Why I didn’t like THE WINTER SOLDIER

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Captain America. THE WINTER SOLDIER is an easy and quick review. It’s bad. Anything good at all? Not really. Well Scarjo makes a few half smiles, or sneers, that is as good as it gets. Concerned faces and straight ahead action with no chills or thrills. 

1016051-box-office-report-captain-america-winter-soldier-sees-96.2m-debut_1.jpgChris Evans is walking through the Captain America franchise with equal parts distain and exhaustion. Not sure if he is exhausted by the subject matter or the intensity of running and jumping. I am sure the role is extremely physically taxing. Super handsome Evans has the largest guns I have ever seen aside from Cavil’s Superman brazen and massive pec array in Man Of Steel. Marvel movies are typically more of about bodybuilding and obstacle courses than actual acting.

Evan’s has already stated that he will probably quit acting after his contract with Marvel is over, and his attitude led everyone to believe he was not a fan of the MCU. Though recently he has suddenly made a possible retraction speaking out on the virtues of the Marvel Cinema Universe. I think the success of Cap. 2 has made his pay day much larger and money has a way of changing anyone’s mind. I know it would change mine.

Still The Winter Soldier is one hell of a FLAT movie. Marvel throws the kitchen sink and all the pots and pans into this Phase of it’s attack on movie history. And I doubt that anyone will every forgive them in the future. Everything on screen looks so preordained, so heavily choreographed it works like auto pilot on a giant Hummer. Straight ahead with no curves in the road and certainly no left turns. There are zero surprises despite the huge budget and attempts to write a decent script.

It’s still reads like a donut recipe that left out all the sugar. What you end up with is a mouthful of dough. Money for Marvel but mealy mouthed. Well at least that’s what Cap. 2 did for me. If it weren’t so loud I would have fallen asleep.

Instead of just review the plot and it’s predictable devices which you can steal from any Mission Impossible, including a face mask trick. I will make a few points reviewing why The Winter Soldier failed in it’s attempt to bring relevance to America and the plight of the American people in this age of drones, war and constant surveillance.

First, as I said, Chris Evans. His heart just isn’t in it, and It shows. Cap’s back flipping is kinda silly. Cap is just too big of a guy to be Mr. Gymnastics Hunk. Cap’s mellow nice guy condition needs a fresh point of view.

The original Cap had a lot of issues dealing with the new world and what he left undone in the past. It’s called regrets and comics Cap had a lot of them. Cap. 2 barely alludes to these issues and Cap just chugs along, simple faced the entire movie. We all know Evans is a good actor so it’s the direction and the script that is locking Steve Rogers into the play doh mental state of an almost awake man out of his element.

10559_5There is so little to hook into with Steve that you just find yourself staring at his perfect skin instead of watching the performance of a man in emotional pain and shock from being being dropped into the insane future that even I have trouble dealing with. If your main hero fails to capture your heart then the movie is doomed. I like Chris Evans, as an actor a lot, but it’s obvious why he thinks comic books movies are stupid, because they are.

Fury (Mr. Jackson) just isn’t pulling his weight in the bad guy/good guy/ tough guy act any more. It falls flatter than Evan’s portrayal of Cap. Again I get the feeling Jackson doesn’t like his character, or is tired of it.

grt4hrthbrt-captain-america-the-winter-soldier-breakdown-png-33213.jpgShield/Hydra is really wearing me down, boring me, making me check my phone for a missed txt from 2010. Sure, it’s nice to see Zola in some form, suddenly appear. One of Kirby’s more bizarre creations, who originally had a screen in his artificial torso, and a camera for a head. The Marvel movie update is an old computer room with Zola on an TV screen with a camera on top. Not as creative but within the spirit of the original idea.

bucky1.gifWinter Soldier/Bucky is also flat, like a broken down cardboard box. I mean when you are fighting to remember or forget your best friend in the world, you should make a grimace or show some visible signs of emotional distress. If you are going to erase someones mind wait till he starts waking up to start shooting a movie of it. I read rumors The Winter Soldier is returning so there will be more chances to see him stare blankly in the future.

Robert Redford, I never thought I would say this but he was pretty bad as the evil Hydra mole in Shield. Even as Redford dies in the end he still manages to mouth a final “HAIL HYDRA” as his last words. It’s incredibly comical to watch one of the worlds greatest actors succumb to the Marvel Cinematic Universe attack on movie history.

tumblr_n9j7jtoFV21qj0fdgo7_500.gifOne of cinema’s historical best male actors mouthing corny comic book one liners as a career epitaph, Hail Hydra, hahah so bizarre. I wonder how many great actors will be jumping on the Marvel movie money train to leave a trail of slime behind their once famous legacies.

Arnim6.jpgThe plot is the usual Hydra moles hidden in Shield attempting to take over the world. Yawn. Double agents, what a novel concept, and so rarely used. Aside from the many generations of spy movies made in the history of cinema.

The music was not what I call inspiring or even memorable. I recall many explosions and thundering sounds, but I have yet to hear a Captain America adventure theme. Ironman had an incredible soundtrack and Cap. 2 could really have used the music to help drown out the machine gun fire.

Stan Lee, the man that created nothing, other than being able to claim the properties of numerous artists, largely because he outlived them, makes another sad appearance. He did not create any of the Marvel characters. Spider-Man was created by Steve Ditko. Kirby created Cap. America with Joe Simon. X-men created by Kirby. I could on all day about all the characters created by Kirby. Every time I see Stan Lee on the screen faking it as a guard, or a post man. It makes me cringe for the families of the artists that created all the characters Marvel is making billions off.

Oh and Batroc, the French foot fighter was created by Kirby, just saying.

I think the main protagonist of the movie was guns and bullets. SO many bullets. The noise of bullets. The handing off of guns, the revealing of guns, the reloading of guns and the dodging of all the bullets shot by all the guns. There are a lot of guns in this movie. If you ever picked up an old Agent of Shield comic by Jim Sterenko, you would have noticed a lot of very unique inventions and a sparse use of guns. If the comics had included as many endless scenes of gunfire Marvel would have never survived as a company.

Still, this was a good opportunity for a Captain America movie to become a catalyst to reframe the perspective of America and the beauty of it’s vision for democracy. It does touch lightly on Cap’s version of what America was but it is drowned in the tech fist that America has become and Cap’s ideals are left in the streets to be run over by Hydra agents.

Scary being too hot for a supporting role.Scarlett’s Black Widow is the one interesting character that doesn’t lay flat on the screen. She brings charm, intelligence and guile to the Black Widow. Yet it’s not enough to save this movie, maybe if she and Cap had indulged in a little tryst, Cap’s boy scout ideology would have been given a new centuries perspective on women’s lib and sexual freedom.

But that mind boggling scenario ended with a kiss on the cheek and Cap waiting in the wings for the predictable nice woman. Good luck finding that in this century Cap. Another golden opportunity left in the dust for confusion and gun shooting.

What is wrong with American culture that emphasizes violence and guns over complex emotions and sex? When you have a one dimensional comic book character the best thing you can do to enhance it’s relevance is make them more human and nothing is more human than falling in love with ScarJo!

Predictability is what weighted down The Winter Soldier most. Far too mechanical, too by the numbers, over staged and sterilized in a vacuum sealing wrapping. Nothing can get in and nothing will get out. Push something human into this movie, something messy, a love affair, some anger at being betrayed, even Fury’s staged death was SO staged! There isn’t a second you feel you are off the sound stage.

badguys.jpgEven when Cap willingly is being battered by BUCKY, he isn’t even phased. Just that same blank stare. I know Cap is super strong but he isn’t Superman and when a metal fist is slamming into your face by your best friend back from the dead. It has got to hurt in some way, at least make a sour face at the fact your best friend is giving you unwanted dental work.

If you read most of the comics as I have, everything has been telegraphed decades ago. By the late, great Jack Kirby, inventor of Captain America. It was just drawn, written, and enjoyed far more in comic form.

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