The Winter Soldier (2)
By: Terra Clarke Olsen
Leaving the theatre after seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I was high and excited. I would have described the movie in one word: AWESOME. No really, I left the theatre feeling inspired and awe struck. I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t realize it was going to be that good. It’s action packed and lively, but also solemn. But after I had time to reflect, I realized that it’s not the perfect movie I so desperately want it to be. Though it spoke to my Captain American fangirl heart, my inner comic book nerd was a tad disappointed.
[I’ll try not to give away too many things, but I can’t but hint at a few things. So stop reading now if if you want to go see the film spoiler-free.]
Before I dive more into the movie, it might help to understand my fandom background. I was never a big Captain America fan. Steve Rogers was just too cookie-cutter for my taste (same reason I’m not into Superman). And while I always enjoyed reading the Avengers, I never got into Cap’s books. That is, until Civil War came along. Civil War is an epic Marvel series in which the US government creates the Superhuman Registration Act. What follows is tragic; friend fights friend and the line between what is right and wrong is blurred. It was a superb story and one that made me realize how badass ol’ Cap really is. During Civil War, Captain America fights the government and stands up for what he believes- freedom for all. The United States started implementing practices that Cap didn’t find very American, and he found himself directly opposed to orders and new laws. And so our hero becomes an outlaw. And thus started my love for Captain America, boy-scout code and all.
This is where my love of Captain America: The Winter Soldier stems from, the movie conveyed his strong and staunch principles. When Fury reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. is creating a superteam hover carriers that will subdue potential threats before they start, Cap replies “This isn’t freedom. This is fear.” His feelings are dismissed with the old “times have changed” attitude. But Cap knows what he stands for, and S.H.I.E.L.D is not representing the America he knew/knows or loves. In the end, Cap becomes a fugitive that fights for what he believes and to protect those he has sworn to protect. But Winter Soldier cut-short some of the other fabulous characters.
We’re introduced to Samuel Wilson, aka Falcon, the first mainstream African-American superhero. In the film, Wilson is genuine and spirited, just like Rogers. The two understand each other, instantly have a good rapport, and Wilson quickly becomes Cap’s wingman. Though Winter Soldier develops Wilson’s character thoroughly, I wanted more-more Falcon action! The film didn’t adequately show what the Falcon is capable of as a superhero, something I hope they remedy in his next appearance (hopefully his own feature…).
From a comic readers’ perspective, I thought it was fitting that Falcon fights with Cap to take down S.H.I.E.L.D, since he was the first to join Cap in Civil War to fight against the Superhuman Registration Act. But I thought the movie missed an opportunity to introduce Black Panther, since he is the one who crafted Falcon’s first flight belt five years after the character’s first appearance, not the US government. Understandably this might have been too much information to convey in one movie, but it would have been freakin sweet to have hinted his involvement, and his future appearances into the Marvel film world (it looks as though we might meet Black Panther in the Avengers: Age of Ultron, as the film is set to film for two weeks in South Africa, and Black Panther is from the fictional African country Wakanda). But that all being said, I am ecstatic that Falcon made his appearance and his personality came through so strongly.
Another character the film shorted was Natasha Romanova, aka Black Widow. Although it was awesome that they showed her weaponry in action (the ‘widow’s bite’ discs that send out electrostatic bolts), I don’t think they adequately showed her physical abilities. As a Soviet spy, she received top training and treatments to heighten her physical durability (as well as a few other things), plus she was a professional ballerina as a cover. This background alone grants her more asskicking scenes and less hiding and shooting scenes. But again, that being said, like Falcon, the character development was great, and I appreciate that the audience was introduced to a softer side of Black Widow.
Overall I found Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be a fantastic movie (I completely recognize that my complaints are along the lines of obnoxious comic-book nerd) and highly recommend that others see it. Make sure you stay through all the credits too, as we’re treated to two surprises.