Friday, April 11, 2014

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014)

The phenomenon Marvel has been creating in Hollywood the past decade or so has been a lot of fun. Even when the films are more flash than philosophy—more entertaining trivialities than idea-filled theater—the idea of creating a series of entertaining franchises that intertwine with each other and pulling it off successfully has been amazing to watch. Of course, part of the success lies in the fact that they do occasionally have something to say, like in the case of the first “Ironman” or the first “Captain America.”

“The Winter Soldier” may be the most successful of the bunch in that regard. The ideas behind the story, ranging everywhere from patriotism to wounded warriors to security vs. freedom to even current events like the Snowden controversy, are all well-thought out and balanced. This film entertains and forces the viewer to pose and consider important questions. And that is a good thing. All the while, it manages to be a well-made action film that is a rollercoaster ride of an adventure.

This may be the most successful attempt to pose the important questions about patriotism in a way that helps people to see all sides of the issue without antagonizing people into entrenched positions that shut down a dialogue. No one questions Captain America’s love for his country. So it is effective when he is the character who is concerned things may have been taken too far. And the mechanics of the scenario where freedom is sacrificed for the sake of an artificial security in this film are easier to understand and present a truer picture of how dangerous things can get than what was presented in films like “The Dark Knight.”

“The Avengers” was a bigger event in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first film of its kind, making it more of an accomplishment in some ways; but this second Captain America film is at least the second best film from Marvel and may be a better stand-alone effort.

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