I mention from time to time that I am a bit of a geek. When it comes to movies, I love a chance to geek out with a large group of like-minded individuals. Comic book movies in particular offer up a grand chance to just feed off of the excitement of my fellow geeks. This brings us to the latest offering, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier". But first, I want to make a little public service announcement.
FRANK'S GUIDE TO BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING.
The theater is a grand place to hang out with friends, and It is to be expected that you will laugh, and cheer... maybe even cry a bit in the heat of the moment. These are acceptable behaviors. We all get a little excited, and react. What is not okay, in the least, is talking. When you are in a crowded theater, and there are many people that paid good money to see the movie, the last thing any of us want, is to listen to your commentary. So, the word of the day is "Respect", Learn it, Love it, Live it.
BACK TO THE REVIEW.
For those unfamiliar with the story of Captain America, it is the timeless tale of an underdog patriot living around the time of World War 2, who is used as a science experiment, gains super human abilities and became the ultimate sign of patriotic propaganda. After a time, he gets frozen in ice, and thawed out in the present to once more stand for justice, and patriotism. Captain America, is a symbol plain and simple, and in a regular world, I would likely dismiss him as just a throw away character.
However, the first movie as well as the Avengers, insured that would not be the case.
I went into this film with a whole lot of cautious optimism. I have been impressed with Marvel Studios' handling of the character, and have been enjoying there efforts to tie multiple properties together into a single cohesive universe. The way they manage to pay their dues to the individual characters while building the universe as a whole, is a masterful effort. This latest film builds onto the mythology of the world, and introduces one of Captain America's most interesting foes... The Winter Soldier.
This movie, is practically the perfect action film. It has just the right mix of exposition and action, creating an amazing visual feast that makes the final action sequence from the Avengers seem almost boring by comparison. This movie packs a lot of punch into its long run time, and at no point did I feel like it was running too long. It introduces new characters in a way that feels organic to the story, and manages to toss in hints of things to come without feeling forced.
The big additions to the universe in this film, are Falcon, and of course the titular Winter Soldier. Sadly, I can't discuss the Winter Soldier too much without spoiling part of the movie for the casual viewers, suffice to say he is an important piece of the Captain America story. Falcon is another piece of the Captain America roster of characters that was a welcome addition to the world. Sam Wilson is a high-flying character that takes a little bit of fancy tech to become an invaluable asset to the Captain. On top of that, he appears destined to be perhaps Captain America's best friend.
The movie looks to lead up well to the upcoming return of Captain America in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, upping the ante well beyond any of the other Marvel movies have managed up to this point. This movie is a game-changer, taking things fans have taken for granted, and flipping them on their heads. After watching this film, I can not help but eagerly look forward to not only Guardians of the Galaxy in just a few months... as well as what is to come beyond that.
RECOMMENDATION: If you thought the final battle in The Avengers was a little tame, than this movie is for you. It manages to kick everything up a notch, and feel like the perfect way to bring this story to life. Not to mention, it's funny as well. If you aren't a fan of action movies, this might not be the movie for you, but I would still suggest a nice matinee... who knows, you might just like it.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY: YES! I do not think I can emphasize that enough. This movie was made to be seen on a larger-than-life screen. While it is offered in IMAX and 3D formats, that is not the way this was meant to be seen. This is a 2D movie, and should be treated as such. Save yourself some cash, and you can make it up to the studio by seeing the movie a second time! Or a third... or.... you get the picture.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a movie that manages to pack in laughs, and action, in a completely enjoyable package. This is a movie that I am glad I saw late at night, because otherwise I would have been sorely tempted to buy a ticket to the next showing, and stayed for several more hours. This movie was great. It was the fun sort of popcorn flick that makes me love Marvel Studios!
FINAL SCORE: 10 out of 10. (My first must watch movie of the year!)