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Apr
07

More Jason Bourne Than G.I. Joe

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier is packed with secrets. Even those secrets have secrets. But it’s no secret that the movie is one hell of a spy-clashing joyride.

And it’s not just the action. The plot is intense, too. The movie is a huge, layered, twisting thriller—full of espionage, cover-ups and shades of grey. The very red, white and blue fabric that defines Captain, Steve Rogers, is challenged and even a bit torn.

But, unlike every other Marvel accomplishment since the end-credit scene in the first Iron Man, the S.H.I.E.L.D organization isn’t quietly working in the background. It’s upfront and centre, wrapping its secrets around the main character and engulfing him in the most conflict he has ever faced. The movie does a great job of really letting it sink in.

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“I just like to know who I’m fighting”, perfectly sums up Captain America. He’s direct and always ready to do right. But when no one can tell the good guys from the bad guys, the character and the audience are thrown into some classic spy games, with a superhero twist.

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier enemies are hiding and always seem to have the upper hand. Not even the S.H.I.E.L.D organization can identify The Winter Soldier himself—a new breed of assassin that can match the hero move-for-move, using an absurdly powerful bionic arm to swat Cap’s shield away, like it was just a toy.

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But that’s okay. That’s what makes everything so intense.

The movie is designed to bring out the best in the lead character, to focus on what makes him a true hero. Everything is stacked against him. Even though times have changed and enemies have evolved, Cap’s focus on leadership amongst all the grey areas and chaos is what makes the movie a super political thriller. We’re solving things alongside the main character.

Not only are there beautifully choreographed live-action scenes of Cap taking out slightly above-average henchmen in one continuous shot, but there are mysteries that are solved and hidden strategies that are played. It all elevates the Captain America centred feature into a larger, sprawling S.H.I.E.L.D storyline that will definitely be a new backstory for more characters than just Cap.

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Plot = character development
Character development = more movies

Intense, twisting plot = more character development
More character development = even more movies

Marvel has their formula down. Captain America: The Winter Soldier respectably raises the intensity to showcase what makes the hero who he is. All the while, adding new twists makes sure that no dust actually completely settles. It’s a comic book thriller. Not a fairytale. Because just like the decades of comic books have proven, there will always be bad guys—in all shapes and sizes—and there will always be a hero like Captain America.

Cliched, yes. But this movie makes it at least feel real. The world Captain America has to save is our own. So, amongst all the clashing metal, explosions, plot twists and tie-ins with other Marvel movies, there is still a strong commentary on what’s right and wrong in our world today.

In the context of Marvel movies, however, this movie feels very, very right.

 

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