we got it. They’re Hydra, Nazis, world conquering enthusiasts, bad guys. Alright, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to make them all so one-dimensional. Pierce was the only one who had any sort of memorable screen time, and he was no one. None of these people had something to aspire to (except being Nazis, apparently), something tangible to make them human. They were, for the lack of a better description, rag dolls. They are expected to die because they are bad. Now I’m not hear to argue about the clashing ideals, but at least on a human level these people’s treatments were greatly unjust. I never liked those kinds of conflict. Good guys vs. bad guys. It’s bland, and it’s been done to death. There was no war, only a matter of picking side. I’m tired of it.

However, the movie itself, taken in context of what it was, should be considered a pretty good movie. The pacing and random injections of backstory blended well enough. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by any references to things I’m not aware of, nor did I feel a lack of tension within the action sequences. It was well-produced, to say the least. I will also refrain to comment on its political implications, as I feel such a discussion doesn’t belong here.

This does not, of course, take into account the two ending credits. One of them I understood, but horribly inconsequential, the other I didn’t. There was no one else to fill me in on whatever the hell these Nazis were looking at, but I digress. I got what I wanted out of the film, and I’d leave it at that.

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