Jun 25, 2014
Captain America Lets ScarJo Act, Because He Is the Nicest Avenger
Do you have Marvel fatigue yet? Because we are getting there, guys, with the unrelenting encroachments of the Marvel universe. All the time, with the unnecessary Spider-man reboots, and the Easter eggs about Thanos in The Avengers, and the super-sexy Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Guardians of the frickin Galaxy who I DON’T EVEN KNOW THEM, WHAT IS THAT?!
But it’s really hard to complain when the vast majority of these things are at least watchable – there’s probably a train wreck in there somewhere, but damned if we can remember. No matter who’s directing, who’s cast, who’s writing, or what the story is, Stan Lee’s evil genius plot to take over all U.S. film revenue still manages to produce credible entertainment.
And so it is with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Is it the greatest thing we’ve ever seen? It is not, but it is enjoyable from beginning to end, and even a little thoughtful sometimes. In this rendition, Chris Evans as Captain of America is also now the figurehead and moral compass of S.H.I.E.L.D., the spy agency/superhero tracker that appears to be compromised. It’s the NSA, but with giant hovercrafts (actually the NSA probably has giant hovercrafts). After Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) starts to notice something’s rotten in the state of S.H.I.E.L.D., he enlists the Captain to find out what’s happening.
The best part of this movie is that everyone appears to be human, and having extremely human problems. While the toys are better and there’s that indestructible shield, this plot really isn’t all that different from, say, a Bourne movie. Captain America isn’t an alien or a monster, he’s just a guy who got a really good batch of steroids. The villainy doesn’t come from another galaxy, it comes from good, old-fashioned American corruption. Planting the movie on solid ground was a smart move; the plot is solid, with a limited scope and not too much meandering into the weirdo end-of-the-world stuff.
Samuel L. Jackson wisely gets a lot of screen-time as Nick Fury, who is just Samuel L. Jackson with an eye patch and only PG-13 obscenities. But in a delightful move, the bright light of the movie is Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, who actually gets to act a little instead of just looking hot and shooting at things.
She does look hot, of course, and also shoots at things a lot. But she also gets to be a real person, an ambivalent assassin who is starting to realize that her switch from the KGB to S.H.I.E.L.D. might have been a lateral move. Watching her crush a man to death with her thighs is nice, but the real fun is watching her prod the Captain about girls, commiserate with him about the loneliness of their jobs, and gently tease him about the fact that he hasn’t kissed anyone since 1945. Are they setting up a love interest plot between Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff? Hopefully not – personally their big brother/little sister vibe is far more preferable.
Don’t worry, Marvel fans- after Captain America there’s a new Marvelicious adventure coming out on May 2. And on May 23. And in August. When will this end? No one knows. But as of right now, we’re still drinking Stan Lee’s kool-aid.