Saturday, April 5, 2014

Captain America: the Winter Soldier Review

Don’t get me wrong: in many ways I really enjoyed the movie. There were some great one-liners, solid character moments, and exhilarating action scenes.

In short, Captain America: the Winter Soldier was an adequate film.

What got me down is that this film confirmed my fear of recent years: the Golden Age of superhero movies has passed. Let me put it this way, if you were to set up a spectrum with Batman Begins on one end and the Green Lantern on the other, recent superhero films have fallen closer to Green Lantern.

Nolan and others in the last decade and a half wanted to make movies. That seems to have been their goal. They would then take characters and situations from comic books and put them in the movie, and the results would end up astoundingly powerful. They pulled in millions of people who never read the comic books and where not at all interested in “comic book movies” because they were making good film that happened to have comic book characters. Each of those films could be watched on it’s own (or in a short trilogy) and be enjoyed for what it was without any concern for the greater comic book world (because it took place in a world not too different from our own).

In the last few years the comic book movies seem to be more about the comic books. They are not putting those heroes in our world (or a similar one), but instead they have built worlds where the strange is normal.

In these worlds the directors don’t need to justify anything with explanation other than “that’s how it is in the comics.”

As much as I enjoyed the film, a part of me walked out of the theater resigned to the fact that I’ll still go see these movies, but I’ll be getting Green Lantern-like fantastical worlds, not a NYC that can’t decide what to do with something as strange as a guy in a spider costume who beats up baddies.

I guess this is an ode to those in the good old days who died and stayed dead: Uncle Ben, Rachel Dawes, and Ra's al Ghul. Your deaths where powerful and stayed powerful because you stayed dead.

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