More questions for the Cap: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

April 7, 2014


Well, the new Captain America movie opened here in Jakarta this weekend—Captain America: The Winter Soldier—and, like the first one, it was one of the better Marvel standalone movies. Captain America has proven to be, IMHO, the strongest of the Marvel superheroes. Iron Man, and by extension Tony Stark, is certainly the most fun, but Cap is the most three-dimensional of the lot. Thus far, his movies has felt less like placeholders than the god-awful Thor movies, and serve as the conscience of the Marvel universe. The Winter Soldier isn’t as fleet or breezy as The First Avenger, but it does seem to have something on its mind—a rarity in a spring blockbuster.

If The First Avenger was a war-bond seller repurposed into a comic book movie, then The Winter Soldier is a repurposed ‘70s conspiracy-thriller—complete with Robert Redford (though he manages not to get his whole office machine-gunned the death in this movie…oh, wait…).

If the premise makes for a more somber film, it also allows a weightiness the other Marvel movies haven’t achieved, with only Iron Man 3 even trying. 

"Check it out! Sundance Kid's still got it going on, right?"

“Check it out! Sundance Kid’s still got it going on, right?”

Like that film, The Winter Soldier shows a healthy mistrust of authority, which first popped up in The Avengers. In this movie super-soldier Steve Rogers finds that a little weapons research is only the beginning. However, like the first Captain America film, The Winter Soldier left me with a few questions…[WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS]

So, Captain America is basically Superman, right? Okay, I get that Steve Rogers became Captain America after getting a Top Secret Lance Armstrong cocktail, but, did that make him superhuman? I mean, he’s super strong and can run super fast, but how does it make him damn near invulnerable? I noticed this in The Avengers, too: Cap can fight indefinitely without getting tired; he can take any number of physical blows without being seriously injured; he can also plummet from insane heights and land without the crippling effects of, well, basic physics. Why not just make him fly and get it over with?

Did this movie just rip off the elevator scene from So Close? I know this movie’s elevator fight had way more guys, but So Close had Karen Mok, so I guess it’s where your preferences lie…

Virginity: Really? This is still a problem? He’s been unthawed for, like, three years at this point and he still hasn’t gotten laid? For chrissakes, he looks like Chris Freakin’ Evans! How is that possible? I get that he’s still pining for Peggy Carter, but, um, she’s like 90 and suffering from dementia. Even Steven has to understand that’s a dead end. Shouldn’t he move on? Doesn’t he get horny? I mean, it’s just weird that he doesn’t.  Maybe it’s me, but I don’t trust a main character that is this celibate. He makes Jedi Knights look like Don fucking Draper.

Materials:  Yeah, we’re gonna hit this again, too. Cap destroys three massive helicarriers in the climax of the movie. It’s a way cool sequence, but I have to wonder at the waste of it all. Look, I don’t want go all Tea Party here, but what do you think the dollar value is on that carnage? I mean, the recently-christened USS Gerald Ford cost us 13 billion, and it doesn’t even fly or anything cool like that (thanks, Obama!). How much would a helicarrier cost? Do numbers even go that high? Wasn’t there an alternative to burning up the equivalent of the GDP of a mid-sized country? Cap couldn’t just, I dunno, stick a banana in its tailpipe? And which lucky politician gets to announce to the American people that the deficit just ballooned to, like, a quadzillion dollars and the national treasury is now a parking lot?

"Um, couldn't we have at least stripped some of the copper wire first?"

“Um, couldn’t we have at least stripped some of the copper wire first?”

Falcon: So Sam Wilson used one of those mechanical-wing suits in either Iraq or Afghanistan (the movie never specifies). So…does that mean he works for S.H.I.E.L.D. or does the military just have those now? And if they do, why do we still use drones? As a matter of fact, why don’t we just mass-produce them and Buck Rogers the shit out of all our enemies?

Is it just me or is this thing kind of lame?

Is it just me or is this thing kind of lame?

Who decide to have Jenny Agutter beat the shit out of Robert Redford?  Because good job, whoever you are.

Who is Cobie Smulders’ character and why should I care about her? I know she showed up a couple times in The Avengers, but did they ever give her a name? Was there any reason to beef up her role here? Especially since they already introduced Emily VanCamp and then did nothing with her. I appreciate an intelligence service filled with beautiful women, but if you’re not going to have them fire machine guns while wearing bikinis, then you better have them do something substantive.

Why don’t bullets hurt people? Cap takes four rounds, including one to the midriff, and still doesn’t bleed out. Black Widow gets hit in the shoulder, but is ultimate-fighting again a few scenes later—despite the fact that’s it’s pointed out she is bleeding badly. Makes you wonder why anyone bothers to run from gunfire. It seems more like an inconvenience than anything. Bullets are basically like Nerf darts to everyone in these movies.

The mask: I gotta admit I hate the mask. It looks slightly better here than it did in The Avengers, but it still looks stupid, and…why? I know there is a grand tradition in comic books of deviously hiding a person’s identity by covering up their eyes, but—and I cannot stress this enough—Cap has no secret identity. He had a fucking Smithsonian exhibit! It’s going to take a shit-ton more work to disguise his identity than just a dumb mask. 

"Ha! I am totally unrecognizable now! I could be anyone!"

“Ha! I am totally unrecognizable now! I could be anyone!”

HYDRA screws up everything: So, HYDRA infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and then proceeded to screw up the world, as Zola’s KITT display explains. Every government mistake or misstep was engineered by these infiltrators to weaken the government. Okay, but shit isn’t that black and white. What qualifies as as a mistake? Grenada? The B-1 bomber? Jimmy Carter? Was HYDRA responsible for Vietnam? How about Korea? Parachute pants? They had to be behind parachute pants. What about El DeBarge and “Achy-Breaky Heart” and Larry the Cable Guy? You can’t tell me that dude’s existence wasn’t a HYDRA plot to make America dumber. And how about the Star Wars prequels? I mean, that must have been HYDRA psyops to break our collective will…

So, that’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Another solid entry in the Marvel canon.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: