Thursday, May 15, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Captain America” Returns to the Screen

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Here I go again, writing about another movie based on the superhero characters I used to publish at Marvel Comics. Captain America was the super patriot, created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon back when America faced World War II. As you fanboys will recall, Cap (né Steve Rogers) was a 90-pound weakling who got injected with a super serum that turned him into an invincible, shield-wielding soldier.

The Marvel editors got him from that era to this by freezing him in an ice floe, later to be thawed out. This was even before Walt Disney could say cryogenics or make a movie called “Frozen.” Note: Disney now owns Marvel.

This new blockbuster film is titled “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Having had it run in New Town, you can now catch it at the Tropic Cinema.

Again we have Chris Evans starring as Cap, his third outing in the role. This one is a sequel to “Captain America: The First Avenger.” And it introduces a mystery superhero, a nemesis who seems out to thwart Cap -- the titular Winter Soldier.

Fans of the Captain America comic books might know this interloper’s identity, another comeback from the old days, but we won’t deliver a spoiler here.

The point is, as we used to say at Marvel, nobody ever really stays dead in comics. To wit, Captain America frozen in the ice floe. And a few years ago, headlines were made when Marvel killed Cap off in its comic books -- but he was later resurrected because movies were waiting to be made. Like this one.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is the ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a group of movies thematically related, as if part of one bigger story ... just the way comic books work, with all the action in all the titles taking place within the fictional Marvel Universe.

This latest movie pits Cap against real-world politics, taking its inspiration from NSA spying, drone warfare, and Wikileaks secrets.

Scripted by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the “Winter Soldier” storyline kills off Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), brings back the Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), casts suspicions on the super espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., offers up the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), introduces an Algerian pirate (Georges St. Pierre), recalls Cap’s old sidekick Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and trots out a member of the World Security Council (yes, Robert Redford).

And you can count on my ol’ friend Stan Lee making one of his famous cameo appearances, this time as a security guard at the Smithsonian. ‘Nuff said.

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