Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain_America_The_Winter_SoldierHere’s a better late then never review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I really liked. That, and this movie owes a lot of credit to Ed Brubaker, who wrote the original Winter Soldier storyline that serves as the backbone of this film.

There’s a bit of a mystery element to the movie, with the evil organization Hydra (which was last seen in Captain America) having slowly integrated itself into the SHIELD organization since it was assumed to have been disbanded after World War II. Now using SHIELD’s resources, Hydra has completely rebuilt itself and looks to take over the world.

It’s a good thing that Cap, Black Widow, Nick Fury (who fakes his own death) and a newly-found ally in the Falcon are here to stop Hydra’s latest attempt at taking over the world. The only thing is that SHIELD/Hydra send the Winter Soldier (Bucky from the first movie, who has been turned into a cold-blooded cyborg mercenary) to stop them. And clearly the good guys win, since it is a super hero movie.

Winter Soldier is filled with a lot of suspense and action, pretty much everything you would want and expect in a Captain America movie. Some of the back story about how Hydra has worked in the shadows felt like a stretch, but it generally didn’t hurt the movie that much. Plus, it brought us the Arnim Zola as an old computer terminal center scenes.

Chris Evans is a great Captain America, especially the scenes where he is shown as being a man out of time who has to carry a notebook to write down all the things he has missed out on. I can’t wait to see the following Cap films that this movie sets up: the next Avengers film and the following Captain america movie. This movie gets a big thumbs up and I might have enjoyed it more than Thor: Dark World.

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Some Costuming Fun In Captain America: The Winter Soldier

captain-amerca-the-winterIt might be well over a year away, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start speculating and talking about what we do know. The last couple of weeks have revealed some new information about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I guess the most dramatic is that Cap has a new look. Actor Chris Evans will be sporting a new Captain America uniform that borrows most of its design and inspiration from the Steve Rogers: Super Soldier era when James “Bucky” Barnes had adopted the Captain America mantle. It’s also another neat tie between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Ultimate Universe and Marvel proper, as Nick Fury Jr. sports this same outfit. And that character is based on Samuel L.Jackson’s portrayal of Nick Fury in The Avengers, which is based on the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury.

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Speaking of Bucky, the Winter Soldier-ized version of the character looks to play a big role in the film. The way they have Sebastian Stan dressed up and wigged (is that even a word?) looks exactly the way the character was designed by Steve Epting and Butch Guice, right down to the cybernetic arm.

As much as I’m interested to see how Anthony Mackie looks as the Falcon, I’m more intrigued to see what Batroc the Leaper is going to look like. I think it’s awesome that UFC champ Georges St-Pierre is playing him, but his real-life no-nonsense-ness (I know that is not a word) really contrasts how cartoony the character is. I guess we’ll find out when the movie is released on April 4, 2014.

Marvel’s Upcoming Movie Calendar: Guardians of the Galaxy and Beyond

Marvel Studios unveiled a new slate of films for the next two years. So what does the film division of the “House of Ideas” have for us? The biggest announcement was the confirmation of a Guardians of the Galaxy film, slated to come out on August 1, 2014. For most people new to comics or just fans of the movies, the question is why should you be excited about this.

Guardians of the Galaxy first debuted in Marvel Super Heroes #18 back in 1969, a few months before Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Space travel was a big thing at the time and Arnold Drake and Gene Colan created a team of super powered aliens in the 31st century. Present day astronaut Vance Astrovik (with a name like that he really could do nothing else than be an astronaut) is rocketed into space in suspended animation and wakes up way far into the future. That must have been one hell of a nap.

Anyway, Vance teams up with some well-meaning alien warriors to stop the Badoon, a race of genocidal aliens bent on conquering the universe. Occasionally the Guardians would travel back to present day in crossovers with the Avengers and Defenders. The team is probably best known for Image Comics founder Jim Valentino’s series from the early 1990s.

Guardians of the Galaxy was rebooted a few years back, this time taking place in the present day. Long story short, it’s a collection of Marvel’s alien heroes teaming up to prevent catastrophes, whether they be cosmic natural disasters or intergalactic warfare. I would assume that the film will be of how the team gets together and has to save Earth from something awful. Maybe they even might involve Thanos, since it looks like this will be out before Avengers 2,

So who are the Guardians? Based on the concept art that Marvel revealed it looks like the team is the following:

  • Star-Lord: a human who winds up becoming an intergalactic police officer.
  • Gamora: Thanos’ adopted daughter who happens to be the most deadly woman in the Marvel Universe (think a lady version of Chuck Norris).
  • Groot: A humanoid living tree who debuted in Tales to Astonish long before the Fantastic Four.
  • Rocket Raccoon: An anthropomorphic raccoon with mastery of combat and military strategy.
  • Drax the Destroyer: A synthetic humanoid created to kill Thanos.

So yeah, it sounds like Thanos is going to be involved in this. Call it a hunch.

Anyway, this is a big gamble since it is going to be a movie featuring C and D list characters. No matter how great the film is, it’s going to be a harder sell to the public. Do you remember the last time you saw a Drax t-shirt? Me neither. I would assume they are banking on how well received the previous Marvel did. At the very least I hope I can get a stuffed Rocket Raccoon out of this.

As for the rest of the announcements:

  • Ant-Man will be directed by Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame). They even showed some test footage of it, which sadly hasn’t leaked out yet. Apparently they were super-strict about the no photography/videography rule.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier is slated for April 4, 2014 and pretty much confirms that Bucky will be back, turned into the Soviet killing machine. It’s reported that Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) is in negotiations to play the role of the Falcon, Cap’s sidekick/partner.
  • Thor: The Dark World comes out November 8, 2013. Just in time for Halloween!

Captain America: The First Avenger Movie Review..FINALLY!`

This Sunday I finally saw Captain America: The First Avenger. So what did I think?

I really enjoyed the film. It reminded me a lot of The Rocketeer, as both films may have been set in the 1940s but felt modern. This comparison makes a lot of sense, as both films were directed by Joe Johnston. What carried this film was Chris Evans, who made Steve Rogers super likable in the way that Christopher Reeve and Robert Downey Jr. respectively made Superman and Iron Man compelling characters. You really wanted to see Rogers succeed.

This version of Cap really hit home how much he loved America, whether it be him getting denied entrance into the army, or him being upset that he was created to be a super soldier and all he wad doing to help the war effort was being a fundraising mascot. And in the final scene of the movie, as he put aside his own life to make sure that Red Skull’s doom machine wound up crashing into the ocean around Newfoundland then destroying Manhattan.

I really like how they made Captain America show that you can be patriotic and selfless, without having to be an overbearing, flag waiving caricature of the American spirit. I’m sure this will help the movie be a success overseas.

Getting to the casting and characters, I enjoyed everyone else in the film. Hugo Weaving was a very maniacal Red Skull, and I love how they toyed with the big reveal of his disfigured face through the first half of the movie. Sebastian Stan’s Bucky was a great supporting character. Johnston did a good job showing the dynamic change between Steve and Bucky, as at first Bucky was the protector to the weaker Steve, and how that changed thanks to the Super Solier Serum. With Bucky’s off camera death, I wonder if he may return as Winter Soldier in a later film. Hayley Atwell and Tommy Lee Jones were also fun characters.

There was even a nice nod to fans of Timely Comics era Marvel, you can spot an android Human Torch Jim Hammond in the Stark Expo.

Anyway, the movie was fun, and it was a great way to connect-the-dots on how we get to the Avengers film. That hidden clip at the end officially starts my countdown. Check out Andrew over at ComicBookMarks and Todd Lyden who had some interesting opinions on the film.