Audio Transcript of This Review:
Captain America 2 is the most recent addition to the growing Marvel Cinematic Universe, the sequel to Captain America, the First Avenger. To give quick thoughts on that film, Chris Evans gave a fantastic performance, but overall, the film was weaker by the final act, which might’ve been the design of the Red Skull, who looks comical no matter how good an actor you get to play him, like Hugo Weaving, and unfortunately, the effort that went into setting up Avengers was a detriment to the film.
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this idea, the first sequel has the highest potential to be the best movie, you don’t have to establish the characters again, so all your cool ideas that would take an entire movie can come out, but by the time of the second sequel, people are a lot more likely to be sick of the characters. Examples of the good first sequel are The Dark Knight, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Godfather II. This movie serves as a dramatic turn for everything these movies have built up, like, Iron Man 3 is nothing compared to what happens in this film. This review will not have any major spoilers, because I like it.
The main plot is Captain America has to struggle with 21st century war politics, and Nick Fury reveals a plan by SHIELD to use 3 Helicarriers like the one from Avengers to annihilate supposed “terrorists” from across the globe before they do anything. By the way, can you figure out the carriers are gonna be hijacked?
Captain America has to deal with a new thing he has a hard time understanding, a shadowy group has infiltrated SHIELD and are destroying America from the inside, and their head enforcer is this guy named the Winter Soldier, an agent with a metal arm who completely kicks everyone’s ass except Captain America. This is in Stark…. contrast to First Avenger where he just fought Nazis, and Avengers, when he fought the evil blue dudes. This adds a lot of subtlety to this world, and more depth to the character of Captain America. It’s actually cool to stick this guy into a spy film.
One reason I find these films have a lot of dramatic potential is that Captain America is not invincible, he can conceivably die from being shot, like Batman, which is a reason I like the more human superheroes over their much more invulnerable allies, like Superman or Iron Man. I know this is an action movie, and random dudes aren’t going to leave the hero with any gun wounds, but it’s just nice to know that bullets would not bounce off of him. Also, like Batman, this movie has the guy who played Lau from the Dark Knight, he’s in a minor role and has like 6 lines, but he’s there.
The action in this film is still the great spectacle it has always been, but this one feels more dramatic because it is Captain America this time, and this film actually does have more memorable action scenes than the first Captain America movie and Iron Man 3, like a scene where Cap fights like 10 dudes in an elevator, and the climactic battle scene where Cap and his buddy Falcon go to storm the hijacked helicarriers. It’s also nice that there is some restraint when it came to the CG, and there seems to be a lot more practical effects in this.
Chris Evans is still great in this film; I am surprised he still turns in a very charming but also dramatic performance. Scarlett Johansson also gets to be the female lead in this, but she’s not a love interest (at least to the Cap), which is kind of refreshing to see. She’s really good in this film too, because she’s less about being fanservicey and has more character. Anthony Mackie plays Falcon, a pararescue guy with a cool jet pack, and the secondary hero of this film, he’s pretty cool and helpful, and he has improbable dodging skills in the climax. Nick Fury gets more focus in this film, actually doing some stuff, and Robert Redford is in this movie too, though he doesn’t do too much except monologue about the modern age.
And then there’s the Winter Soldier, damn did they make him scary in this film. He makes Black Widow pretty terrified with his presence, which is quite a feat given she was fighting alien monsters in her last film appearance. The scenes with him are the most frantic and tense of this entire film series. It doesn’t help that his theme song is this horrible screeching noise, like he’s Freddy Kruger or something. I mean, if they called Iron Man to help, Winter Soldier would’ve been down in like a minute, but yeah. The only person missing is Hawkeye, which is odd, because SHIELD is a big focus of the film.
I can also appreciate the dark tone of this film, it doesn’t feel excessive, like Iron Man 3, which went a bit overboard with the brutality, this film just has the heroes facing increasingly menacing threats to show their growth and heroism when the villains are defeated. Oh, wait, is that a spoiler? So, overall, this film lives up to its hype, give it a watch.