When I was working as a professional movie reviewer, one of my first reviews was V For Vendetta. I raved about it, calling a subversive masterpiece that was going to resonate with many world wide. My peers called me a fool, that the film was a minor blip on the radar that would be quickly forgotten. Time travel nine years in the future and Guy Fawkes masks can be found at every protest no matter where on then globe it is. That is a powerful film.
Captain America: the Winter Soldier is on par with that film. It is a masterpiece of filmmaking and story telling combined with kick ass action and Scarlet Johansson in a tight leather outfit (or Chris Evans in tight, tight shirts if you swing that way). It is everything that films should be and usually aren't due to studio influence. This movie not only tells a mass audience a real life parable about why we should be questioning authority, it also shakes up the Marvel Universe in such a way that future films and the awesome TV series, Marvel Agents of SHIELD, will never be the same. I rarely walk out of a movie as happy and excited as I was with this one. It is a must see for everyone.
I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum and minor but if you don't want to know about certain plot points stop reading now and come back after you've seen the picture. I'll wait.
Captain America is back and starts the film taking a hijacked ship from Algerian pirates by brutalizing anyone who gets in his way. His shield is just as much a weapon as a defensive object here, bashing people in painful ways and even killing some who are trying to do the same to him. I am a little tried of the idea that super heroes never kill, and this film shows Captain America as a truly heroic figure that only kills when he has to. But when he does, OUCH!
After the big battle, with Black Widow's help, he tries to adapt to modern life. He meets up with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in a very funny jogging sequence and their friendship eventually leads to him being the Falcon. No red spandex here and the way he flies is due to a military backpack that sprouts wings, which looks very cool in action.
Nick Fury starts to suspect something is very wrong within SHIELD, but before he can do anything about it, he is viciously attacked by unknown attackers and the Winter Soldier. He makes it to Captain America's apartment where he explains all that has happens so far. From here loyalties shift, several characters die or get arrested and SHIELD is destroyed from within by HYDRA. One such death caused my girlfriend and I to laugh due to the latest episode of Robot Chicken. Those that have seen both will get the reference to this movie and Batman at a funeral.
The movie is essentially a true story about how fascism has waited to pounce once again. Hydra, and the real life Nazis, tried to force fascism on us. Hell, in 1936 the rich and powerful tried to stage a fascist coup against FDR which blew up in their face when Smedley Butler, their hand picked successor, wanted no part of the scheme and ratted them out to Congress. Here, HYDRA has brainwashed the world into accepting Fascism for their own good, just like the rest of the world has done. We keep hearing how we need more security to protect ourselves from terrorists, when they are the ones making sure that said terrorists exist in the first place, just like HYDRA. In this film, the first people targeted by the new death star they have built are all the free thinkers and troublemakers that any new government would want offed first, like Maria Hill, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Dr. Strange. How different is that from what would happen if "terrorists" started using car bombs nationwide and every Muslim had to be imprisoned because of it, then anyone who bitched about it on a blog and so on?
Our rights are rapidly disappearing. Just ask the ranchers out in NV who are being told they are filming in anti-first amendment zones. These areas exist only in a totalitarian society and have no place in the US except in extreme situations like outside abortion clinics. And even they are not told to stand eight miles away in a barbed wire fenced off area to express their opinion. This movie is a cautionary tale of what we should all fear. Go see it today.
Five stars out of five stars