The Avengers story continues; ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ holds its own

By Ellen Rossow
rossowel@mnstate.edu

captain_america_the_winter_soldier_1396301846As far as American cinema is concerned, superhero flicks are a blockbuster goldmine. Specifically for Marvel studios, these action and humor packed films draw in the big bucks. These movies attract everyone from the once-mocked comic book enthusiast to hormonal girls looking for an eye-full of beefy men in spandex suits.

While, to some, the idea of another Captain America and Avengers themed film may seem like simply another effort on Marvel’s behalf to milk the franchise for all it is worth, this reviewer gives Marvel props for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

Unlike the “Saw,” “Rocky” or “The Fast and the Furious” films, which gave birth to seemingly endless, pointless and unentertaining sequels, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” holds its own as an action and drama film, while obviously nodding to past and future Avengers sequels.

In this latest installment of the Avengers story, viewers are taken on a ride with Captain America and his fellow Avenger, Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, as they uncover unsettling secrets about S.H.I.E.L.D.

Not only does the film feature Marvel’s signature action sequences and comedic one liners, viewers are also introduced to relatively new relationships and characters, such as Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

The film also brought up some very interesting and deep ideas that have potential to hit home with viewers. The idea of the artifical security offered by large organizations’ overwelming use of surveillance and its negative effects on citizens was a reoccuring theme throughout the movie.

At one point Captain America himself points out this idea when he says: “This isn’t freedom. This is fear.”

As the film’s protagonist deals with being submerged in today’s culture after being frozen for 70 years, he struggles with accepting the differences in American society over the last century.

For much of the film, this theme is often the punchline of jokes about Captain America’s lack of knowledge of pop culture icons, such as his list of things to learn, which includes Nirvana, “Star Wars,” Thai food and “I Love Lucy.” But the Captain’s ignorance also allows him to provide a unique view of the issues of his world, such as the difference between war now and then.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is different from other superhero films because of his unique background in living in the early 1900s, and also because of the Captain’s background in the military. Because he defines himself as a soldier first and citizen second, his desire, not only to do what is right, but to follow orders sets him apart from other Avengers.

In previous films of the franchise, Captain America’s fellow heros often do what they think is right by whatever means necessary. In the popular Iron Man films, Tony Stark’s do-what-I-want personality gives him an attractive tough guy appearance.

In a way, Captain America’s lack of desire to be like Iron Man helps affirm just how different society is now from the 1940s. The popularity of Iron Man, even as a narcassistic, alcoholic vigilante, is the perfect superhero to represent present day society, which helps prove Captain America’s point.

Overall, while “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is more than just another superhero film, the sequel did its duty to bring in the dough for Marvel studios, making $96.2 million in box office sales in its opening weekend.

Leave a Reply