Captain America: The Winter Soldier – While there’s always plenty of action and intrigue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, I feel that their main strength lies in the interaction between characters. Well, that and the visual effects, but those in and of themselves can’t make a good movie. This time, the honest and loyal to a fault Captain America works with the deceptive Nick Fury and the manipulative Black Widow. Descriptions of the film point out how Cap is out of his element because things were presented so simply back in his time, without all the political complication. Not that that stuff didn’t exist in World War II, but it wasn’t really communicated to the public. With the emphasis on character, it did strike me that the feelings involved in Steve fighting his old best friend were downplayed, but maybe he was in shock. And apparently the way we know Bucky is evil now is that he has stubble and an emo hairstyle.
By the way, when I read that the Winter Soldier story arc in the comics was written by Ed Brubaker, my reaction was, “He had a comic in Oz-Story Magazine!”
In this movie, it isn’t always clear who’s trustworthy, as terrorists have infiltrated SHIELD. I have to say that, while I enjoyed the film, I had a little trouble buying Hydra as believable villains.
Arnim Zola in computer form claimed that their plan was to build order out of chaos by manipulating events since WWII. Playing multiple sides against each other is a pretty typical plot, which worked out quite well for Palpatine in Star Wars. What rings false is that the state of perpetual war in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have more or less made it so that nobody trusts anybody, and doesn’t a takeover gambit require at least one person the world feels they CAN trust? Then again, we live in an era where it was much easier to pass the PATRIOT Act than the Affordable Health Care Act. Knowing exactly what American citizens are saying and doing at any given time is an acceptable power for the government to have, but keep them out of health care! So maybe Hydra knows more about human nature than I do. I’m also still try to puzzle out the line, “Order comes only through pain.” As my Facebook friend Nicole pointed out, it sounds like something Pinhead would say. I thought it was amusing that Hydra’s supporter in the Senate was Garry Shandling, but thinking about it later I realized that he’s a presumably Jewish politician supporting a group founded by Nazis. I wonder if the character was aware of that.
Mind you, when a movie is based on comics, I’m willing to forgive ridiculous plots because they’re pretty much the norm. Also, since Hercules exists as a character in Marvel Comics, does that mean the terrorist organization was named after an actual animal from ancient Greece? At least Marvel seems to acknowledge they’re being silly, unlike how the Nolan Batman movies acted all serious but had villainous plots that made even less sense.