Med City Movie Guy: Stirring second tour of duty for 'Captain'
Who says nothing is "Made in America" anymore? Back in WWII, army scientists took a weak little anemic imp (for an illustration, refer to my high school year book photo, junior year) and transformed him into a physically perfect and patently...
Who says nothing is "Made in America" anymore?
Back in WWII, army scientists took a weak little anemic imp (for an illustration, refer to my high school year book photo, junior year) and transformed him into a physically perfect and patently efficient soldier.
That origins story, the 2011 blockbuster "Captain America: The First Avenger," ended as the title character Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wakes from suspended animation in time to star in the 2012 $1.5B megahit "The Avengers."
This sequel picks up two years later as HYDRA, the evil agency that's infected S.H.I.E.L.D. almost from the beginning, is angling to commandeer a project called "Insight." Like something out of an Edward Snowden blog, the government is collecting everything on everyone. Insight uses a complex algorithm to mine that data to identify future threats and proactively eliminate them. (Sort of like what Tom Cruise did in "Minority Report" but without the gross-out eyeball in a baggie thing.) "Sacrifice 20 million to bring order to 7 billion," S.H.I.E.L.D. charlatan Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) says.
The task is daunting so S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) brings in Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) who not only helps acquire a mysterious flash drive but helped pack theaters with fan boys for a record-setting opening weekend, as well. (So, if you ever wondered why they don't make a live action film about the cartoon character Little Lotta, there's your answer).
The muscle behind the move is the titular villain Winter Soldier, a contemporary of Rogers and the best friend he thought had died in action.
Fun and action permeate "Captain America," my favorite of the Avengers. This one's story is solid and engaging. The effects were good and not overdone.
Evans, Johansson and Jackson, stay fresh reprising their crowd-pleasing roles and we're introduced to a new superhero, the winged "Falcon" ("Hurt Locker's" Anthony Mackie). And here's something I never thought I would say: Robert Redford is an exquisite villain.
Lots to like here, not the least of which is Stan Lee's cameo and, as always, stay for the credits.
Med City Movie Guy's rating:4 Honks (out of 5)
Chris Miksanek is a Rochester freelance writer. Follow him on the Center Stage blog at PostBulletin.com.
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" rewards the astute with some fun but fleeting pop-culture references. Here are three that I noticed.
"Shall we play a game?" Romanoff utters this as she boots-up a discovered supercomputer complex that's preserved the conscious of Arnim Zola. The line is from the 1983 hit "WarGames" that starred Matthew Broderick.
One of Robert Redford's most iconic roles was as the Sundance Kid to Paul Newman's Butch Cassidy in 1969. Newman launched a food line, the profits from which are donated to charity. When Redford opens his refrigerator we see, for a fraction of a second, a jar of "Newman's Own" pasta sauce inside.
On a tombstone that purports to mark Nick Fury's grave, we briefly see a portion of a biblical quote attributed to Ezekiel that reads, "The path of the righteous man…" The reference, of course, is to the 1994 film "Pulp Fiction." Samuel L. Jackson's Jules Winnfield recites it before offing someone; it ends famously with "And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you" and is punctuated with gunfire.
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