I love the Marvel superheroes. And my favorite superhero is Captain America. So, our family was in a sold-out IMAX theater on Friday night for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Earlier that day, I had purchased a certain someone the winter soldier action figure at the Disney store. This actually caused some problems in our household because the box names the winter soldier as Bucky Barnes. My daughter looked at me like I just told her there was no Santa Clause. "The winter soldier is Bucky!?" So, sorry for the spoiler.
The plot of this sequel is fairly hard to describe without giving away more than the identity of Bucky. Suffice it to say that in the first part of the movie we find out that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised. Captain America has to figure out who is not corrupt, who he can trust. Then, they will have to save the world from the enemy. Black Widow plays a very large part in the movie (foreshadowing her own movie?), and a new superhero is introduced, Falcon. Robert Redford appears as Alexander Pierce, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and leader of "the council" that gives Nick Fury orders regarding S.H.I.E.L.D. My favorite part was when Pierce opens his super-fancy refrigerator, with a glimpse of Newman's Own pasta sauce. (I'm sure lots of zillionaires keep leftover pasta sauce in their fridge, but whatever.)
The bad guys (who shall not be named here) have a secret weapon, Bucky, who also has some of whatever makes Captain America so super. He may even have a little more. Bucky has no memory of who he was at all. In a way, this movie taps into the angst of returning U.S. soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan -- Falcon runs a support group for vets having trouble assimilating back into civilian life, and he empathizes with Steve Rogers, who is having trouble assimilating after returning from a war seventy years ago to a time and place that is foreign to him. Not to give it away, but Steve's only soulmate is 96. Bucky is an extreme version -- told by the bad guys that he is a soldier making the world better for humanity, but who is being used and exploited for the bad guys' own ends. (Remember, one of the big plot points for Iron Man 3 was that Tony Stark has PTSD from his battle with Loki's alien army.)
The biggest hole in this movie, just like in Iron Man 3, is WHY DOESN'T CAPTAIN AMERICA CALL THE OTHER AVENGERS? If the fate of the world is really hanging in the balance, and you have three friends with whom you've saved the world before, why wouldn't you call them? At least call Tony Stark. From a plot point of view, the absence of the other Avengers in these sequel is unbelievable. From an actor contract perspective, it makes sense. Robert Downey, Jr. has fulfilled his contracts. That is a negotiation for done the line. Also, once you start calling in help, the sequel just becomes Avengers2. But back in the world where millions of people are about to die, it seems weird that Captain America doesn't ask Black Widow what Iron Man is doing for the next few days.
Still, it's an awesome movie.
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