Walking about the mall(s) after viewing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I thought I was looking for an action figure or collectible, as a form of keepsake of my time spent enjoying the splendid film (as I normally do, when I experience a good movie viewing), and found my desire wanting, mass market action figures notwithstanding, nor desired … and it was not until I was enroute home, that I recognize what I was feeling, and it was that I was actually eager about wanting to see more of the film, and what happens "next", and a piece of plastic might help me tide that feeling over … "foolish", I know - Welcome To My Life! :)
And all that to me, is one of MARVEL's celluloid triumphs, in that they keep you wanting MORE.
I was so engrossed by the proceedings that I did not question the believability of the scenario (which was deliciously so "comicbook", and makes absolutely "comicbook sense") and characters depicted, and just enjoyed the ride … and only when the end credits scene come in (you know by now to stay at least until the principal credits roll, folks!), I was then reminded of the "bigger picture" that which is the Marvel Universe.
FYI#1: That mid-credits scene would make so much sense if you know about what's currently being filmed in Italy, otherwise the connection is not so evident immediately, especially if you'd read comicbooks as well. And that reveal that (somewhat uneasily) leads to the character(s) reveal is oh so intriguingly exciting, that I think ties to either Guardians of the Galaxy, or the third Avengers movie (truth be told I could not hear the dialogue clearly, as a group of kids were yakking away beside me ggrrr).
FYI#2: There apparently is a END credits scene, right until the end of the closing credits, but I had missed that totally and am utterly gutted now ggrrr.
(But thanks to a friend who sat all the way thru, I now know what the scene holds, so that's coolbeans)
(Poster image by Paolo Rivera / via AICN)
Ironically what convinced me to want to watch this film (when I wasn't sure before, I admit) - was actually watching the earlier leaked 10 minutes of the film online! Seeing that provided me "assurance" rather than a deterrent to a splendid film, IMHO. The tone, the speed, and especially the chatter between Steve and Sam, was key to showing me it was not another narcissistical outing with "Tony Stark" … Look, if the first 10-15 minutes does not grab you, don't be expecting anything more for the film, IMHO.
Some say this film is MARVEL's finest, and find it hard to disagree, with this being the most coherent and "believable" film thus far seen, for me personally. While hardly in the stratosphere of the "Best" Superhero films, it is at it's subtle best above a whole chunk of genre flicks.
If you're looking for blindingly bright repulsor-rayblasts, flying men with hammers, or indestructible green goliaths, this is NOT a film to help sate your thirsts for such fantastical activities. But if you want to see solid athletic action, swift hand-to-hand-combat, and a super serum that makes a human being have the strength of more than 20 men, then this is a film for you … and let's throw in a cyborg-arm for good measure, shall we?
Most everything were made to feel so natural and "real world", I'd forgotten to "look out" for the geek-nods and go for the ride, and discovering them, recognizing them, was a delight.
The little easter eggs were fun. The spoken name of a certain character [ "Stephen Strange" ] brought a smile to my face, and gives an idea of how MARVEL plans for the "future". An appearance of a certain actor, was a cheeky nod to the directors of the film, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo - both of whom helmed the television series "Community" [ And that's big hint already MUAHAHAHA ]. All these besides the obvious "Batroc" reference and Frank Grillo as "Brock Rumlow", who would eventually be "Crossbones" - another adversary of Captain America (in the comicbooks), and I'd leave it t that :)
(Hot Toy's 1/6 "Captain America: Golden Age Suit" on display at Bugis)
Without the benefit of a 10 x 1 hour parter television series, this 2+ hour film compartmentalizes scenarios and characters into neat offerings and doles out an emotional connection satisfying for a genre film such as this. Steve is thoroughly confused and stressed throughout, and you're okay with that, you feel for the dude, and I cannot imagine anyone else other than Chris Evans now in this role.
(Click on above to see more of Hot Toy's 1/6 "Black Widow" figure)
I love how Natasha has evolved till this outing. But then again, that frown of hers offer more insight to her than previous 2 x MARVEL films. Even "Nick Fury" gets his day in the "acting sun".
I was not too bothered by the lack of story-depth from The Winter Soldier, because you KNOW that's another story for the sequel, or heck, another film altogether (Don't be surprised The Black Widow appears).
(Click on above to see more of Hot Toy's 1/6 "Winter Soldier" figure)
"Sam Wilson" AKA "The Falcon" was a utilitarian role, whom I have trouble figuring how it would work out in a scenario like "The Avengers" … but as "Sam Wilson"? Works perfectly to complement "Steve Rogers".
Was "Sharon Carter / Agent 13" introduced as a pretty placement in this flick leading to more afters? A subplot pseudo-romance left dangling that went nowhere fast but for maybe a stronger presence in the NEXT film ... but I'm always fine with some non-committal eye-candy … and hey, she is "Black Widow-approved" too, yeh? AND she has her own "character poster" too? Totally 'over-sell' here LOL
The plot device linking back to the first movie was a swell and welcomed surprise, for me anyways. The conceit is so deliciously "comicbook" (as mentioned before), I certainly sat thru everything with a smile and knowing nod in my heart! But I would not know how well this would go down with an audience who does not already know the "Captain America"-lore though...
On the "design" level, I felt the movie was extremely subtle and well executed, to the point of possessing a constructed subtlety bordering on "restraint", and moved emotively on a limited color palette, without veering too far into the color-bomb of "The Avengers" and retaining the grays and blues from the first film. Even "reds" were held back, but for the star on the Winter Soldier's arm, and even the battle-damaged shield, a metaphor for the U.S perhaps? Getting knocked down constantly but still taking the punches and deflecting blades slashing and bullets?
(1/6 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Shield Suit Version)
prototype from Hot Toys / Pic by Kkw Kkw on Hot Toys Community)
I totally understand the Blue Stealth suit and shield now, and even embrace the retro revival and reuse of the Golden Age Suit! And 'nice job' on letting textures and layers be seen on the numerous black ensembles!
While being far from being a "perfect" genre film, it entertained beyond it's expectations, and to me was leaps and bounds beyond "Iron Man 3" hahahaha
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" turned out to be my kinda movie, and I did not even know nor expect it to be. But then again, all you needed to do, was turn and keep watch "on your left". Give it a chance, and give it a watch.
FYI: After I wrote this review/commentary, I read the trivia page on IMDb and found it much more enriching an experience to watching the film!
(IMAX poster via wegeekgirls.com)