Captain America Meets The Winter Soldier

tn_captainamerica2Okay, bad news first: CAPTAIN AMERICA TOO is pretty much Marvel’s post-action movie. It has a good action movie type of plot: Captain America finds out his agency S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, has to go on the run, has to figure out who he can trust and operate without his usual resources to uncover and defeat a vast conspiracy. He has to fight two different legendary warriors, both with some “just how badass is he?” buildup, and one of them even played by the great UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. The Captain gets continually chased and attacked by a crew of headset and vest wearing soldiers led by Frank Grillo of WARRIOR and THE GREY. There are many, many fight and chase scenes involving different fighting styles, fun acrobatics, various forms of transportation (motorcycle, SUV, robotic wings, helicarrier), weapons, super strength, super parkour, colorful technologies, interesting locations, clever gimmicks, epic destruction, badass dialogue and good character and plot motivation. Everything you want in a great action movie except…

acr_captainamerica2…yeah, you guessed it. Motherfuckers shot it like a TAKEN movie! Fights shot mostly close up, camera wobbling around, choppy editing. Sometimes they’ll throw in a wide shot and flirt with total action clarity, but don’t get too excited, they’re gonna muck it up. Even if they’re doing a long shot of Captain America running across a boat taking out everyone he encountersthey’re gonna wobble and put objects in the way so you feel like you almost have a good view but some guy that’s taller than you keeps getting in the way.

It’s certainly not the worst action you’ve ever seen, but it’s got just a quantum too much solace, if you know what I mean. You can tell there’s cool stuff going on, but you have to work for it. You have to kinda squint and think about it and you can mostly calculate what they’re doing. (I saw it in 2D, I imagine the fake 3D version is worse, but you tell me.)

To be fair, there aren’t alot of comic book movies outside of the BLADEs that have outstanding fight scenes, and DARK KNIGHT, the gold standard for comic book pictures, does a worse job (except for the great vehicle-related action). The action style of WINTER SOLDIER doesn’t sink it, it’s just a shame because it’s the only thing holding it back. It comes so close to capturing the type of thrilling, smart but crowd-pleasing summer movies I love from back in the T2 days.

If it was shot better this would probly be the best of the official non-Blade Marvel movies. Even so, I think only THE AVENGERS nudges it out. So it’s mostly good news here.

Captain America is also in the movie.

I like the sort-of-grounded approach to this: they use the fast pace and quippy style of THE AVENGERS, and the established super powers, but they back away from aliens and magic for the time being (the exception being an unfortunate mid-credits teaser that makes AVENGERS 2 look like a cross between the first GI JOE movie and that other Chris Evans super power movie PUSH). I like when they ditch the old super hero formula and stick comic book characters in a different type of movie. Kinda like DARK KNIGHT was a police procedural and THE WOLVERINE was an ’80s action vehicle, this puts Captain America and his S.H.I.E.L.D. co-workers into a spy movie. They say it’s a ’70s conspiracy thriller like THE PARALLAX VIEW, but there’s no Space Needle so it’s more like a funner BOURNE movie.

By the way, if I’m ever looking for a fugitive I promise you I will look exclusively at couples kissing at malls or in parks. We’ve seen this evasion technique in every man-on-the-run movie ever made. When the gunmen pass you gotta grab the person you’re next to (and not in a relationship with, but perhaps there is an unspoken sexual tension between you) and surprise them with a passionate kiss. Either that or you say “Put your arm around me and kiss me right now!” It always works. This is how Saddam Hussein hid out for so long, he was sneaking off to the mall for Panda Express, and he would have a girl with him in case troops went by on the other escalator. When they found him his spiderhole was full of used Orange Julius cups and greasy Annie’s Pretzels wrappers. Well I’m not gonna fall for it, you guys.

I don’t know why they used that one, but for the most part the movie cliches in WINTER SOLDIER are souped up Marvel style. A Captain America foot chase involves busting through doors, denting walls, leaping from tall buildings and flying vehicles. A Nic Fury street ambush involves a car that responds to voice commands and has the capability of hovering. It’s grounded but not stuck on the ground.

By the way, the Captain isn’t resting on his laurels, he’s definitely learned some new fighting styles since getting unfrozen, ’cause I know they weren’t doing Brazilian Jiujitsu moves in WWII.

You know what I noticed, I think this is the first Marvel movie to hint at the existence of racism. When Nic Fury tells a story about his grandfather’s life as an elevator operator it implies a racial or at least class division in the world. When he sees white cops eyeing him in his SUV later he definitely suspects he’s being racially profiled. We see in his face the deep resentment of a man whose family went in just two generations from the guy who pushes the up and down buttons for the rich people in the building to the guy in charge of the fuckin helicarriers, and yet still be looked at as a possible car thief. It’s kinda cool that the color-blind casting of Jackson could end up adding some motivation that wasn’t there when it was David Hasselhoff, as good as he was.

That’s just a sidebar, but the main story is very political. The Marvel producer guy says it’s a coincidence that the story questions S.H.I.E.L.D.’s pre-emptive strikes and disregard for civil liberties at a time when the Obama administration and intelligence agencies are being criticized for overreach like that in real life. (He has not said whether it’s a coincidence that they use a method similar to something I had in my book Niketown, available now, buy yours today.) It doesn’t matter, though. It adds a little real world applicability to their sci-fi world, and some MAGNUM FORCE style questioning of the ethics of the previous installment (THE AVENGERS). Remember that S.H.I.E.L.D. casually used the same type of spy device that was so ethically problematic in THE DARK KNIGHT that Lucius Fox would’ve resigned if Batman hadn’t voluntarily destroyed it after one use.

When they first cast Chris Evans as Captain America it seemed kind of weird, because he was known for playing arrogant douchebags, and was really good at it. But now I completely buy him as Mr. Likably Earnest Wholesomeness. I love that being Captain America does not mean blindly following the government, but staying true to his values even as a vast unamerican empire grows around him. He’s the one who always questions S.H.I.E.L.D.’s approach. Even when sent on a mission to save hostages from pirates, which could be a cut-and-dry case, he notes that it’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship so “they’re not off course, they’re trespassing.”

I think RJ MacReady makes a good point in the comments about SPOILERISH a late-movie reveal and how it puts the blame for sacrificing liberty for security on an evil other instead of on ourselves. I agree that it lessens the blow of the movie as a political statement, but at least the traitors don’t go all killer-in-a-SCREAM-movie and switch to maniacal ranting once they’ve been revealed. They make their arguments for their world view and seem to believe that they’re pragmatic good guys.

The titleastical Winter Soldier (SPOILER Sebastian Stan from THE COVENANT, the guy I thought was Casper Van Dien in the trailer for THE FIRST AVENGER) fortunately takes a back seat to those very human villains, and is allowed to have some mystery to him. It’s a good concept, but when he’s not fighting we find out he’s just a blank, a human weapon. Intentionally so, but since he never develops a personality he feels more like setup for the next one than deserving title character. Also, not the greatest hairdo in my opinion. But at least we finally know who that guy was on the roof in the alternate ending to BLADE.


Don’t throw your shield, Blade! He’s really good at catching stuff!

I didn’t really think about this until recently, but the Marvel movies don’t have any great villains. Team DC has The Joker (multiple interpretations), Two Face, Bane, Danny DeVito’s Penguin, Ross L. Ghoul and if you count Catwoman and even Zod is pretty cool and that girl he has with him. Archie Comics, for their part, has Jughead. But Marvel only has Loki. He’s the popular one, at least I’ve noticed women love him in that Benedict Cumberbatch kinda way. He was pretty good but three movies is more than enough. Red Skull was not great, Jeff Bridges was dumb when he turned bad, the Mandarin turned out to not be the Mandarin, and if there are other villains I don’t remember them except for my favorite one, the one that nobody else likes, Mickey Rourke in IRON MAN 2. And I like him because he’s a weird Mickey Rourke performance, not because he has robotic whip hands or whatever it was. I guess the only great Marvel villains on film are Magneto and my girl Mystique, not owned by Marvel Films.

Therefore it was smart for this one to not go for traditional comic book type villains, more like normal spy movie ones, snakes in suits and the well-armed soldiers who work for them. I guess Grillo is a guy from the comics named “Crossbones,” but he works fine as just a badass mercenary in Kevlar, one who keeps on coming after him like the fuckin coyote.

Although I don’t for a second buy the conventional nerd wisdom that Batman and Superman and everybody now have to follow this unprecedented “shared universe” strategy of serialization, THE WINTER SOLDIER really takes advantage of it. They’re able to drop characters in and out as they need to. It’s not like LETHAL WEAPON sequels where they feel they have to force every previous character in and give them a storyline, but when needed they have them in their arsenal. Therefore, Scarlett Johansson’s Detective Natasha Blackwidow (introduced in IRON MAN 2, improved in THE AVENGERS) gets to be co-lead and get her best showcase so far. Nick Fury (who has had cameos in most of the Marvel movies and a central role in THE AVENGERS) is important in this one and gets his first full on action sequence. Agent Maria “Hill of Beans” Hill (from THE AVENGERS) can show up just for a little bit and it’s exciting because we know what her significance is without her having to be in more than a few scenes.

They use all of them ’cause they fit, but they’re okay leaving other people out. It didn’t even occur to me until I read it somewhere that John Hawkeye wasn’t in this one, but I think you’re supposed to assume that any Marvel movie he’s not in he’s standing by watching from a cherrypicker like he was when he was introduced in THOR.


Like THE AVENGERS this is a Marvel movie not weighed down by origin stories. These characters have all been set up already, and they hit the ground running. Even the new guy, Anthony Mackie as (veteran guy who has robotic bird wings), is refreshingly unshackled by beginnings. He just has a natural way of meeting and becoming buddies with Captain America, and then he tells us “oh by the way, this is what I do, I have these bird wings.” It is immediately clear that the bird wings are not as useful as an Iron Man suit, and fortunately he’s able to prove himself still useful without them.

By the way, congratulations to Anthony Mackie on a legitimately good character. I always see him in things and he’s never bad but I always want to like him more than I’m able to muster. Here I actually look forward to seeing him again. Bonus points for introducing the youth of America to the TROUBLE MAN soundtrack and causing it to be used in an important montage.

In a way this Marvel approach takes some of the strengths of television and puts them into movies. There are things that happen here that have serious ramifications for the ongoing story that will effect not only the next CAPTAIN AMERICA but also THE AVENGERS 2, THreeOR, INCREDIBLE HULK HAWAIIAN STYLE and whatever else they’re working on. It makes the events meaningful in a different way than in the endings of most movies, but with more spectacle and production value than TV.

And it’s a spectacle all right, but when I think back on it the first thing my mind goes to is the intimate opening scene where Captain America meets Birdman on his morning jog. It’s funny and it’s very human but also he has super powers. Good ol’ Captain is humble enough to think he has to introduce himself. Then smokin hot Agent Blackwidow pulls up in a badass black Corvette Stingray and makes fun of him, and Birdman laughs like “ha ha, this fuckin guy and his lifestyle.”

That’s really the secret, these are very likable characters and they have a good chemistry and like to tease each other while fighting side by side. A serious movie but with natural laughs, and lots of flip-kicks and superpunches. Just get Tony Stark working on a steadier camera rig and we got gold here fellas.




If my warning about the action has you worried, here is a clip so you can see for yourself if it will bother you or not. This is an officially released clip of the beginning of CA’s fight with UFC’s MMA star GSP. You can see there are some nice head-to-toe shots mixed in, but in my opinion they need to hold those longer and not quickly jump to closeups. To be fair this also seemed worse on the big screen, so maybe if you like to sit in the back you’ll have an easier time with it than me.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 5th, 2014 at 11:47 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

176 Responses to “Captain America Meets The Winter Soldier”

  1. damn, that is a sexy ScarJo poster

  2. I loved it, and whilst I totally understand the your post-action gripe Vern, there was enough awesome stunt work and fight moves to satisfy me. Here’s hoping the Russo’s can shoot Cap 3’s action slightly cleaner but with the same badass furiosity.

    I do however have to disagree that TDK has great vehicular action. The main set-piece with Harvey Dent in the armoured truck is shockingly badly edited for geographic consistency and crossing the visual axis. Just because the camera work is steady does not mean the action is clear and concise. In order for action to be exciting the editing needs to have shots logically lead into one-another to communicate exactly what is happening, to whom, and where. TDK has amateur level action sequences in terms of visuals and editing imho.

    This video essay explains it better than I ever could: http://www.openculture.com/2011/12/anatomy_of_a_flawed_action_scene.html

  3. Sorry Vern, but if you think that clip is indicative of the film lacking in the ACR department, I think you might be getting REALLY hypersensitive to anything but complete utter steady cam shots that last less than 2 seconds in these things. I didn’t have any trouble at all following that, and I think it’s probably one of the clearest action scenes in the movie(though when he charges him through the door, I think it just screamed “This is a soundstage!”). Yeah, I think there may be a few unnecessary closeups in times during the movie’s action overall, but nothing that hinders my ability to tell what’s going on, and I don’t remember too much excessive shaky cam, and if there was, it was probably in a moment where it made sense(explosions). Not everything can be THE RAID of HAYWIRE(though most of the fight scenes in the latter were too short to really be given credit, in my view). I’ve seen other people have your criticisms though. Am I just adapting to the style? Am I further up on the Filmatism Interpretation Evolutionary Ladder than other people? I doubt it. When I see the movie again, I will try to be more critical though.

    Really loved the movie overall, and I think the twist was great. As I said in the other thread, I don’t think it weakens the theme at all because it was still “us” that let the evil in in the first place and let it lead us this far.

    Griff- Really? You into girls with arms that are as long as their legs, and heads that are about as wide as their waists?

  4. Another thing about that clip: I like how the MCU movies manage to make some of the sillier characters more viable for this universe (though the “Solider/Agent” origin is getting a little old hat by now. Hopefully with what this movie does at the end we’ll start to see more crimefighter origins), and one example is with GSP’s character. In the comics, he’s also a mercenary, but he’s got the name “Batroc The Leaper” because he does jump around a lot. He’s just Batroc here, but he’s still fairly acrobatic. Similarly, Grillo’s got an X across his chest as a reference to him being Crossbones in the comics(though I don’t think it would have been that weird to just say “Crossbones” was his SHIELD codename).

  5. I was sitting back-row for TWS, and had no problem with the action. I’ve seen much worse.

    Maybe being back row helped.

    Why, just last week I got stuck three rows from the fuckin front(not by choice, I got off work early and turned up to a packed matinee session on pensioner day – never again), watching a certain water themed epic, and my enjoyment was severely dampened(ha fuckin ha) by my seat position.

  6. Darren – Distance from the screen can most certainly help. Jesus, I sat at front row seat at DIE HARD 5. That was NO fun for my eyeballs.

  7. Dikembe Mutombo

    April 6th, 2014 at 7:17 am


    Pretty on point, Vern. This was a really satisfying movie for me. I loved that they not only gave Fury some badass things to do finally, but Sam Jackson actually had some acting to do in this as well. I also dug the racial subtext you pointed out. This kind of movie is more up my alley than the other Marvels – espionage thriller with brutal action and great cast chemistry, and it’s thematically juicy as well.

    And the secret sauce is the dash of comic book craziness that makes you laugh at how ridiculous it is instead of groaning at its goofiness (a fine line) – stuff like Zola in the computer or Robert Redford croaking “Hail Hydra” right before dying (I still can’t get over that one). This guy sitting behind me started laughing at the shot where Fury puts on shades and a hoodie and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing too, but in a good “I love the movie for going there” kind of way. If someone told me beforehand that Garry Shandling whispers “hail hydra” into someone’s ear, with a closeup of his weird fish lips as he says it, I would’ve bought my ticket on the spot.

    In that clip you posted, that’s when I was pretty sure I was gonna really like the movie. Cap not only understands French but we get to see him operating by his Badass Code early on, abandoning his shield and showing his face to Batroc so they can fight fair.

    Falcon is a neat new character and I really liked Mackie but it bugged me how eagerly he made himself Cap’s sidekick. I’d rather see them as partners. It just made me a little uncomfortable how eagerly he subordinated himself to Cap.

    The post-action didn’t bother me that much in this one, though I definitely agree that the camera should’ve been pulled back and jiggled less. I think some mitigating factors were that the choreography was clearly incredibly cool, and like you say they do mix in some wider establishing shots for variety. I even accepted the editing style because the idea was to make these guys look faster than they really are.

    Where you sit in the theater does make a difference though. In a weird way that’s why I actually appreciate action scenes the most in youtube form (except youtube doesn’t have a packed theater of excited people cheering and getting into it). I sat near the front for TWS though and I didn’t feel the difference as badly as I expected.

    My favorite action scene was the one on overpass leading up to The Winter Soldier’s identity being revealed. It has a lot of nicely done visual storytelling moments, some cool cat and mouse stuff, great stunts, actually has a well done shootout (those are rare), and of course a brutal and badass fight scene between Cap and Winty leading up to a great dramatic moment when the mask comes off. Winter Soldier ended up being a pretty cool villain in my opinion, I really liked the way he takes his time sauntering around in battle and I liked some of the sympathetic notes they had in there. I wanted more of him, which I guess is the idea since he’ll probably be in the sequel.

    (I also loved Frank Grillo’s “This is gonna hurt…” mini-speech just before fighting Falcon (I wanted more of that fight). I’m assuming he’s gonna be back too, in scarred and burnt form. Grillo in my opinion could instantly be one of the best tough guy action stars around if someone put him in the right vehicle, ie. something mean and spare. His sleazy looks make him an easier casting choice as a bad guy though, apparently. I mentioned this in the other CAPTAIN AMERICA thread but if they ever do another Punisher movie he should be at the top of the list to star. You definitely believe him as a guy who loves to hurt people.)

  8. So I take it that it wasn’t as good as CAPTAIN AMERICA MEETS THE WOLFMAN?

  9. I admit when I saw the trailers and read the interviews by the directors I was worried that there would be too much shaky cam but for it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There’s some but for the most part it was actually better than the last Bourne movie(with Matt Damon) and I was able to follow a lot of it, including during the best set piece, the attack on the overpass and the first fight with the Winter Soldier. Honestly though the fight in the movie that I still loved the most involved Jenny Agutter from LOGAN’S RUN and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON!

  10. It was a very fun movie that definitely did not lose an ounce of steam. The only time it actually did so, was when it maybe got too serious for its own good. But then it picked itself right back up from there and moved on. Nice review Vern.

  11. Loved that the quote on Fury’s tombstone was “The path of the righteous man…” – Ezekiel 25:17

  12. You know, when I saw this in the theater I walked out thinking this was one of the best filmed action movies I’d seen in a while. Not The Raid quality, but pretty damn good for an American big budget film. Now, yours is the third review I’ve read complaining about the film’s action scenes being poorly shot. As an action flick aficionado, I’m wondering what it was I missed and why. Well, now I have an excuse to go see it a second time.

  13. Really dug this one as well, but couldn’t disagree with you more on the ACR. But then I never thought that a movie like Taken ranked amongst the Bourne’s and Quantums. Which is to say, that as much as the shaky-cam approach is abused by complacent hacks, it can be done effectively, even spectacularly. It’s funny, cause when I think about it, I’ve never seen a foot chase on Cops (ya know, with its ACTUAL run-n-gun, in the thick of it documetary footage) that was as incoherent as any of the fight scenes in Batman Begins. So with that said, I’d rank Cap2 just below Saving Private Ryan for all time spectacular shaky-cam greats. I was feelin this one so much friendo, I wanted to strap Joe Johnston, Chris Nolan, the Thor 1&2, and Daredevil directors, and all the rest to a chair in front of a monitor playing this movie, and yell at them what I literally couldn’t contain myself from blirting out in the theater: THAT’s WHAT THE HELL SUPERHERO FIGHTS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE!!!

  14. The Original... Paul

    April 6th, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Michaelangelo – was my forum comment one of the previous three? ‘Cause if not, make that four. The last action sequence lost me – I didn’t understand what the heck was going on for the majority of the time. As I pointed out in the forums, I completely missed how exactly Cap transferred between the three ships at the end – he’d have had to have made at least two traversals there. That confused me completely because I didn’t realise until after the fact that he was actually going to each motherboard in turn.

    I agree with Vern on just about every point here except that I don’t rate the movie as highly. To me it’s clearly below the Thors and even a step below the Iron Mens of this world, although it is better in every way than the previous “Cap” movie, and I also preferred it to “The Avengers”.

    I made a point similar to this in the forums as well:

    “I think RJ MacReady makes a good point in the comments about SPOILERISH a late-movie reveal and how it puts the blame for sacrificing liberty for security on an evil other instead of on ourselves.”

    I agree, although I’d take it a step further: why THAT particular evil other? If the blame was on “SHIELD” solely, which it may as well be, it’s clearly an American Government surrogate, or at least (since SHIELD is supposedly international, although that only translates to a couple of dodgy accents in the movies) a part of society that’s been largely accepted by the American people.

    Cap is definitely better in this one. He’s no longer a suicidal maniac or a moralising asshole. Unfortunately he doesn’t have any other strong defining characteristic either, so he gets kinda boring. I would’ve loved to have seen him from the outside point of view of somebody who went through much of the same stuff as he did but didn’t get the fanfare, the superpowers, etc. And for a while it seems that we’ll get that point of view – honestly I think the person who provides it is probably the best character in the movie – but then it turns out that that person was actually in a secret government program, etc, so bang goes that idea. Which is a great pity. The character was a hella lot more interesting when he wasn’t also a supersoldier. Also, freaking wings? That allow him to dodge homing missiles? I know that “suspension of disbelief” goes to different lengths for different people, but come the fuck on.

    This should’ve been a “Black Widow” movie. She gets the more interesting character arcs, the most crucial moral decision, and honestly seems like a far more interesting character (plus, let’s face it, she looks a lot better in a curve-clinging bodysuit). This aspect of the movie really frustrated me. I felt as though there was a more interesting story going on than the one we were actually seeing. What does she go through when she makes the decision that she does near the end of the movie? What kind of stuff does she have to “let go”? She’s basically reversing her entire life’s work, as she herself explicitly says. That couldn’t have been easy to do. We barely see any of her struggle with this, we don’t see what she goes through. Instead we get Cap. And while Cap is not insufferable, as he previously has been, and Chris Evans’ charm does come through – he’s just not that interesting a character.

    My favorite character moment with Cap was his “list” of stuff he might have missed from all the time he was frozen. I kinda wish we’d seen more moments like that. I was happy with what we got there though. If they’d have focussed on his “out of time”-ness a little more, I think it might have made the character a bit more interesting. It would certainly have given a little more context to the moral confusion he goes through in the early part of the movie.

    “The Winter Soldier” was definitely still a “miss” for me, but it was also leagues better than the first “Captain America” movie, and a better experience overall than “The Avengers”. It’s the first time Cap’s appeared in a movie where I didn’t find him completely insufferable, so that’s a huge plus. I can understand people liking this more than I did. Personally if I saw this in a vacuum I’d say that it’s for fans of the characters only, but hell, enough people have enjoyed it who aren’t fans to disprove that. It’s still just ok.

    Also I liked Mickey Rooney in “Iron Man 2”. At least he was memorable, which is more than can be said for just about any of the other villains of that series. And by the way, the main villain in “Captain America 2” isn’t quite as bad as Red Skull (poor Hugo Weaving!) but he’s still pretty much a charisma vaccuum. The actor who plays him just isn’t cut out for that kind of role IMO.

  15. The Original... Paul

    April 6th, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Oh, and once again Vern and I are completely in agreement over the action. Here’s my take from the forums:

    “I’d rate it a 2.5 to 3 on the “action comprehensibility” scale.”

    Vern gives it a 2.9. It’s like we share the same brain! (We don’t.)

  16. The Original... Paul

    April 6th, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Ok, third comment in a row… one other little bit of this new movie that I kinda loved… there’s a beautiful little nod to the first “Captain America” movie (not the recent one, the one from the 1980s that flopped) and the fact that the Captain America of that movie spent most of it committing vehicular theft. There were also a couple of other nice references that I spotted to previous movies – hell, even one to “The Rocketeer” – that made me chuckle but never took me “out of the movie” in, say, the same way as the “yellow spandex” reference in the original “X-Men” movie.

    (What went wrong in the X-Men movie – they had the characters in the movie snigger at the “yellow spandex” reference themselves. Just in case any particularly stupid viewers didn’t “get it”. Yeah, that pretty much destroyed any immersion that that scene had. “The Winter Soldier” does not make the same mistake. The jokes are never forced on the viewer’s attention.)

    People who were as annoyed as I was by the last “Cap” movie’s orchestral score (in which every time Cap so much as raises a hand, it’s accompanied by an obnoxious orchestral flourish) will be relieved to know that “The Winter Soldier” largely dumps it by the wayside. Much better scoring in this new one.

    Ok, I think that’s all.

  17. Easily 2nd best movie made by Marvel after the Avengers. 4th best Marvel movie after The Avengers, Spider-Man 2, and Blade. Thing is this is only the second best action movie I saw this weekend and I’m glad I saw this first because the action can’t hold up to The Raid 2 in any way. After watching the Raid 2 I realized there’s never any real feeling of danger in these movies. It takes away from the action, on top of the fact that some of the action is hard to see.

  18. The Original... Paul

    April 6th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Yeah, “The Raid 2” comes here at the end of this week. The trailers look freakin’ awesome by the way. I hope the movie lives up to them. Another “Raid” movie but with a much-widened scope – I’m absolutely down for that.

    Now if they only didn’t put “Sabotage”‘s UK release back until the middle of fuckin’ May…?!!

    “Blade” was a Marvel movie? I wouldn’t have guessed that one. I guess they must’ve had the logo at the start but I’ve never noticed it.

  19. I think Vern’s AC rating is pretty fair, but I didn’t have a problem following the action, especially compared with Quantum of Solace or Greengrass’ movies. I did think the shaky cam made things hard to follow more than the editing itself, but that was more in the non-fight scenes. Sometimes the quick edits during the fights made the violence that much more brutal, more brutal than I was expect from Captain America, but I don’t know what his code of ethics are, say, compared to Batman who doesn’t kill.

    The movie was fucking killer, and I can’t believe that Captain America, a character I didn’t care at all when I used to read comics religious during most of the 80’s, is having the best transition to screen. When the movie ended, I wanted more. I hope Captain American 3 isn’t too far away.

  20. Knox Harrington

    April 6th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Ross L. Ghoul!

    I can’t stop laughing.

  21. Knox Harrington

    April 6th, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I have to kind of agree, but mostly disagree, with you on the editing of THE DARK KNIGHT’s armoured truck sequence, Dirk.

    Yes, the action axis gets crossed quite a bit. That’s a modern cinema editing “sin” that has become so commonplace that audiences are noticing it less and less. It’s almost an aesthetic choice these days (and not in the good way, like in something like POINT BLANK). I’m not a fan of it myself, because it has become an excuse for lazy or incompetent filmmakers to defend their shitty technique, but there are many instances where the visual axis can justifiably and successfully be crossed. I think in this case it was employed to support the intentional geographic confusion that the sequence initially plays on.

    The reason I think it was intentional is the excellent pacing and rhythm of this sequence. They used the old Hitchcock technique of cutting just before each shot hits its natural action peak, just before you think something should happen. It’s a great old editing style that rarely gets used these days and is so damn effective at building tension and anticipation. When I saw it the first time I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like seeing a dying art resurrected.

    Film editing has become so shitty over the last decade or two. A hundred years of experience and then gradually filmmakers just stopped giving a shit about cutting their films properly. I’m sure the crazy post-production schedules of movies these days is a big part of the problem. There are still a few great editors around (the best one working today being Dylan Tichenor, who cut THERE WILL BE BLOOD, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES, MAGNOLIA and ZERO DARK THIRTY), but the days of truly advanced, smart editing like the kind seen in films like MALCOLM X seem to have gone the way of the Dodo.

    Anyway, I think the editing in Nolan’s films can be very hit-and-miss, but I really believe that sequence works beautifully.

  22. Dikembe Mutombo

    April 6th, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    That’s a cool post, Knox. I only recently started paying attention to the editing in movies and my understanding of the art is rudimentary at best. Sometimes I think “maybe this scene should’ve come before the last one” and that’s like it.

  23. I didn’t really have a problem with the action. There are quick cuts and close shots, but the Russo Bros made it work. I always knew what was going on and they did a good job when it came to HARD HITS and IMPACT.

  24. Vern – I have to agree with Stu here. For post-action, its pretty well done post-action. Then again my standards for post-action-y mayhem at its worst is like HUNGER GAMES where I’m wholly engaged in the narrative, only for the bad shakey cam to completely take me out of the movie.

    wadew – yeah remember that shot of Cap getting kicked (I think?) off the bridge and falling into that bus, and then the bus rolls over? You know for a split second, I thought “how the fuck did they pull that stunt sequence off?!?” Of course I quickly obviously realized that it was mix of stunts and cutting, but yeah kudos to any movie that can fool me into believing something so absurd.

    Original Paul – You know after TWS, I actually wouldn’t mind a Black Widow spin-off. I mean those movies have hinted hard about her awful past, so lets see it finally.

  25. TWS opened in China to $39 million, a record for Marvel. I bring this up because I remember years ago there was a debate online whether Cap would work as a franchise movie character, considering you’re asking foreigners to pay to go see a walking U.S. flag. (This debate was legitimate especially in the Dubya years.) Shit remember Marvel gave foreign distributors an alternate title (“The First Avenger”) if they wanted to forego the “America” title.

    Seems silly now in retrospect, don’t it?

    Anyway what impresses me is that for a movie (mostly) about being grounded in its action, they also play up Cap’s super strength and speed and shit. Like….that’s a fucking paradox, and yet the Russo somehow found a way to make it all work.

    Then again, only in retrospect does it seem obvious, but that 1st act to build up Cap (and ScarJo for that matter) is also so that when these guys confront Winter Soldier….you’re impressed by how much trouble all 3 heroes have against TWS, who’s a fucking beast. (did Mackie fight him? I don’t remember honestly.) I mean hell at one point, I must say, I thought ScarJo was lunchmeat in her fight with him. Yeah you can understand now why she’s scared of him.


    Dikembe Mutombo – Its funny you bring up Redford, the Cap 2 scriptwriters said somewhere that they were surprised that he was willing to say those two little words. Apparently Redford had leeway when it came to dialogue and in fact had alot of his lines deleted (especially in the 3rd act apparently) but not that one line. The guys were stoked that they got a guy like Redford to say such “silly words.” I like how he was Oscar acting that moment.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but was this the first time that Redford actually played a villain?

    I’m thinking of all the big name actors out there, who’s left that haven’t done of these comic booky movies? Only one that comes to my mind is Meryl Streep. Who else?

    Vern – eh I disagree with MacReady simply because during that scheme unveiling, I had a spooky powerful moment when Digital Toby Jones more or less said that Hydra was behind 9/11 and the Patriot Act. I mean I thought “well of fucking course!” For a comic book fantasy, its always good when you absolutely BUY the premise.

  26. “Falcon is a neat new character and I really liked Mackie but it bugged me how eagerly he made himself Cap’s sidekick. I’d rather see them as partners. It just made me a little uncomfortable how eagerly he subordinated himself to Cap.”

    Dikembe – That didn’t bother me at all. Rememeber one of the movie’s themes was the fact that Cap was basically living in the shadow of his own legend. (Remember that RDJ line in AVENGERS? “A super soldier who actually lives up to the legend.”) What I’m trying to say is that Mackie is a soldier and…he’s a groupie for Cap.

    BTW I like how Mackie is a regular guy who by luck and circumstances and his own unique talent is now a superhero too. Not a freak or lab-accident or billionaire.

  27. RRA: Daniel Day-Lewis wasn’t in a comic book movie yet. And if you don’t count ROCKY & BULLWINKLE (which of course was based on a cartoon show and not a comic book), neither was DeNiro. Or Al Pacino (Although both were in Adam Sandler movies!) Also the Sandler-free Dustin Hoffman. I’m pretty sure sooner or later Tom Hanks and Kate Winslet will show up in one and maaaaaaaaybe even Denzel Washington and Sean Penn.

  28. In season 4 BUFFY had a little bit of fun with the whole kissing couple disguise.

  29. Now that you mention it, I also remember a pretty funny kissing-couple-disguise gag on THE SIMPSONS, around 10 years ago.

  30. CJ – Pacino did DICK TRACY, which was based off a comic strip of course. He even got an Oscar nod for it. Hoffman was in that movie too, if I remember right. Tom Hanks allegedly was offered Lex Luthor for BVS but passed. Winslet just did DIVERGENT, so that’s possible.

    Anyway I remember reading a rumor about what CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 would supposedly be about weeks before TWS came out, and now it came back to my mind after TWS’s release.


    Basically Cap 3 will be a West Coast Avengers movie. (In the comics at one point, the Avengers team got so big that it was spit into two that are based on both American coasts.) Here’s some food for thought:

    *Falcon is clearly in Cap orbit now, so that’s another member.
    *If War Machine is finally made a fucking Avenger, that’s another.
    *in AVENGERS 2, they’ll get new members in Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Vision. Or 9 members if I remember right. 11 if you count Falcon and War Machine. Bigass team.
    *Apparently Tony Stark has moved to NYC (after Gandhi blew his Malibu house up) to Stark Tower, remodeled it and renamed it Avengers Tower with big-ass Avengers “A” on the side. (Its seen briefly in the targeting sequence in TWS.) The rumor claimed that Cap would run the West Coast team while Iron Man runs Avengers East.
    *Same rumor claimed that Masters of Evil (or a variation of it) would be the adversaries in Cap 3….and consider that TWS introduced three new baddies in Batroc and Crossbones and Baron von Strucker (who I guess runs Hydra now.)
    *Here’s my thought: I would be shocked if Red Skull doesn’t come back for Cap 3. And yeah considering how Red Skull and Strucker in the comics were Hydra rivals…oh boy, Hydra civil war!

  31. Man, I hope they decide to quietly ditch the fuckin Baron guy like they did the “Loki is disguised as a scientist” end credits scene from THOR. And the entire movie of THE INCREDIBLE HULK. And Terrance Howard. I know the teaser scenes are usually not as good as the actual movies, but that guy seriously seemed like the mad scientist from GI JOE or at best the big brained guy from GREEN LANTERN. Cartoonish German guy is not gonna be the one to break the Marvel villain curse.

  32. Right, I always keep forgetting DICK TRACY for any reason.

  33. Uhm, excuse me. Dylan Tichener is indeed a fine editor, but I think the best editor working today is still Thelma Schoonamaker. With some close competition from Walter Murch.

  34. The Original... Paul

    April 7th, 2014 at 3:44 am

    CJ – don’t blame yourself. Who the heck remembers “Dick Tracy”? (Sorry, makers of Dick Tracy.)

  35. Why the DICK TRACY hate all of a sudden? Is that the new thing?

  36. The Original... Paul

    April 7th, 2014 at 3:50 am

    “Man, I hope they decide to quietly ditch the fuckin Baron guy like they did the “Loki is disguised as a scientist” end credits scene from THOR.”

    Vern – I WISH they’d have ditched that. My impression of that scene wasn’t actually that Saarsgard was a disguised Loki; I thought instead that it was setting up a twist where he gets mind-controlled by Loki in some way. Which is exactly what happened in “The Avengers” (which was easily the worst decision in any of the Marvel movies so far, by the way. I wasn’t a huge fan of “The Avengers” but that was the only thing about it that I positively disliked, other than Cap of course. Saarsgard is IMO the best character in the series, and that’s what you do with him? Not freakin’ cool!)

  37. The Original... Paul

    April 7th, 2014 at 3:52 am

    Shoot – not really. I didn’t hate Dick Tracy but I do remember thinking that it put more effort into creating a weird arts style than it did in really doing very much with the characters. I think the girl had an interesting arc, but it wasn’t played very well? Anyway, it’s a while since I saw it but I don’t remember it being particularly memorable.

  38. The Original... Paul

    April 7th, 2014 at 3:54 am

    “I don’t remember it being particularly memorable”.

    Sometimes I should just take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard. Isn’t it time somebody invented something that guards people who post on internet forums from doing shit like this?

  39. The original coloring book (DICK TRACY) was never really that special outside it´s art work and odd characters.It was just a daily strip. I remember reading a collection of those and liked it though. But then again, I have a soft spot for tough 1940´s private eyes in urban noirish environments.

  40. Knox Harrington

    April 7th, 2014 at 4:24 am

    JD, I was kind of talking about the newer generation. My wording should have been more accurate.

    But yeah, you’re absolutely right, Schoonmaker and Murch are legends.

  41. Spoilers… I still think that they had planned all along to have Redford reveal himself as the Red Skull until they simply could not get Hugo Weaving to come back. Seemed incredibly obvious, no?

  42. I liked this movie very much.
    But there was one detail that I found particulary funny.

    When cap and black widow seek shelter at falcons place
    Scarlett mentions that she apperently traded the kgb for hydra.
    This had me laughing because in the film they also mention
    That she was Born in 1984. Soo she was a seven year old kgb agent?
    Does such a thing even exist?
    They probably just used the famous kgb monniker instead if what it is actually called these days but still..

  43. The Original... Paul

    April 7th, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Jos – considering who the main villains work for, I think it’s safe to say that the KGB could very well still exist in Cap’s world.

  44. Paul, if I remember right, many people said the original cut of DICK TRACY ran something like 2 1/2 hours, which would explain many of the movie’s flaws.

  45. Vern- Why are you so against silly villains in silly Superhero movies, but you have an appreciation for eccentric/silly villains in “normal” action movies, such as Jean Vilain in EXPENDABLES 2, or Nic Cage in…well just about anything? And the Baron seems a lot more grounded a villain than the Red Skull. He just wears a monocle(that might be a prescription!) and speechifies, and is played by a guy who can actually act.

  46. Wouldn’t it be like if I saw a trailer for a ninja movie and said “I hope they ditch the pajamas and the blow guns and just wear normal camo gear and use guns with silencers”?

  47. The Original... Paul

    April 7th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Stu – I’ve watched two Captain America movies featuring Red Skull, and I still don’t have a clue who he is or what motivates him (other than “Nazis are BAD. Also, science is BAD. Unless it’s used on suicidal douchebags, apparently.”) Honestly I think both of those two movies were pretty terrible – again, “Winter Soldier” is the best Cap movie by miles – but I do feel sorry for Hugo Weaving. I think he can act just fine, I just don’t think he had anything to work with. He’s a set of mission parameters. “Red Skull” is totally uncharismatic, he never really shows any great leadership skills or even competence, but we’re supposed to believe that an entire army has enough faith in him to be willing to double-cross both the might of the German army and the allied forces. I mean, really?

    But not every villain needs a backstory or a specific motivation (hell, look at the Joker). Just give me SOMETHING to work with here. Some personality, some cause, some mission beyond “We’re gonna take over the world!” I honestly think the character who turns out to be the main villain in “Winter Soldier” would’ve been a lot more interesting if he HADN’T been a hypocrite – if the stuff he was saying to Cap early on had actually been true. His friend is killed, and suddenly he’s willing to tear up the rulebook to take his revenge for it. And if innocent people die in the process, he’ll live with it.

    Just like I think Falcon would’ve been a lot more interesting a character if he’d have been a “wounded soldier” figure – he’s been through hell but, unlike Cap, he has no super soldier powers and no glory coming his way. He starts off this way at the PTSD help group (who are never seen again), but all that’s forgotten when he gets his wings back. I thought that was a real shame. The guy could’ve provided an interesting alternative perspective to what’s going on, but instead he becomes just another Cap lackey.

  48. “Just like I think Falcon would’ve been a lot more interesting a character if he’d have been a “wounded soldier” figure – he’s been through hell but, unlike Cap, he has no super soldier powers and no glory coming his way. He starts off this way at the PTSD help group (who are never seen again), but all that’s forgotten when he gets his wings back. I thought that was a real shame. The guy could’ve provided an interesting alternative perspective to what’s going on, but instead he becomes just another Cap lackey.”
    God, no. Can’t a guy just be a good guy because…he’s a good guy? Does everything have to be a redemption story(IRON MAN, THOR) or be motivated by some gritty pain or tragedy([REDACTED])? I never got the sense he had PTSD or anything majorly wrong (though obviously having been to war he’s different than before he went) just that he was being there for his comrades because he knows people who have it rougher than him. Aren’t there plenty of actual veterans like that in real life that we can just make the basis for these sorts of cool characters with dignity and admirable qualities? Not to mention IRON MAN THREE explored that uglier side to war with the Extremis test subjects and soldiers being soldiers who’d suffered brutal injuries and Tony’s PTSD type mental state.

  49. The Original... Paul

    April 7th, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    “God, no. Can’t a guy just be a good guy because…he’s a good guy?”

    But that’s exactly it. I think I put too much emphasis on the PTSD in the post above, just because that’s the kind of habitat that Falcon inhabits. I don’t mean I think he was a good character because of the PTSD-thing or anything. If that hadn’t been a part of it, I STILL would’ve preferred Falcon’s character at the start of the film because he provides a completely different viewpoint of Cap (and I don’t think Cap has enough personality to carry a movie on his own – he needs these alternative viewpoints.)

    But I would’ve liked to have seen Cap from the point of view of somebody who’d been through the wars but who hadn’t had the fame, glory, etc. This needn’t necessarily be a “damaged” character, although that seemed to be what they were initially going for (and it certainly shouldn’t have been a jealous one – that would’ve sucked.)

    I just thought that everything that was interesting about Falcon pretty much disappeared the moment he became “just another super soldier”. We’ve seen how many others at that point in the film, four or five? (Plus the annoying troop leader character who kept hanging around despite Cap having handed his ass to him on a plate in the first third of the movie anyway – I’m honestly not sure if he’s supposed to be “super” or not. One of the late scenes suggested they’d bring that guy back. I don’t know why anybody would want this to happen.) But anyway, up until the point that he gets his wings, Falcon was pretty much the most interesting character in the movie. But instead of developing the stuff that really made him interesting, they just had him turn into the loyal black friend (who happens to have wings). It’s an old stereotype, and I think the character deserved better than to turn into that.

  50. Good flick, well done, shaky action though maybe because the CG on Cap looked blurry at times.
    The most interesting Cap villian for me would have to be Nuke.
    Basically the flipside of Cap. A super soldier created for the Vietnam war who loves America and his fellow soldiers but becomes disillusioned that they had to pull out of Vietnam without “victory” and how he was treated when he came home. He’s ripped, paints a flag on his face, takes uppers, and destroys shit.
    He’s only been in a few comics though so maybe doesn’t have the fandom.
    This sort of nemesis could really work, dealing with fallout from Nam and America fighting controversial wars for the past 50 years.

  51. Speaking of Dick Tracy, the current comic strip by Stanton/Curtis might be one of my personal favorite comics going out there today. The artwork is great, the crime-noir storytelling is fun, it has nice gratuitous violence for an American comic strip (my favorite? Shoveling hot coal at a baddie’s face), and the current artists have dug back into DT’s most whacktastic mythology like Tracy’s daughter-in-law who came from the Moon.

    Take a look, or look at the archives over at Comics Curmudgeon.


    CJ Holden – I remember back a few years ago Disney was going to put out the director’s cut for DICK TRACY on DVD, but that plan fell apart. Then several years ago Beatty sued somebody over the film rights, which he wanted back or was owed or something. Don’t remember if anything came from that.

    You know its funny but what I rememebrmost about DT isn’t the movie at all, but the whole hoopla and marketing blitz around it as a kid. It was like Disney was trying to make happen like what happened with BATMAN the year before…but didn’t really pay off. (Weirdly enough DT and the first Burton movie, I put them both on the same level. OK films at best, with some very nice elements.)

    Original Paul – Man I’m with you on the last Thor movie, but I’m not with you on TWS. Yes instead of giving Falcon a cliche, you propose to give him instead…a cliche. Again as I said before, I liked that Falcon was just a regular dude that by fate and circumstance happened to kick ass with the Avengers. And the talent he used to kick ass didn’t come from a lab accident or whatever. I find that mundane quality charming within this world of everybody a freak or billionaire or test subject or super spy or whatever.

    Darth Brooks – Not a bad idea. You can even transform Nuke from a Vietnam vet to an Iraqi (or Afghan) vet. Sure you don’t have the victim of “babykiller!” taunts, but he still would be the victim of a war that most Americans quite frankly ignored.

    I wonder if Marvel ever will go through with the “Black Captain America” storyline from the books?

  52. Stu: I’m not against silly villains, I’m just against that villain because he sucks, at least as presented in the scene. They just completely got us with this great movie and then they go “Yeah, you think THAT’S cool… what about a generic German evil scientist in a basement pointing to the same fuckin magic wand from the previous movie? BOO YAA MOTHERFUCKERS.”

    In retrospect it makes me appreciate that “Space Liberace” scene from THOR 2, where at least you can imagine the character could be interesting after Del Toro gets more time to work on him.

  53. Wait, Vern is recanting his rant on that TDW credits scene? Wow. Which is weird because if alot of nerds hated that TDW scene, Vern is the first one I’ve found online who hated that TWS scene. One must rememeber that these Marvel credits scenes are pretty much porn for nerds. They’re baffling for everybody else. I like how with TWS and AVENGERS and TDW, these scenes are about the bad guys and the shit they’re planning without the heroes even aware of what they’re doing or that they even exist. I mean Cap right now is worried about Hydra, but Thanos is collecting his Infinity stones and if he’s the baddie in AVENGERS 3 then Hydra and Ultron are fucking kittens compared to that lion.

  54. You must be getting over-excited by all this comic book nerdery, RRA, because I can’t understand what the hell you are saying.

  55. Dude, there’s a Newman’s Own jar in Redford’s fridge.

    Best Easter Egg Ever?

  56. I didn’t have any problem following the action in this, but did sometimes feel like I was inferring what might have been a nice/compelling image through implication. Like someone here said about Elysium: A Cool Thing is happening so why aren’t I getting some iconic keyframes where I can see the impressive toughdude stuff with clarity–for more than a sixth of a second–and get excited about it? This is literally a SUPER HERO movie so where are my hero shots?

    I do wonder if some of the shot/editing selections were motivated by most of the violence being down-to-earth human beings shoot/stab/shieldslam other human beings stuff? Avengers could have some full-frame headshots and Hulk ripping parts off of giant alien wormthings which are then used to cut open the wormthings, because they were fighting fictional aliens and the mpaa will give a movie with 19 graphic orc decapitations, etc. a PG-13.

    When the longer cut of the last Wolverine was released, it turned out a lot of the violence cuts were accomplished by cropping/zooming so whatever the claws were cutting/stabbing was just out of frame. Maybe some slightly too-close, too-quickly-panned framing was the only way they could have violence this crunchy and still hit their target rating?

    Favorite bit was Mackie’s grunt/scream when he caught Cap’s hand and dragged him through the air until he could be dropped. Nice little acknowledgement this was just an accomplished normal dude w/ shoulders not made for casually hauling huge slabs of super-soldier beef in a setting where the elastic invincibility of superfolk tends to bleed into the just-folks. He still gets his share, but it’s the little things?

  57. I doubt the Baron guy is going to have a big role in Avengers 2. I don’t have any inside knowledge or anything, but I feel like I can make an educated guess based on the context of that scene and the fact that James Spader has been cast to play Ultron, in a film called The Age of Ultron. So since the Baron guy is not the titular villain, and since the two people he has prisoner are unlikely to spend most of the movie as prisoners, my bet is is he’s taken out very early.

  58. I have a feeling that when they finally make the Avengers movie about the space monster guy on the asteroid who collects magic crystals is gonna be when these movie fall out of favor with the mainstream. Or at least that does not sound like a movie I want to ever see, but it took me a while to warm up to the talking raccoon, so maybe they know what they’re doing.

  59. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 8th, 2014 at 1:26 am

    I agree on the lameness of the TWS mid-credits scene. I’ve known for a while that this Von Strucker guy would be in the early part of Avengers 2 and although the character sounded generic and dull to me, I was trusting that Whedon would find a way to make him interesting or at least funny. But then he went and cast Thomas Kretschmann, possibly the blandest actor alive, so now I’m just hoping that the movie will get better once he’s taken out within the first 20 minutes.

    As for Avengers 3 when Thanos finally comes out to play, again it’s because of my huge trust in Whedon that I think he’ll crank out another great film. But the thought of having to sit through at least 3 or 4 more movies where the core of the story is ANOTHER magic rock/jewel thing with mysterious and unexplained CGI powers makes me want to cry a little bit. It’s the only thing that’s ever so slightly dampening my enthusiasm for Guardians Of The Galaxy: the fact that again it’s all about some fucking magic rock mcguffin.

  60. If they can make Guardians of the Galaxy palatable then I don’t think there’s a ceiling to how weird or “nerdy” they get. A “space monster” is just another way of saying “alien,” after all, and the mainstream doesn’t have a huge problem accepting aliens. The Star Wars and Star Trek movies do pretty well for themselves. A snarky talking raccoon and his badass tree bodyguard are much higher hurdles, I think.

  61. The Undefeated Gaul

    April 8th, 2014 at 3:16 am

    It’s not the fact that he’s an alien that is hard to accept. Nobody would have any issues with a badass alien dude. Imho, It’s the dull endlessly repeating plot of having to collect magic rocks. So far we have the first Cap 1, Thor 2 and the upcoming GOTG that all revolve around the premise of “we need to get the fucking magic rock” whether it’s a Tesseract, an Aether or whatever. Of course there’s more going on in these films than just that, but in the climax it’s always the same thing: get the rock before the bad guy does. If we’re gonna get 6 films total all about the same shit before Thanos completes his collection, that doesn’t seem like the most exciting thing way forward for these films.

    Luckily there’s also Cap 2, which is utterly fantastic and stays away from such nonsense mostly. Btw, no issue with the shaky cam here, in fact if all superhero movies start doing their action like this, I believe it would be a major improvement.

  62. The Original... Paul

    April 8th, 2014 at 3:18 am

    “Original Paul – Man I’m with you on the last Thor movie, but I’m not with you on TWS. Yes instead of giving Falcon a cliche, you propose to give him instead…a cliche.”

    Boy, I’m expressing myself badly today (or rather, yesterday.)

    I completely agree with you on the first part, RRA. I don’t think Falcon WAS a cliche until they made him, again, just another super-soldier.

    “I liked that Falcon was just a regular dude that by fate and circumstance happened to kick ass with the Avengers. And the talent he used to kick ass didn’t come from a lab accident or whatever.”

    Except that IT DID. There’s no ambiguity about this, is there? Or have you forgotten the scene where he explains to Cap how he just happened to be in this super-secret program that got him to use Icarus wings to fight a war? Please note that he’s the only guy who has them or knows about them (even VillainCorp is completely taken off-guard by the wings’ existence. And they’ve been secretly working from within SHIELD since the second world war, so… pretty damn secret, is all I’m saying.)

    Basically, Falcon is Iron Man is what I’m saying.

  63. The Original... Paul

    April 8th, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Except without the “having to keep a thing in his chest to survive” or “constantly having to re-learn how to be Iron Man” or “trying to be as big a playboy as Bruce Wayne but never really succeeding in it” or any of those things. Y’know, Iron Man stuff. Or even (as far as we know) without having made his own rig, like Iron Man did.

    But in terms of he’s got this massive weapon that nobody else has – yep, he’s Iron Man.

    Again, it can dodge fucking homing missiles. (Yep, that splat you just heard was the shark coming back down to earth.)

  64. The Original... Paul

    April 8th, 2014 at 3:24 am

    (Or whatever it was that jumped OVER the shark coming back down to earth… ok, I’m really really bad at using trope metaphors.)

  65. JTS – Its already been reported that Baron Strucker stuff is the “Bond opening” of AVENGERS 2 like Batroc was in TWS. I think hes more a guy from Cap’s orbit and their Hydra storyline before it veers into the Ultron stuff.

    Vern – I dunno dude, Marvel just made a global franchise out of a walking U.S. flag which at one time I had doubts about.

    The Undefeated Gaul – I’m just impressed that Marvel is trying to do something unprecedented, a long-term story told through I think 15 movies or so (however many by AVENGERS 3 in 2018). No rushing this shit out. Besides the magic rock maguffin, audiences don’t notice that really. They notice more walking U.S. flag fighting Red Skull or Hammer Dude fighting evil Dr. Who or whatever.

  66. Vern- the cool thing about that scene wasn’t supposed to be Strucker, but the reveal of the twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, major Avengers characters(and X-Men, cos they’re Magneto’s kids, but not in this version due to rights issues).
    And at least the magic rock thing is a largely incidental after the fact thing with these movies, and the build up at least gives weight to the fact when Thanos has them all, he’ll have gained basic God-like power over the entire universe(including the ability to make half the population of it just drop dead instantly) after an awful lot of other shit has been gone through. While it may be macguffiny, at least it’s not one movie and BAM! instant omnipotent macguffiny.
    I think you maybe just need to think of the bonus scenes as being more for the Marvel fans than the general audience, because they’re where the most fan-pleasing tease stuff happens.

    Paul- “Except that IT DID. There’s no ambiguity about this, is there? Or have you forgotten the scene where he explains to Cap how he just happened to be in this super-secret program that got him to use Icarus wings to fight a war? Please note that he’s the only guy who has them or knows about them (even VillainCorp is completely taken off-guard by the wings’ existence. And they’ve been secretly working from within SHIELD since the second world war, so… pretty damn secret, is all I’m saying.)”

    So he uses specialised equipment, that would exist in a universe like this with all the advanced technology there is. You think SHIELD would be the only military organisation to benefit from that sort of thing? Doesn’t make him a super-soldier. It’s like a more sci fi version of a Wingsuit. I don’t consider it TOO different from how Ripley uses a powerloader at the end of ALIENS.

  67. The Original... Paul

    April 8th, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Stu – but again, he’s the only person in the entire film to use it, or to have even heard of it. VillainCorp, who’ve been secretly stockpiling the tools of genocide for sixty plus years, didn’t have the faintest clue that it existed. I liked how they went out of their way at the start to prove that the guy WASN’T a supersoldier – when he’s jogging around the lake (mirror pool?) at the start. It just seemed as though they went back on that, and as a direct result it made his character a lot less interesting than he had previously been.

    But hey, it’s a fairly minor point and obviously doesn’t strike other people in the same way that it struck me, which is fine. I just thought it was a bit of a waste of a good character to have him become just another Cap lackey.

    My main points for “Captain America” are that it’s so much better than the last two Captain America films, Cap isn’t insufferable, and the scoring actually works. My main points against it are that it seems to star the wrong character, the whole “security versus liberty” theme has been done to death and beyond already, the finale was filmed really badly, and I just didn’t think it was that much fun. So overall I think it’s a miss that comes a lot closer to being a hit than the previous two Cap movies.

  68. Just wondering but did anybody else see the scene at the end of the credits?
    I mean the scene with bucky.

  69. I think Guardians of the Galaxy is the true test of how much longer these movies are going to be in favor with the mainstream. It’s easily the weirdest looking of all the Marvel movies but it’s also the one that shows how weird the Marvel universe can get. If people accept it then the sky is pretty much the limit and it’ll open the door for some real weirdness with Dr Strange. I’m glad they’re starting to take some chances with the formulas

  70. I don’t know if “Alien Racoon” is really a fundamentally stranger concept than “guy with some of the powers of a spider, but he doesn’t look like a spider, and also has other powers unrelated to a spider” or “There are Norse Gods, and one of them is this guy Thor, who’s magic and also has advanced technology.” Or even, “vigilante rich guy who wears a costume to look like a bat.” Only difference is, we’ve had time to get used to these other oddballs, who the fuck knew what a Guardian of the galaxy was until this year?

  71. The Original... Paul

    April 8th, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Mr S – honestly I thought the “Guardians” trailer looked pretty good. It won’t be for everyone, sure, but there doesn’t seem to be any doubt about what you’re getting if you go and see it. What they needed to do to get the audiences in was to play up that these characters would be fun to see on film, and I think they’ve done that.

    Also it uses “Stuck on a Feeling”, which is a complete throwback to a bygone age when every trailer that ever played in a cinema used that music. (Also see: “Wild Thing” by Tone Loc.) Then they just stopped using it years ago for some reason (probably because even casual filmgoers were starting to notice it) but now they’re bringing it back? Interesting!

  72. Well, one thing Marvel has definitely done is push ahead with something that doesn’t sound like it would work and then when you see it you realize it does. I was skeptical about Thor being in the same world as Iron Man, about Captain America not being too corny, about the space raccoon. But the Guardians trailer looks fun and when you see it it’s like “oh, I see now.” So it could be the same with the space crystals. It’s only if they get too far into that arcane comics mythology stuff and drift away from the relatable aspects of the characters that they’re in trouble. But I guess I should have faith in them because even their worst movies (for me, Incredible Hulk and Thor or Thor 2) are pretty enjoyable.

  73. Okay, finally saw this one last night and I guess Stockholm syndrome must have set in because the shaky-cam didn’t bother me at all. I never got confused by the geography or lost track of the fights. It was nowhere near as bad as the TAKENs, where it was clearly being used to obscure sloppy fight choreography and stunt doubling. Would I have preferred it if everything was shot with an Isaac-Florentinian level of clarity? Yeah, probably. But I’m happy with this too. And I was happy that the handheld shakiness was confined to the action and that they didn’t try to juice up exposition scenes with random, wobbly zooms.

    Anthony Mackie and Scarlett Johansson were great and I was pleasantly surprised with how big a role they had. I was also surprised how significantly they were willing to shake up the status quo with S.H.I.E.L.D. I do wonder how the ramifications of this movie will affect that S.H.I.E.L.D. tv show, but not enough to risk being bored-to-death by actually watching it.

    After being so impressed with this movie I think Disney/Marvel’s genre-dabbling might bite them in the ass. After the well-done and politically-resonant spy-action of TWS, reverting back to the standard fantasy-superhero shit is going to seem like a step backwards for most people, myself included. My reaction to the post-credits Baron Strucker scene wasn’t as extreme as Vern’s but it definitely felt a little ho-hum. An evil scientist and two kids with extremely generic superpowers isn’t exactly blowing my socks off.

    Everyone seems pretty convinced that Thanos is going to play a big role in future movies and that it’s a good idea, but I don’t get how Thanos’ Power Glove (“it’s so bad!”) or motives (“Destroy the universe!”) are any more interesting than any other all-powerful magical artifact bullshit these types of movies revolve around. The whole robot-rebelling-against-its-creators thing in AGE OF ULTRON is no less of a cliche but it seems like it has way more dramatic potential.

    As for Hawkeye, I like to imagine that he’s busy doing all the shitty gruntwork that the other Avengers don’t want to deal with. You know, beating up thugs in tracksuits and rescuing pizza-loving dogs. Come on Marvel, where’s my Hawkguy movie?

  74. Maybe they’ll actually go all out there and incorporate Thanos’ motivation of trying to woo the female personification of Death?

  75. “I do wonder how the ramifications of this movie will affect that S.H.I.E.L.D. tv show, but not enough to risk being bored-to-death by actually watching it.”
    Just watched tonight’s episode and there’s HEAVY ties to TWS, a couple of dun dun dun moments, and Bill Paxton.

  76. Mr. Subtlety – If regular people think it looks good and funny and all that, then it won’t matter where it came from or if people ever heard of the source material. (Its crazy to think that STAR WARS helped kick off blockbusters but as an original property, it probably wouldn’t be produced today.)

    You all remember PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN when the first one came out? On paper that was the shittiest idea for a movie, I mean a movie based off a fucking theme park ride. Yet people saw what Johnny Depp was doing and it was both fun and was different from the popcorn movies of that time. Hell he even got an Oscar nod, if I remember right. Didn’t matter that the movie was based off a theme park ride. Didn’t matter that no pirate movie beforehand hadn’t made money since Errol Flynn. Didn’t matter that there was no stars in that movie. (Rusch is a respected actor and Depp was a cult actor at the time.) What mattered was that it looked good, and it was.

    Not saying GOTG is the next PIRATES, but I really wish we would get out of this film-property-recognition mindset. I mean Batman is a billion dollar franchise now, but once upon a time nobody wanted to make a non-campy Batman movie. Nobody could imagine it or see the value in it. Michael Uslan got the film rights I think in the late 70s. (WB selling away film rights this side of Marvel? A really different world.) He thought oh this will happen after SUPERMAN made money. Nobody still wanted to do it. That movie finally got produced a decade later, not before a convoluted development history where Ivan Reitman was going to direct it at one point with Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy as Batman and Robin. (No really.) Its why Uslan is credited as a producer on every single live-action Batman film since the first Burton movie. I guess he’ll be credited on BATMAN VS SUPERMAN too.

    For that matter, why did Paramount reboot Tom Clancy at the movies again with JACK RYAN after the last Jack Ryan reboot SUM OF ALL FEARS flopped? Because a long time ago, Tom Clancy had been a box-office moneymaker. It’s a known property! But JACK RYAN flopped, and I guess that character is dead for good now. (I know some locals liked LONE RANGER, but again….huge property back in the day with Baby Boomers, but….well you know.)

    CrustaceanLove – I might be reading this wrong, but apparently Hawkeye by himself will rescue those twins in the opening for AVENGERS 2. I guess this is Whedon’s kiss and making up with Renner after he bitched about his character’s role in the first film. (Before he kills him off because this is Whedon, after all.)

    The Original… Paul – I thik the real test will be the 2nd trailer.

    But so far, Marvel has done good with GOTG’s marketing methinks. They have a basic pattern with their trailers. First trailer doesn’t tell you the story as much as the “idea” of the movie, what it is in tones. (i.e. this is cosmic DIRTY DOZEN, but more light-hearted.) In fact we got exactly no indication of plot in that first GOTG trailer. This is the set-up. The follow-up trailer is where we get much much more action footage (especially eye candy) and we get an idea of the actual plot and more character moments. (I predict Rocket Raccoon talking/kicking ass footage.)

    I think what that first trailer sold for me was Chris Pratt. He gave off a Jack Burton vibe. If Marvel has a track record of finding likeable guys to play their superheroes (if all likeable for different reasons), I think Pratt might be their new nugget. I mean that flipping off scene, what was funny for me wasn’t the flipping it off as much as his mock-apology for it.

  77. Stu – and our shared pet theory about the Clairvoyant just got taken to a football stadium and executed. Pity because I really really really thought I called it perfectly. Oh well, those are the breaks. (Can we talk about that one detail on the show tonight that I did like with me spoiling shit up on the side? OK good then.)

    Anyway I guess the show now is that these now unemployed agents are taking the battle to Hydra. (I did like that detail revealing that after TWS, Hydra was still in charge of SHIELD stations across the globe.)

  78. Did any other non-Americans notice that Cap’s “to do” list differs from country to country? The Australian one had AC/DC and Steve Irwin and crap on it.

  79. I thought the opening raid on the ship was markedly worse in its action photography than the rest of the film. If you took out that scene the action rating would instantly go up a point in my opinion.

    I thought this was probably the strongest movie in the Avengers continuum, although I’m admittedly not a big fan. I like that when Black Widow fights Winter Soldier, it’s a battle of assassins and all about positioning and predicting each other’s tactics; when Cap fights him it’s a melee brawl. It’s the kind of specialization that gets lost in the shuffle when 90% of your heroes are strongmen.

    I liked that they managed to postpone the inevitable “get object from point A to point B” for longer than usual in this one.

    Johansson just keeps getting better and better. Can’t wait for Under the Skin!

  80. The Original... Paul

    April 9th, 2014 at 2:03 am


    “I like that when Black Widow fights Winter Soldier, it’s a battle of assassins and all about positioning and predicting each other’s tactics; when Cap fights him it’s a melee brawl.”

    Yeah, I’ve been a little harsh on “TWS” (for good reason honestly, I do think you guys are giving it too much credit here) but I agree with this. There were a few action scenes that I really liked actually. It’s just unfortunate that by far the worst sequence was right at the end. (Yeah, Renfield, I disagree with you completely on that one. When a guy manages to traverse between three huge flying ships and I have no idea how or when he does it, that’s a huge failure of action direction in my eyes.)

    I don’t think the editing / shakycam style ever really bothered me until the finale though. I did like the “setup / payoff” aspect of the elevator scene, which was mostly filmed in such a way that I could tell what was going on (which was a minor miracle considering the setting!)

    Crustacean – nope, although there was a lovely in-joke on the British version that I spotted. I had no idea that it was any different to the rest of the world’s lists though.

  81. I thought the emphasis on the Falcon at the beginning and the end was that Falcon had fancy tech, but was getting more exhausted and winded than the other heroes. By the time the wings are snuffed, he’s struggling to catch his breath. On one level, I like that, it’s a funny idea that SOMEONE in these movies gets sick of the runaround. On the other hand, I wish it weren’t Anthony Mackie.

    And yes, get Hawkguy and Pizza Dog in a movie sometime, Marvel. Probably wouldn’t be expensive.

  82. “When a guy manages to traverse between three huge flying ships and I have no idea how or when he does it, that’s a huge failure of action direction in my eyes.”

    Yeah…. had to pop a quick bathroom break during the briefing for that mission, I had no idea that he was going to all three ships either until you started complaining about it in this thread. Huh.

    Maybe they could have color coded the ships?

  83. “Did any other non-Americans notice that Cap’s “to do” list differs from country to country? The Australian one had AC/DC and Steve Irwin and crap on it.”
    Did everyone’s have Sean Connery on it? I’m Scottish, but I doubt they’d be that specific. Just more generally British things.

  84. Real good movie overall. Loved how grounded it was compared to some of the others. Still sounds weird to say with that much flipping and exploding helicarriers, but it is what it is.

    I didn’t find the action to be done too poorly, though it definitely could’ve been a little more clear. Way better than Quantum of Solace, Transporter 3, The A-Team, and Gamer. Also, I didn’t see it on an IMAX or similarly huge screen, so maybe that’s the key to my higher “Action Satisfaction”. I’ve found screen size to be a definite contributing factor to this type of issue. Taken was a lot easier to comprehend on my iPod for instance…

  85. The Original Paul

    April 10th, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Stu – mine had Sean Connery in it. That gave me a chuckle.

    Renfield – it baffled me a little because we specifically see Icarus Wings Guy pick Cap up and dump him on the first ship. But after that… nothing. Wings seems to be otherwise occupied (to put it mildly!) so how did Cap get to the other two ships? They probably did show it, but so quickly that I missed it. And I was watching.

    Agree about the Winter Soldier fights though.

  86. I think I’m getting where you dudes got confused. At the part where the Falcon guy says “Hey Cap, tell me when you’re ready!” and Cap jumps off the ship and says “I’m ready!”, Falcon picks him up and puts him on the third Helicarrier (which looks exactly like the other two). I can see how some of you would have thought he put him right back on the same ship. They really did need to color code them as red, white, and blue (and an awesome bit of symbolism would have been created, to boot.) Oh well. Directors take note: if you make a movie involving 3 huge anime battleships, make sure the audience can distinguish between them.

  87. Rewatched TWS, and its funny but there was no confusion for me how Cap got to those other ships.

    Also my initial complaint about the title character not being in the movie enough, I think I’ll retract that complaint. He’s awesome and I wanted more but isn’t that always the case with great characters? Ledger dominated in TDK, but you still wanted more.

    Good fucking movie. Plus unless I misunderstood something, Robert Redford’s character is the Secretary of the World Security Council. You know the leader. If that’s the case…was he the one who launched that nuke in THE AVENGERS? I mean think about that movie’s plot in retrospect of TWS. Clearly if this was the case he convinced the other members that the alien invaders had to be stopped at their “door,” but I’m sure Hydra Redford had two other objectives: (1) vaporize the AVengers, Hydra’s biggest threat, and (2) a nuked NYC plus alien invasion would make more governments surrender their liberties and powers to a global front against such major global threats….and well, there’s SHIELD as that front, which Hydra is trying to take over.

    Hell remember that subplot about the “Phase 2” Hydra weapons? YEah its funny but I just took that shit at face value, but now in retrospect….I think it was the Council who ended the “Avenger Initiative” in favor of those Phase 2 weapons. Yeah of course Redford would see to that, because the A.I. would be a threat to Hydra and hey they want their old toys again! (Same way that Gary Shandling wanted that Iron Man suit in IRON MAN 2 so Hydra could get it. Why they couldn’t get War Machine’s suit, however is never explained.)

    “Although I don’t for a second buy the conventional nerd wisdom that Batman and Superman and everybody now have to follow this unprecedented “shared universe” strategy of serialization, THE WINTER SOLDIER really takes advantage of it.”

    Vern – I think I might’ve been the only person surprised with the reveal that Hydra whacked Tony Stark’s dad. I even liked how subtle as it is, they planted seeds for that AGENT CARTER series that Marvel has in development by revealing that yeah she moved on from Cap and got married and had kids, with her husband (never named) being one of those rescued by Cap in the first movie. I bet it was Dum Dum.

  88. “When a guy manages to traverse between three huge flying ships and I have no idea how or when he does it, that’s a huge failure of action direction in my eyes.”

    Cap only traverses between two ships. He takes care of one, Falcon takes care of the second (breaking the handy undercanopy w/ the ship’s own missiles then swapping out the chip/board whatever, just likes we’ve seen his counterpart do), then

    “I think I’m getting where you dudes got confused. At the part where the Falcon guy says “Hey Cap, tell me when you’re ready!” and Cap jumps off the ship and says “I’m ready!”, Falcon picks him up and puts him on the third Helicarrier.”

    I have my own nits to pick with the beast, but all of this seemed absolutely clear to me.

  89. *SPOILERS* On paper alot seems to point to a good movie, but maybe it’s superhero burnout or something but after a really, really good first 30 min, this left me kinda cold. I thought the exact same thing as RJ about the Hydra twist – it caught me off guard but still seemed like a safe copout. ex) the vigilante killers in Magnum Force are fascinating because they *may* actually be in the right – the criminals they show killing are horrible people who deserve it (until they start killing innocents and cops, of course, like every other vigilante movie). There was no twist that they were actually mafia or terrorists in disguise because that would defeat the whole point, and I’m bummed this movie went there.

    Also bummed that after a really strong introduction (the opening running scene may be my favorite scene in the movie), Falcon just becomes generic action guy, and let’s be honest – the movie revolves around three surprises that are incredibly obvious (the death/non-death of Fury (thanks, trailers for both of them!), the identity of Winter Soldier, and Redford being a bad guy, because holy shit, when does the old white guy in charge ever NOT turn out to be the bad guy?) Kudos btw, for not making VanCamp a villain – movie logic dictates she’d be “bad” since this franchise already has Black Widow (and Maria Hill). I’m glad they didn’t feel the need to go the same route as they did for Rebecca Hall in Iron Man 3.

    By the way, can anyone explain to me what the USB stick business was about? Yes, I know it’s a macguffin, but I literally didn’t understand – Black Widow downloaded info off the ship, but then Fury couldn’t open the files because he (or I’m guessing Redford)) locked it? But then Black Widow has no problem opening it later and how exactly does it lead them back to the army base? Zorba led them there on purpose so he could do the whole Matrix Reloaded monologue, right? And while we’re at it, can anyone explain how Black Widow got out of the exploding badge predicament? I have no idea what she did.

  90. Somebody wrote up a piece, which basically brings up a point several people online are making in comparing TWS with MOS. I don’t know personally what to think of the argument. If I liked one over the other, it was for movie reasons and not nerd reasons.


    neal2zod – From what I gathered about that MacGuffin drive, BW didn’t actually open it as much as trace the algorithm back to New Jersey.

  91. Yes, Black Widow doesn’t open the files on the USB stick. She uses Computer Magic to figure out WHERE the files were put on the USB stick. Which of course leads to the Fallacy of the Talking Villain and all that good stuff.

    Also the Man of Steel vs. Winter Soldier article linked above is terrible, hackneyed garbage centerpieced around the same old boring “not MY Superman!” stuff. We get it. Some folks want Daddy Superman who has total control of the situation at all times and can put victims in time-out when they misbehave. It’s a totally valid interpretation of the character and there’s no need to belabor this point over and over. But when I see an article comparing Captain America’s ending fight with the Winter Soldier to MOS Superman’s fight with Zod, I just sigh. That’s some really lazy, perfunctory analysis. Do you really think that Captain America would let Winter Soldier beat his face in if he knew that afterwards the Winter Soldier would, and was capable of, killing every single other person on Earth? No. (btw, the dumb article linked above describes Zod’s complete and utter genocide of the human race after winning as ‘just a few more deaths after all the destruction that was caused, so who really cares?’ which is so indescribably stupid that I can’t even find words for it) Under similar stakes, Captain America would have lobotomized The Winter Soldier with the edge of his shield and that would have been that.

  92. RRA – yeah I’ve noticed too that people keep linking the two movies together online for some reason. (I guess b/c they’ll square off in 2016 or whatever) I’m no fan of Man of Steel and liked CA2 much, much better, but I do have to admit anyone who talks about Superman killing thousands of innocent bystanders by punching Zod through a possibly-empty building should at least concede that CA probably killed a few innocent SHIELD agents on both the carriers and the ground. I think last I saw Marvel fanboys mathematically deduced there were zero ground/SHIELD HQ fatalities and only 5 (huh?!?) Hydra agents on each carrier, but each building Superman destroyed was fully populated as if it had not been evacuated. I guess what happens offscreen is in the eye of the beholder.

    Re: those 2 carriers that landed harmlessly in the Patomac, I kinda wish Hill or Fury had one line of dialogue explaining that was their plan and the reason why they activated the guns when they did – the way it happens in the movie it seems like a stroke of luck more people didn’t die, and it seemed weird to me that Cap didn’t seem to have any reservations about this. The bad guys’ guns were targetting a couple of hundred thousand people, right? I have a feeling if 3 carriers of that size crashed in DC the death toll would be even higher and Cap should have had a major problem with this.

  93. Also I came across as kind of a huge dick in my criticism of that article, so let me say one more thing: the problem is that at a conceptual level, Daddy Superman (otherwise known as Silver Age Superman) fans flat-out reject him being in a situation that he doesn’t have total control over. There’s always a way for Silver Age Superman to save everybody and put the villain in a time-out box. He never really deals with anyone that is any real threat to his omnipotence.

    I have a friend who is a very big Silver Age Superman devotee and I totally understand the appeal of this character. It’s absolutely valid, and very supported. My biggest problem is that fans of this character, in their effort to vocalize why they dislike Man of Steel Superman (which is definitely NOT Silver Age Superman) have internalized Daddy Superman so deeply that they simply aren’t able to accept certain (movie) realities of the movie. Like, for example, that Superman can’t just ‘take the fight somewhere else’ because he is not strong enough or capable enough of doing so. Or that he “doesn’t care about people” because, while fighting for his life (and everyone else’s life, literally) against a superior opponent he gets pummeled, punched and repeatedly hurled through building. Because, to a Silver Age Superman fan, there is really no such thing as a superior opponent to Superman. Superman’s always in control of everything, and so if a few buildings get knocked down it’s not the collateral damage of two demigods locked in mortal combat – it’s the negligence of Omnipotent Daddy Superman that allowed such a thing to happen.

    And I got to tell you it’s a real flub to act like desperately breaking the neck of a genocidal warlord who will extinguish the life of everyone and everything on the only planet Superman has ever known is somehow narratively comparable to Cap sacrificing his own life to the meaningless mission of his brainwashed former friend in a show of solidarity. They aren’t even remotely comparable in narrative stakes and in character development but hey, both movies star guys in costumes and they both end with a big fight so why not compare the two. For my next trick, I’ll compare the ending of Furious 6 with Road Warrior, as both end with

  94. Well, my comment got cut off because I accidentally clicked the ‘Submit Comment’ button. Sorry everybody. I hope the anticipation doesn’t kill you all too much.

  95. I hear what you’re saying, HardlyWalken – I actually agree w/ you but I’ll just say Supes snapping that neck and the epic destruction of Metropolis were easily the least problems I had with that movie and it’s weird how everyone has latched on to that like the nuking the fridge bit from KOTCS.

    And even though not every MOS/CA argument comes from a place of Marvel vs. DC fandom, I certainly hope the writer of that not-very-good article will write an equally long piece comparing Cap’s heroic pacifism to Iron Man 3’s climax – y’know, the one pitting drones vs. DISABLED VETERANS, where we’re asked to root for the drones. And said drones, who i’m pretty sure outnumber the bad guys, don’t capture or subdue but are literally told to “TERMINATE WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE.” Even though the movie established these guys and gals are scared and sick and have PTSD (which Tony himself has, even though they don’t explore that parallel). But worst of all – they’re apparently all super-easily curable, as evidenced by him curing Pepper Potts without explanation in a freaking montage.

    Yeah, I know, Tony Stark by comic book rules or some shit is allowed to kill people but Supes isn’t, yadda yadda. Still put a bad taste in my mouth. He should also write about Edward Norton Hulk (who is supposed to be Ruffalo Hulk) also killed dozens of innocent US soldiers (whereas Bana Hulk managed to avoid this)

  96. neal2zod – if those vets got their limbs regenerated, are they really still disabled by your definition? I suppose that’s why nobody complained.

    As for the ships in TWS, I seem to remember a skeleton crew only needed to man those ships and indeed those crews were Hydra guys. I know, how fucking convenient, but there you go.

    HardleyWalken – Well my problem with Superman going forward is they won’t do some of his goofiest (yet most charming for me) mythology elements like the bottled city of Kandor or Krypto. I doubt we’ll even get Supergirl anytime soon. Hope I’m proven wrong.

  97. Neal, I actually agree with you and think we’re on the same page here. I actually felt that the Superman movie had some real bad problems beyond the “not MY Superman!” stuff. Some real bad pacing, especially. The kiss between Lois and Supes is one of the worst kisses in cinema and I stand by that. Not only do they kiss at the site of a fresh massacre while the ashes of the dead drift down but Supes goes out of the way to remind Lois that she just kissed an alien! Jesus! It’s the worst!

    As for Iron Man 3, yeah the ending kind of fell apart. It’s clear that they wanted a bunch of cool suits kickin’ butt but couldn’t figure out a way to get them in there that wasn’t morally repugnant. I gotta give credit to The Winter Soldier for basically bringing back Nazis, who are the fuckin’ worst and deserve everything they get. I wish more script writers would realize that the best sorts of villains are ones that choose to hurt people for money or (even worse) ideology. For goodness sake don’t make your villains’ henchmen exploited because then it taints the hero’s victory. You don’t feel like Iron Man is much of a hero if he mows down the exploited African soldiers that were forced to guard the Mandarin under threat of death. But he feels pretty damn heroic if he beats up a bunch of mercs who are profiting from conflict diamonds. Same with using his robot army to beat up veterans.

    Also RRA everybody loves Krypto. He’s fun. But it’s just one of those things that couldn’t work outside of Silver Age comics/Saturday morning animation. They’re clearly trying to do a more grounded take on the character, and as much as I love the Omniscient Circus Strongman + Friends it’s really not something that would work with modern audiences. That kind of bizarre camp went out of fashion with Batman and Robin and I’m not sure if it’s ever coming back.

  98. Knox: “Vern – eh I disagree with MacReady simply because during that scheme unveiling, I had a spooky powerful moment when Digital Toby Jones more or less said that Hydra was behind 9/11 and the Patriot Act. I mean I thought “well of fucking course!” For a comic book fantasy, its always good when you absolutely BUY the premise.”

    But see, that’s exactly the sort of thing that I find to be problematic about this. The terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 were planned, funded and carried out by a group of (mostly) Saudi Arabian radicals in response to US foreign policy. Reinforcing the old “inside job” conspiracy theory only helps to damage our understanding of what happened and subsequently make it more difficult for us to deal with these things in the future.

    It’s human nature to look at what happened and write it off as evil acts committed by evil people simply because they’re evil and they just love doing evil things, when the truth is much more complicated than that.

  99. Oh and Vern, it made me really happy to see you reference something I wrote. It’s not every day that one of your favorite writers mentions you by name (well, pseudonym).

  100. Knox Harrington – “Film editing has become so shitty over the last decade or two. A hundred years of experience and then gradually filmmakers just stopped giving a shit about cutting their films properly.”

    I blame Pietro Scalia’s Oscar-winning work on Gladiator for walking us up to that ledge, and I blame the popularity of the Bourne franchise for pushing us the hell over it.

  101. “But it’s just one of those things that couldn’t work outside of Silver Age comics/Saturday morning animation. ”

    HardlyWalken – We live in a world where a walking U.S. flag is now a legit global franchise hit, something I probably would’ve had trouble believing a long time ago. Hell remember that meme that nerds ran into the ground online quickly sometime back? If I remember right…

    WB/DC: We don’t think people can take a Wonder Woman movie seriously.
    Marvel: Here’s a raccoon with a machine gun!

    I just think this “couldn’t work” argument of yours is rather too conservative. TEll me my friend, what do you think of Shazam! ?

    “But see, that’s exactly the sort of thing that I find to be problematic about this. The terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 were planned, funded and carried out by a group of (mostly) Saudi Arabian radicals in response to US foreign policy. Reinforcing the old “inside job” conspiracy theory only helps to damage our understanding of what happened and subsequently make it more difficult for us to deal with these things in the future.”

    RJ_MacReady – No offense dude but that’s a rubbish argument. Come on. If anybody leaves TWS believing truely 9/11 was an inside job, they already believed that Loose Change bullshit anyway in the first place. Its like I know Oswald blew JFK’s head off. But I’m willing to put that common sense observation aside with fiction where its somebody else who killed JFK, like that classic Oliver Stone film. Or the Comedian in JFK. Or hell, that Winter Soldier killed JFK. (Didn’t the upcoming X-Men sequel have a viral trailer where Magneto was a “suspect” in the assassination?)

    Its like when the X-Files did many episodes based off urban legends and conspiracy theories. Its fun stuff to dabble with, but does that mean I believe in the Bermuda Triangle? No.

  102. RJ_MacReady – GLADIATOR is the first movie I remember seeing where that style of action was distracting

    I still like my pet theory though that that style of editing was born out of necessity due to the MPAA cracking down on violence post Columbine, though by this time it’s been simply adopting as the style of the day

  103. So no blame at Bay?

    Hail Hydra!

  104. Way off-topic, but besides the TWS/MOS nonsense out there I’m fucking annoyed whenever on every discussion online relating to the upcoming Spider-Man and X-Men movies, especially with that Fantastic Four reboot, somebody says “Let Marvel have the film rights back!”

    Don’t people realize that if Marvel had all those rights back, they probably would’ve rebooted those movies instead of doing Captain America or GOTG or Ant-Man? In fact this might be considered Internet Heresy but honestly….I don’t think Marvel Studios’ version of Spider-Man would be that too far off from TASM that we have because there was no way MS was continuing the Tobey Maguire movies. The biggest difference though would probably be that Spider-Man gets shoehorned into the Avengers, which honestly I don’t think its necessarily a good idea.

    Nevermind that this mentality ignores that Fox and Sony have done good in the past. X2 is still IMO one of the best superhero films ever produced. THE WOLVERINE last year was terrific. Several of the Spider-Mans were good, including the last one. Hell unless I’m mistaken, wasn’t FIRST CLASS also well-reviewed when it came out?

  105. Whoops, I attributed that quote directed at me to Knox, but it looks like RRA actually said it. Sorry about that.

  106. RRA – “No offense dude but that’s a rubbish argument. Come on. If anybody leaves TWS believing truely 9/11 was an inside job, they already believed that Loose Change bullshit anyway in the first place.”

    I’m not saying that this movie will convince people of the inside job nonsense, but it certainly appeals to that human desire to look for a simple explanation for a great tragedy which was actually the result of complicated global politics and deeply held religious beliefs. And don’t forget that this is based on a children’s cartoon funny book for kids. There’s definitely going to be some impressionable prepubescents in the audience who may be encountering the concept of 9/11 for the first time.

    Okay, I realize I may be driving too hard at this particular point. It is probably too much to expect that these silly superhero movies (for ages 13 and up) will seriously address the true nature of evil (unless they get Dave DeFalco to direct Cap 3) and the real reasons for global turmoil. After all, these are stories about “larger than life” characters who very specifically embody black-and-white versions of good and evil. Nuance and grey area don’t really fit with their raison d’êtra.

    RRA – “So no blame at Bay? ”

    You know what?……. No. I actually don’t blame Bay. I don’t think editors working in the industry looked at Bay’s movies and thought “That’s how we need to be cutting films from now on!” But I absolutely think they thought that after Scalia won the Oscar for Gladiator. Bay strikes me as a guy who just follows trends, he doesn’t set them. I agree with Vern that his movies tend to make audiences accept a lower standard of action comprehensibility. But I don’t think that’s a conscious thing on his part. I think he just sort of stumbles his way into confusing action and then pretends like that’s what he meant to do the whole time.

  107. Knox Harrington

    April 12th, 2014 at 2:33 am

    RJ, Gladiator is a very good example. It started going to shit before that (I think MTV and Natural Born Killers clones had a huge influence), but Scalia’s Oscar win was a benchmark moment.

    I actually think the editing in the Bourne movies do a good job of grounding some of the shaky camerawork and choreography at times, but that first Bourne movie played a huge part in the way action is shot and cut today. What they’re doing, essentially, is hiding the action. And the reason is because you now have a “serious” actor like Matt Damon doing things that in the past would be done by Seagal or Van Damme. In The Bourne Identity, they had to really sell this idea that Damon is a badass who can do the kind of shit that only guys like Scott Adkins usually can. He can’t, obviously, so we get a lot of whip pans and crash cuts to try and convey the kind of energy we’d normally see from a good martial artist.

    Basically, it’s Secondary Action (camera) and Tertiary Action (editing) standing in for Primary Action (the persons or objects being filmed).

  108. “WB/DC: We don’t think people can take a Wonder Woman movie seriously.
    Marvel: Here’s a raccoon with a machine gun!”

    Well there’s two problems with THAT argument.

    1. Rocket Racoon is SUPPOSED to be ridiculous. Yeah, they’re also going to try to make him a real character and the heart of the team, but at the end of the day, when he goes on a rampage with his guns you’re supposed to find it a funny visual. You’re not meant to find Wonder Woman as funny.
    2. Wonder Woman is a character DC have put on such a pedestal and that her fans can be really psychotically protective of that there’s a TON of things that they want to make sure they get right with her. They want her to be an inspirational character, but not TOO perfect that she’s very bland and boring. They want her to be a feminist icon, but not so much that she or her culture come across as misandrists, which there’s always the risk of when the Amazons live on a “Utopia” where men are forbidden to go, and all the inhabitants are reincarnations of women who were victimised by men and were at one point slaves of Hercules, and the classic version of her origin has her not having a father but instead being molded out of clay magically turned into human form by the Gods. They want her to be a badass, but they don’t want her to be be just a bloodthirsty warrior, but also an ambassador for peace and compassion. They want to have her iconic accoutrements like the lasso, but they don’t want her to look like a bondage fetishist. They want there to be Greek Myth stuff in there, but they also want it to make sense in a modern context and wider world(and I dunno if Christian backlash to pagan deities being depicted as real is an issue).

    And outside of the in-character stuff, there’s also the fact she’s a female protagonist in a Superhero movie, a genre that historically hasn’t been a success in movies. Not that there can’t be, but I can understand WB being gun shy about it.

    So the Wonder Woman character is a lot more complex a problem to do than “gun-toting genetically engineered Racoon who’s just one part of a team of characters in a deliberately comedic space opera action movie”.

  109. RJ_MacReady – You know Bay made movies before GLADIATOR. All those movies before GLADIATOR you know, made money. People in that town suually pay attention to stuff that made money. Not saying what you’re saying about GLADIATOR is wrong, but…I think you need more input.

    As for TWS, you do forget that the movie never explicitely said that Hydra was behind 9/11. Look above in the thread, I was the one who made that connection. I thought the movie said that inbetween the lines, but Zola never said “oh and Hydra crashed planes into the World Trade Center.”

    Knox – Now that’s a great thought. Bravo good sir!

  110. Stu – So what you’re saying is that people will bitch about how WW is done regardless?

    Alot of you folks liked MOS, which alot of nerds also really hated. Does that bitching matter to you all that much? I doubt it. At most, you’re just annoyed by people still not getting over the neck break or whatever. But otherwise, so what if people bitch?

    “And outside of the in-character stuff, there’s also the fact she’s a female protagonist in a Superhero movie, a genre that historically hasn’t been a success in movies. Not that there can’t be, but I can understand WB being gun shy about it.”

    Its funny but I have a bet with a friend. I bet 50 bucks that Marvel will beat DC to the punch on a female superhero movie that’ll be be successful and the first hits of its kind before DC gets around to doing a WW solo picture. He thinks WW happen before Marvel does it.

    Worth noting, Devin Faraci said that Captain Marvel* would pop up in a Marvel film by 2016. Latino Review earlier claimed she (or Carol Danvers at least anyway) is in AVENGERS 2. What does this mean? Nothing so far except that I wouldn’t be shocked if CM is one of the Phase 3 films. Food for thought.

    *=To me, she’s still Ms. Marvel. Plus I associate that name more with Shazam! over at DC. And that is your nerd nitpick of the day.

  111. “Stu – So what you’re saying is that people will bitch about how WW is done regardless?”
    I’m saying there’s far too much that can be criticised for me to reasonably expect that Wonder Woman is going to get as many chances to succeed as a solo character as Batman and Superman will, so WB want to REALLY make the shot they take count. I just hope that Gal Gadot makes enough for an impression in the MOS sequel that people will want to see her solo.

  112. My two cents is that those who didn’t like TWS are nuts. But I’m sure you’ll find me nuts when I say I don’t like the Nolan Batman movies and have no desire to see Man of Steel.

  113. Stu – Unfortunately I don’t think most people have confidence that WB can actually pull that off no matter how much time they take. That’ll change someday I’m sure. I’m not just talking about some of their history of DC flops like JONAH HEX or GREEN LANTERN*, but really what superhero film franchises have they ever launched other than Superman and Batman?

    (If we include TV, then well ARROW was able to make Green Arrow go mainstream.)

    Anyway I brought up that WW/Rocket Raccoon meme above because HardlyWalken said certain things were “too goofy” for viewers and I think that one’s definition of “silly” might not be shared by others. It’s a relative concept. I mean you know what else is silly? A dude dressing up like a bat fighting crime. Yet nobody is rolling their eyes, are they? That’s all I’m saying.

    Let me confess something. You know Vern above said he didn’t think Thor could work on film? Yeah I shared that opinion too. How could you take something like Norse mythology, even grounded with the idea that they’re actually aliens, and make it gel within Tony Stark’s world? Not to mention I remember the first pics coming out and I thought they looked too FLASH GORDON for my taste. (Which in retrospect, totally part of the space opera vibe they were going for.) Regardless of what we think of THOR, audiences didn’t reject the concept.

    I really refuse to believe that WW is really that much harder to pull off than Thor.

    *=Its funny people whine about why DC can’t be more “fun” like Marvel, yet GREEN LANTERN was DC trying to basically make their own version of the Marvel formula (seriously GL felt like those folks rented IRON MAN and said “yeah we could do that too.”) and I don’t know that many people

  114. I really liked this movie. I didn’t have a problem with the post action stuff. It was annoying, but not indecipherable. My thought process was, “Aw, come on, guys! Alright, I guess I can tell what’s going on.” I was on the back row, though. I had no trouble figuring out which ship he was on and why. Like Vern, I realized he had picked up new fighting skills and enjoyed that he was trying to improve his skill set and not just relying on his superness. I enjoyed seeing more of that, though – jumping out of planes and buildings, busting through doors, windows and walls.

    I also liked that he was the voice of dissension. I didn’t think he came off as goody-two-shoes or corny in his idealism. I loved that he was struggling to hold on to his morals and that it was a cost to do so, that he was feeling more isolated and struggling against becoming cynical.

    I really loved the quiet, real people moments, like the opening running scene. I loved that he went to visit Agent Carter and called her his best girl. That’s the sap in me. I was really impressed with her old lady look, too. I don’t know if it was makeup or CGI, or most likely both, but it was really believable. Did anyone else think that she picked the acronym S.H.I.E.L.D. as an homage to him? Or was it just really obvious that she did, so it’s not worth mentioning? Some other movie, or maybe the tv show, had a character asking someone if they knew why they were named Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division and the smartass answer was, “Because someone really wanted to use the acronym S.H.I.E.L.D.” I thought of this when it was revealed that the original Cap America team formed S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Overall, really enjoyed the movie and am looking forward to the next one in the Marvel universe.

    I wondered about the ships crashing into D.C., too. But then they seemed to crash back down on the S.H.I.E.L.D grounds, which must have been obvious in their planning, because no way Captain America doesn’t question that. I think it just needed to be conveyed to the audience better. Although I wonder about his feelings of taking out whatever loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were left in the building and on the grounds. Maybe that’s just the soldier in him realizing there will be casualties and they were fellow soldiers.

  115. The Original Paul

    April 12th, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Shrug – all I can say is that I was sitting in the back row of the cinema, watching pretty intently at that point, and I didn’t get any of that. I was in complete confusion about what was going on, actually.

    Neal – I agree with you on all counts (and said a lot of what you’ve said, albeit in a different way).

    Hardly – it’s funny because the destruction at the end did remind me of some of the MoS complaints (I didn’t see “Man of Steel” so I’m in no position to judge their validity or not).

    RJ: “It’s human nature to look at what happened and write it off as evil acts committed by evil people simply because they’re evil and they just love doing evil things, when the truth is much more complicated than that.”

    That’s true, but I think I’m more with RRA on this one. I don’t think anybody regards the Marvel movies as anything but harmless escapism, despite the rather forced attempt to make the villains “relevant” with the “security versus liberty” exposition by Redford (I’m sorry to keep bringing that up, but seriously, weren’t the last two dozen or so times we’ve seen the exact same thing in other films enough?) Anyway I didn’t have a problem with Hydra claiming that. I DID have a problem with the first recent Cap’s movie’s stance that “Y’know the Nazis? Well they weren’t the real bad guys. Here’s some much worse bad guys for ya!” which came off to me as ignorantly offensive (the worst kind – if something is knowingly or deliberately offensive then it can be very funny, but this wasn’t. At all.) TWS seemed to fix this.


    “My two cents is that those who didn’t like TWS are nuts(1). But I’m sure you’ll find me nuts when I say I don’t like the Nolan Batman movies(2) and have no desire to see Man of Steel(3).”

    1: Wouldn’t say I didn’t like it, I just didn’t think there was very much to it. It was basically as flawed as something like last year’s “The Last Stand”, but a good deal less fun. I would say that the audience reaction, much like the one here, was probably a little more positive than my own – I saw it in a half-full cinema – but nobody was on their feet or cheering at any point (unlike “The Last Stand”). It was just ok for me. Which is really saying that it’s not enough for me nowadays.
    2: You’re nuts! (Well except for the last one. That one sucked. But the first two? You’re nuts!)
    3: Yeah, me neither.

    I will be going to see “The Raid 2” sometime next week. Now there’s a film we can all look forward to.

  116. The Original Paul

    April 12th, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Meggie: “I really loved the quiet, real people moments, like the opening running scene. I loved that he went to visit Agent Carter and called her his best girl.”

    Agreed. And that’s from somebody who didn’t like Agent Carter in the first recent Cap movie (bearing in mind that the American troops were so unlikeable, especially near the start of that movie, that I was pretty much rooting for the Nazis at times.) But yeah, the quiet moments were my favorite ones as well.

    “I also liked that he was the voice of dissension. I didn’t think he came off as goody-two-shoes or corny in his idealism. I loved that he was struggling to hold on to his morals and that it was a cost to do so, that he was feeling more isolated and struggling against becoming cynical.”

    Agreed. This to me is what separates the Cap of the first recent movie (I wish they hadn’t made an eighties version too, “first recent movie” sounds so cumbersome) from the Cap of TWS. I wouldn’t say that he’s likeable, but he’s at least inoffensive. My biggest problem is that Black Widow is not only a more interesting character to me, she also has a more interesting character arc, as well as the toughest moral decision in the film. And most of that happens offscreen.

    “I enjoyed seeing more of that, though – jumping out of planes and buildings, busting through doors, windows and walls.”

    I liked the raid at the beginning for this reason. I didn’t have any trouble seeing what was going on, for the most part.

  117. “Y’know the Nazis? Well they weren’t the real bad guys. Here’s some much worse bad guys for ya!” ”

    Original Paul – I never got that impression from the first Cap movie. Its just a lunatic group splitting away from a much larger lunatic group.

    As for the politics, there are people online trying to argue how this movie is really subversive and very political….I don’t think so. Its no more political than when STAR TREK VI used the end of the Cold War to hatch a decent political thriller/murder mystery. There are films that directly criticize this and that. And then there are others that just piggyback on the current topical issue. The latter is how I feel TWS does with the NSA and all that.

    That said, I could see Redford doing this film partly because he might’ve seen it as a screw you at the NSA and the military-industrial-police-surveillance state.

  118. The Original Paul

    April 12th, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    RRA – I think it was the “Heil Hydra!” thing that did it for me. It just came across as offensively crass in a really un-self-aware way. I don’t have the same problem with, say, the assassination of Hitler in Tarantino’s WW2 flick, because it managed to be pretty blatant wish-fulfilment while still maintaining a high level of tension and character interest throughout. “Captain America” didn’t pull either of those things off, so it never felt like it “earnt” that bit of history revisionism.

    I don’t think TWS is subversive / political, and I don’t think it tries to be. I wouldn’t have a problem with the villain’s plan if I hadn’t seen another movie use pretty much the exact piece of bad-guy exposition the same MONTH. Not to mention the legion of movies that’ve used it in the past. It’s as cliche’d as the “muslim character who you’re supposed to think is a terrorist, but isn’t really.” This whole “post 9-11 security complex” thing is getting to be a gigantic bore. Not to mention the fact that the other movie that used it (“Non-Stop”) at least did so in a surprising way. There was absolutely nothing new or surprising about TWS’ use of this particular cliche.

    Anyway, “The Raid 2” is now out over here in the UK, and I will be seeing it at the first available opportunity (probably on Monday). It’s had some fantastic reviews. Here’s hoping it’s as good as #1.

  119. Paul – its “Hail Hydra.” I mean give those Hydra Nazis credit, they learned to rebrand themselves to make them more popular in the subsequent 70 years.

    As for this and NON-STOP, I never made the connection until you did…and honestly, I can’t have a problem with this as much as you did.

  120. Paul, I felt TWS was a great movie that I enjoyed quite a bit. I think I’m 100% on board with all these movies and totally dig their vibe. That helps. Unlike with DC that I kinda like but have a hard time really rallying behind. I get that they might be more “slight” than the Nolan Dark Knight pictures but I think I prefer this version of superheros.

    I think I can finally get across my point for why I don’t go crazy for the Nolan Batman movies. I don’t want to watch three movies about how much it sucks to be Batman.

  121. The Original Paul

    April 12th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    RRA – this, “Non-Stop”, just about every other season of “24”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “CSI”, “Untraceable”, that Jake Gyllenhall movie that I can’t even remember the name of where he has to go back in time to stop a train bombing, and many, many others that I’m sure I could think of (read: Google). Hell, they even shoehorned something similar into the second “Lord of the Rings” movie, albeit in a very different context. Call it post-9/11 anxieties, security complex, whatever. I’m just getting pretty sick of seeing the same damn cliches in every other action movie or thriller that comes out nowadays. I’m sure there used to be spy thrillers that didn’t use not only the exact same themes, but also practically the exact same terminology. Look outside of Hollywood and there still are (the British series “Spooks” for example). So why the heck is this one fairly narrow theme getting re-used again and again?

    Sternshein – I get it. I realise that this is much the same situation as with Jason Statham-er 12A-rated actioner “Safe”, another film that I didn’t dislike but also didn’t think very much of, in that I didn’t by any means hate it but I didn’t like it as much as anybody else either. I wouldn’t ever begrudge someone enjoying something that I didn’t think too much of.

    That said, one of Vern’s comments in the “Badass 2” review stuck with me: “You start to appreciate basic stuff like that these days.” Reading back over the comments on TWS, I’m kinda getting the feeling that one or two people – yourself not included – are lowering their standards over this one, and that depresses me. Especially with “The Raid 2” coming out. (And won’t I look like a complete and utter ninny if THAT turns out to be a piece of shit.) My point is, you don’t have to like something just because it’s the only thing out there.

    Let me change tack and ask something here though. What was the audience reaction like in the cinema you saw this in? I’ve said about my own experience – I saw it at the end of its second week in the cinemas so there weren’t that many people there, but those that were seemed to have a quietly positive response to the film. It wasn’t like the “Last Stand” premiere (where the initially sceptical audience was actively cheering for the film by the end of it) but it was a lot closer to that than “Prometheus” (where the audience went in excited and gradually turned hostile as the film went on). I got the feeling that most of the people definitely liked the film.

  122. Nobody cheered but in my experience that almost never happens.

    I haven’t seen The Raid 2 yet which probably won’t happen until next Sunday. When I saw The Raid there were a lot of “Oooooooo” when I saw it. Is that considered cheering?

  123. The Original... Paul

    April 12th, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    “Reading back over the comments on TWS, I’m kinda getting the feeling that one or two people – yourself not included – are lowering their standards over this one.”

    Well insomnia strikes again it seems. Anyway, I take back the above comment. It’s not fair to judge people’s intentions just because they don’t agree with you, and lord knows that happens too often on t’internet.

  124. Of course they’re slow making a Wonder Woman movie. It’s by far the most well known female super hero character, and they don’t want to fuck it up. From what I can tell there are many wildly different interpretations of the character, and none are sure bets to be taken seriously in contemporary movie form, especially since they’ve given in to the nerd rule that it has to take place in the same world as the current Superman and Batman movies.

    They would be idiots to just throw one out there without careful consideration. And after the internet criticized them for years and years of developing and not making a Wonder Woman movie, the very second they finally announced one every one of those motherfuckers was after them for doing it wrong. It’s ridiculous.

    I never heard of Ms. Marvel until Faraci started writing about her, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t sound like a great character. The new version I guess is a teenage Muslim who magically turns into a blond super hero, and the original one is a lady who absorbed her husband’s super powers. The latter sounds demeaning and the former sounds like it could be a good low budget teen comedy for my boy Skander Halim to write, but I don’t see how it would catch on like Iron Man.

    However, they could easily make a good Black Widow or Mystique solo movie, those would be the best bets I think. Or is there a Lady Punisher?

  125. “I never heard of Ms. Marvel until Faraci started writing about her, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t sound like a great character. The new version I guess is a teenage Muslim who magically turns into a blond super hero, and the original one is a lady who absorbed her husband’s super powers. The latter sounds demeaning and the former sounds like it could be a good low budget teen comedy for my boy Skander Halim to write, but I don’t see how it would catch on like Iron Man.”
    I dunno where you’re getting that “absorbed her husband’s superpowers” thing from, Vern. She was an air force pilot who gets caught in an explosion with this alien superhero called Captain Marvel, and somehow his DNA mixed with hers and she got similar powers to him. And she’s now THE Captain Marvel.
    There’s only been two issues of the new teenage Ms. Marvel’s title so far, but it’s been good. There’s more focus on the struggles of being a young Muslim woman in modern times and dealing with the way her family (actually not depicted in a stereotypical fashion) expect her to behave and how some of her peers treat her, which ties into her getting shapeshifting powers that are triggered by those feelings.


  126. There sorta WAS a Lady Punisher, Vern. He had a female sort of apprentice very recently in a Daredevil story I read, but I think she got talked out of being part of that life by the end.

    I think SHE-HULK could be good, as a TV series. The character’s typically been depicted with the opposite attitude to Bruce about the powers, and because it’s something she can control and maintain her own personality during, she actually chooses to stay in that form all the time and has a lot of fun and confidence from it. Plus she’s a lawyer and there’s been some good stuff based around her having to deal with legal cases involving superheroes and supervillains(like when she represents Spider-man in a libel lawsuit against J. Jonah Jameson).

  127. I guess I thought they were married because they have the last name Marvel. Anyway, she absorbs powers from a dude because of an explosion. I think they would have to come up with something else for a movie. But maybe they have the advantage of not very many people being familiar with it enough to get mad at what they change.

  128. I’m sure in the intervening years, they retconned a better explanation for it. Actually, Agents of SHIELD might have just gave us an alternative. Captain Marvel(real name Mar-Vell because Marvel have this weird obsession with having characters with the company’s name) was member of a race called The Kree(Djimon Hounsou plays one in Guardians of the Galaxy), and in the show, it’s been explained that part of why Agent Coulson is alive again is that he got a blood transplant from a blue skinned alien. It’s not been identified, but Kree can be blue.

    What would your idea for a Mystique movie be though, Vern? Because unless it’s set post-X3 and has her getting her powers back, it’s gonna have to be during her time as a terrorist. Maybe she gets captured by Weapon X or something and it’s a prison escape movie where she’s the de facto hero because the humans are all sadistic bastards.

  129. I’ve come to a sad realization about post-action. It’s just plain cheaper to shoot that way. Think about how many more setups they can get in a day if they don’t have to spend hours setting up real cinematography? Add all that up and they shave days off the production schedule. On a big film like CAPTAIN AMERICA RETURNS, that’s millions of dollars.

    So, post-action isn’t going to change. Now that cameras are small enough to run around with handheld, the idea of carefully composed and executed cinematography will be a niche for filmmakers like James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Brad Bird and maybe Nolan just to stick it to all the digital people. I will continue to call bullshit and say it doesn’t look good, and certainly doesn’t increase suspense, but economics will win.

  130. I don’t think those dastardly Nerds had much to do with Warner/DC’s decision to create a shared universe. I think it’s more of a marketing strategy. Creating a brand through a homogeneity and consistency of product. Like fast food. The Dark’n’Gritty Burger King to Marvel’s McDonalds, or whatever. I would have preferred them to keep things separate and given themselves more artistic freedom, but I’m not a Time Warner shareholder.

    I think the whole thing with the Wonder Woman movie ties into a larger context of how DC has treated female characters over the years. And despite DC placing WW in the “Trinity” along with Superman and Batman, she’s pinballed between writers for decades and hasn’t had the kind of definitive characterisation that the other two have. I do think it’s silly to say that if Marvel get a female-superhero movie out there first, especially a relative unknown like Ms Marvel, then they “win”.

  131. I glanced at that screencrush article about Captain America being better than Superman because he didn’t kill his best buddy Bucky while Man of Steel ended the genocidal alien who threatened to kill all of mankind. Big deal. Caps giving up the fight wasn’t a big game changing surprise as that article suggested. Luke Skywalker did the same thing in Jedi. Might as well toss in Caps being better than Indiana Jones because Indy almost killed his sidekick. Forget the fact Indy was brainwashed. Caps is the greatest, most pure human being in all of fiction. Maybe I’ll write a column comparing Caps to Michael Coreleone.

    I thought The Winter Soldier was alright, but it dragged for me in a lot of places. It’s better than most of the Marvel movies, but I’m just not swept up by these characters and this ongoing narrative. If this movie really wanted to emulate the 70’s Pakula/Pollock movies, it would have ended with Redford being promoted to a higher position in the govt, Fury remaining dead, Caps now on the run due to Hydra/Redford discrediting him. I guess that kind of cliffhanger would have clashed with whatever’s planned for him in Avengers 2.

  132. Vern – Let me pitch a potential CM movie this way: Remember the 1st act of THE TERMINATOR? You know when Sarah Connor was a shitty waitress who can’t balance her check book, also has a shitty dating life and a shitty Mullet too? A very mundane as fuck life. And then BOOM! she’s on the run for her life and basically its all down to her to save humanity. The difference is instead of robots trying to terminate a woman’s magic uterus, Carol Danvers was a normal person (albeit a U.S. military officer)* who suddenly gets these super powers like flight and super strength. She has to get a hang of this new reality for her, oh and (if Marvel decides to go down this route) stop the Kree invading Earth. (Plus now being basically half-human/half-alien I’m sure sucks.)

    What do you think of Black Panther?

  133. “I do think it’s silly to say that if Marvel get a female-superhero movie out there first, especially a relative unknown like Ms Marvel, then they “win”.”

    CrustaceanLove – Marvel would only win if said movie is a hit, you know bragging rights and expand the number of their franchises. If it flops, its another SUPERGIRL or CATWOMAN or whatever.

    Incidentally I guess “Bragging rights’ is why Marvel and DC are now in a stand-off over that May 2016 release between Cap 3 and Batman vs Superman. In 2 years nobody will give a shit about this story because somebody will move and both movies will make their money.

  134. I like how TWS made Faraci write up a column on Operation Paperclip.


  135. Stu, I heard there was a comic where Dr. X-Man gives Mystique a Dirty Dozen type mission, gets her out of lockup to do the X-Men’s dirty black ops type missions. And it’s like a spy series where she travels around and takes on disguises but tries to fight for her pro-mutant agenda and probly escape from captivity or whatever. I don’t know if it’s a good comic but that’s a good movie premise. And now that they have Jennifer Lawrence and time travel they could have it take place anywhere between the ’60s and now.

  136. Vern – kinda reminds me of that Loki: Agent of Asgard comic book out there.

  137. I read that Mystique comic for a while. I liked it. It was THE WOLVERINE style, a pared down genre thriller set in an over the top comic book world. Mystique’s a good guy but she never loses that much of her edge. It could totally work as the basis for a spinoff movie.

  138. Hmm. Mystique would fit into the X-FORCE movie they’re supposedly planning to do.

    I did read a scene from that Mystique comic where she’s being interrogated by the Government and they say “oh, if you’re such a good guy, where you part of an organisation called The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants?” and she basically responds “It was an ironic name, dumbass”.

  139. Jareth Cutestory

    April 14th, 2014 at 7:56 am

    “Lady Punisher” sounds like a model of dildo.

  140. The Original... Paul

    April 14th, 2014 at 11:18 am

    And the award for the most insightful comment of the thread goes to… Jareth Cutestory! Please come and accept your Internets.

    I actually love the ambition of what Marvel is doing, I just don’t necessarily think that the results (barring the two Thor movies) have been particularly great. I honestly hope that they nail one or two of these films.

    Anyway, “The Raid 2”. Tonight. In forty-five minutes time. I don’t want to go into the film with bloated expectations and come out disappointed, so I’m just gonna remind myself constantly that the guy who made it is a Valleys boy called “Gareth”.

  141. The Original... Paul

    April 14th, 2014 at 11:22 am

    And I love the idea of a Mystique movie. Trouble is, we’ve already got one in “Mission: Impossible”, which (as I’ll never stop reminding you guys it seems) is one of my all-time favorite movies. And look how that franchise turned out. Biggest waste of a fantastic premise EVER.

    If they can do it justice this time, it’d be awesome, and it’s the kind of superhero/villain movie that I’d absolutely love.

  142. Faraci today reported that Vision in the next Avengers film will (1) fly and (2) have a costume pretty similar to the one he has in the comics.

    If you don’t know that character, Google him up and ask the same question that I’m asking: How are they going to pull that off?
    Interestingly a few days ago Faraci more or less said Wakanda is getting namechecked in the movie.

    “And look how that franchise turned out. Biggest waste of a fantastic premise EVER.”

    Original…Paul – Umm, first movie was pretty awesome. But #3 was good and I thought it was generally agreed that the last one by Brad Bird was damn good? The only entry I didn’t really like was #2, but I’ve not seen that since 2000 so maybe I was being too harsh to it?

    Point is, M:I is a decent franchise all things considered.

  143. and when I mean “pull off,” I mean his look.

  144. Interesting piece. “How Captain America won over China”

    “These and other Douban authors implicitly acknowledge that a film tackling such themes — even hidden behind the guise of an imagined superhero — could never be made under the watchful eye of China’s image-conscious government and its army of censors. One online review, titled “Why is there no Captain China?”, tackles the question explicitly. The post argues that Chinese censors would never allow scenes of iconic buildings like Tiananmen Gate or state-run China Central Television’s iconic headquarters, both in Beijing, being destroyed: How could such a thing be possible, after all, under the ruling Communist Party’s protection? ”


  145. That’s an interesting article. I remember hearing from my brother, who is currently living in China, that Captain America 2 was coming out over there. If I’m not mistaken the first film was not released abroad. I know that a lot of the decisions regarding whether or not an American film is released in China has little to do with censorship but rather whether they believe there will be a market for the film in the country. Still, I was interested in how a film about a character named Captain America would play abroad.

    I assumed that a film where Captain America has to fight against a government agency would probably play well to those who might have a negative view of the U.S. But it is interesting to see how people take the message of Captain America and use it to question China’s use of censorship. It’s an interesting case study of how powerful America culture can be, in this instance probably for the better. My guess is that American culture has probably done far more to support democracy and the freedom of ideas than all the billions we spend on fighting wars across the globe. Interesting enough, my brother says that he thinks there is far less anti-American sentiment in China than there is anti-China sentiment in America.

  146. “Interesting enough, my brother says that he thinks there is far less anti-American sentiment in China than there is anti-China sentiment in America.”

    RBatty – I had a professor from Beijing who described U.S./Chinese relations this way: “Never great, Never bad.” Since Nixon, the U.S. has been a strategic partner for the Chinese government so its never in Beijing’s best interests to stir up local hatred of the U.S. Now your brother I’m sure can tell you about that government making Japan the great boogeyman. (Same professor of mine said that current Chinese youngsters hate Japan more than the generation that suffered through WW2, which is…fucking incredible.)

    OF course to you, me, and every other sane person in the rest of the world this just sounds bonkers. Like as evil as Imperial Japan did in WW2 and beforehand of course, what’s the worst thing they’ve done in the last 70 years other than allowing whale hunting?

  147. “If I’m not mistaken the first film was not released abroad. ”

    RBatty – It was, but a few territories used an alternative title (“The First Avenger”) instead of CA. It was even released in China, according to the never-lying Wikipedia.

  148. I meant to write released in China, but I guess I would have gotten that wrong as well. Yeah, my brother is currently living in Nanjing, so he has plenty of stories about anti-Japanese sentiment. For a while he was teaching kids age eight to ten. When one day he asked the students what they wanted to be when they grew up, one of them said he wanted to drive a tank, so he could run over the Japanese. It’s pretty crazy. I was able to visit him a few years ago, and it was a wonderful experience. People were really interested to talk to Westerners (at the time he was living in Xi’an, not a major hub of Western tourist activity). We even got bumped to the front of a wait list at a restaurant because we were American (some of the Chinese patrons were none too happy about this, understandably). It’s strange to compare this treatment with the hatred of China you see on Fox News.

  149. So I finally saw this one, and I liked it a lot, as I expected to. These Marvel motherfuckers know what they’re doing. They got a good product here, made with high quality ingredients, hand selected by artisans who love their work and respect their audience. Sometimes you end up with a THOR & PADME’S BOGUS JOURNEY or a NOT SO INCREDIBLE HULK: IN MY OPINION but if those are the worst a studio can do I’m not gonna complain. Archie Studios would kill to have the kind of track record.

    Which is why I’m so happy to see these movies a few weeks after they come out so I don’t have to take part in the discussion. After however many years and however many movies that mostly deliver on exactly what they said they were gonna do, what’s there left to say? The movies come out, motherfuckers gotta start talking about what they used to do in the comic books and what they should have done this time and what they ought to do next time. I’m tired of it. It’s very liberating to just trust these people to do what they do without my input. It’s perfect escapist entertainment. I even get to escape from the burden of debating it. It is what it is in the best possible way.

  150. The Original... Paul

    April 22nd, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    RRA – firstly, didn’t the Japanese fly planes into the White House? Or are you telling me that there’s a Tom Clancy novel that’s not based on absolute fact?!!

    “Point is, M:I is a decent franchise all things considered.”

    No. No it is not. First movie, as previously stated, I love. Everything after that… ugh. Look, I’ve written the same rant about how the third movie just betrayed everything that was good about the first one four or five times over on these pages somewhere or other. I don’t think anybody would appreciate it if I went into that again. And yes, I thought the fourth one was ok too. Doesn’t matter though because it followed in the tracks of the third (which itself followed in the tracks of every fucking awful action movie with the same fucking generic action movie hero who follows his dick around the whole fucking time instead of showing an ounce of the intelligence/wit that he showed in the first one… oh wait, I’m ranting, aren’t I? Never mind.)

    RBatty – if the Chinese wanted to stir up anti-American sentment, they’d hardly use “The Winter Soldier” to do it, would they? They’d use “The First Avenger” instead. I was rooting for the Nazis in that one. I wasn’t a fan of “Winter Soldier” but it was a huge step up from that.

  151. Fun Fact: This was released in Russia as…..wait for it….THE FIRST AVENGER: ANOTHER WAR.

    RBatty024 – That anecdote reminds me of when Alan Thicke many years ago went on a family vacation to China, because he thought nobody over there would know him or of GROWING PAINS. He goes over there, and he’s recognized everywhere and got mobbed and everything and turned out that show was actually one of the first two American TV shows to be syndicated over there, along with HUNTER.

    (No reports yet of Fred Dryer engaging in gunfights with Chinese criminals.)

    “Look, I’ve written the same rant about how the third movie just betrayed everything that was good about the first one four or five times over on these pages somewhere or other.”

    Paul – Very considerate of ya, even though I don’t remember you ranting about the M:I movies but whatever. Reminds me of being on rehab from going knee-jerk and bash MOS whenever its brought up. One day at a time, one day at a time….

  152. The Original... Paul

    April 23rd, 2014 at 10:31 am

    RRA – oh, I’ve ranted. To the point at which I felt it was probably getting irritating to other people, so I stopped. That was some time ago. My problem with that specific movie is that MI:2 was bad enough that I thought they’d just do what they did with “Highlander 2” and ignore its existence in the future movies. It didn’t kill the franchise. It took MI:3, which is at least competent enough that it got some critical acclaim, to do that for me.

    Anyway, I absolutely love the idea of a Mystique movie, and if they can stick the execution then I’m sold. I’m sure this surprises absolutely nobody given my prediliction for bodyshock horror and secret identity-related hijinks in general, but “adventures of hot evil chick who can transform into anybody she touches” is more my cup of tea than “big lug goes to war wearing American Flag-imprinted leather jumpsuit”.

  153. Paul’s laying off the M:I sequels. RRA’s weaning himself off his addiction to MoS comparisons. I haven’t brought up PACIFIC RIM in months, and the last time I did I managed to work in some backhanded praise. I think we’ve all discovered what it takes to change the essence of a man.

  154. Fuck Tarantino. *runs away*

    (I actually ran away after writing this, Took me 15 minutes until I realized that I didn’t hit “submit” before running. Or…that you can’t bitchslap me over the internet. I bought a Currywurst on my way back. It was good, so it wasn’t a real waste of time. Haven’t seen AsimovLives in a while, btw.)

  155. I was just thinking that. I hope he’s okay. We’re gonna miss him when those STAR WARS sequels come out.

  156. RRA: your story about Alan Thicke makes me think of the documentary SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN. It looks like Vern hasn’t reviewed that one. You should, Vern, it was awesome. I won’t give away too much, but it’s about an American musician who never made it big in the States, but was hugely popular in South Africa. Two South Africans made the documentary about tracking him down, since there were rumors of his death, but no one really knew anything about him.

    I loved how half a world away people and society could connect with his music and no one even knew about it.

  157. CJ/Mr. Majestyk – AsimovLives is currently over at Talkbackers (or whatever the name of that website run by ex-AICN talkbackers is called), and in fact have been doing some of their podcasts.

    I’m glad he’s found a wolfpack to call home.

    The Original… Paul – I don’t think M:I 3 and 4 referenced #2 at all, did they? (Yet #4 has more ties to #3 obviously since Abrams co-produced #4.)

    MaggieMayPie – Recently on Cracked.com there was a piece written by some Romanian who wrote about growing up under the communist regime in the 1980s and how they only aired one American TV show during that period: DALLAS. Its funny shit, obviously the commies though evil American capitalist J.R. Ewing would re-enforce the regime’s propaganda. (They even paid the late Larry Hagman to pose for ads and shit.) But instead it backfired because (1) even if he is a dick, Ewing was still an entertaining heel, (2) the fact that a character in America could go from trailer park trash to multi-millionaire with mansions and limos and shit apparently left a deep impression on the population.

    Then again this is nothing new. Allegedly the Soviet Union had plans to wide-release John Ford’s GRAPES OF WRATH across the nation’s (few) cinemas, since that was a movie about the Great Depression when capitalism had failed and all that. Except that good plan was aborted quickly when moviegoers were startled that even these dirtpoor American farmers still owned cars.

  158. So the lunatics finally got their own asylum to run. Good for them.

  159. The Original... Paul

    April 23rd, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    RRA: “I don’t think M:I 3 and 4 referenced #2 at all, did they?”

    Nope, I think they pretty much wrote it out. MI:3, though, actually got some kind of legitimacy… somehow… even though it took a gigantic dump on everything, and I do mean EVERYthing, that made the first one any good. In case you haven’t gathered, that annoyed me. A lot.

    Anyway! Mystique movie! Yay!

  160. Sorry I’m so late to the party. I wholeheartedly agree with Vern. The action looks like it was shot by Michael J. Fox during an earthquake. I had to see the movie a second time and sit all the way in the back to see a decent amount of action.

    I think the younger you are, the more tolerant of shakycam you are. I’ve spoken to a few younguns about this movie and it’s incomprehensible action scenes and they don’t know what I’m talking about. *sigh* Can we please get someone to film an action scene like the ones in Big Trouble in Little China? Thanks!

  161. RRA: I’ve read that people in the Eastern block thought all of the entertainment coming out of the Western countries had to be propaganda. There was no way everyone could have their own car or go to a big store and buy all the food they need. I still think the fall of the Iron Curtain had less to do with political maneuvering and more to do with rock and roll and blue jeans.

  162. I saw it again yesterday and I’m happy to report that it’s still a good movie.

  163. Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the
    pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think
    its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet
    browsers and both show the same results.

  164. So I watched this again today, and I still say that it’s the best post-action movie I’ve ever seen. I mean, if you’re just hardcore anti-post-action then I understand you’re going to have issues, but I had no problems following the flow of the action scenes. I just think that the modern directors and DPs only know this method of filming action scenes. But this was by far the most coherent post-action movie I’ve ever seen.

  165. Somebody recut TWS into an 80s-era Cannon movie trailer.

    (Mr. Majestyk, I think you’ll dig this.)


  166. Did anyone catch AGENT CARTER? It’s decent, off to a stronger start than Agents of SHIELD did anyway in its first 2 episodes. Hayley Atwell is a great actress for a project like this to orbit around. Production vales for a period piece like this are good. Atwell has great chemistry with the guy playing Edwin Jarvis, who one day shall get a computer named after him.

  167. So, that new CIVIL WAR trailer. Seriously promising, but something tells me, the Russos still have no idea how to shoot action.

  168. Well I haven’t peeped any of these since THE AVENGERS (the first movie) but I think I’ll make an exception for this one. Finally looks like they got a compelling and unpredictable plot in one of these flicks for the first time in years.

  169. Apparently WINTER SOLDIER seems to be the new BLADE RUNNER, in terms of super agressive fans, who immediately gang up on you, if you don’t accept their movie as the flawless masterpiece that it is in their opinion.

  170. What? How dare you suggest Winter Solder isn’t a flawless masterpiece? I shall cyberbully you until you change your opinion.

  171. Crushinator Jones

    April 14th, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Winter Soldier is pretty good, but substantially deflates in the third act. I had a good time until then and still think it’s pretty good overall.

  172. If you don’t love TWS then you are a DC fanboy. If you don’t love BVS then you are a Marvel fanboy.

    It’s like a civil war for realz, y’all.

    (Is it jut me, or is there a little pang of geek sadness that Wesley never got to play Black Panther?)

  173. The Original Paul

    April 15th, 2016 at 9:20 am

    CJ – all I can say is, send ’em my way. I’ll make ’em cry.

    And talking of which…

    …So I read something about a “CAPTAIN AMERICA vs IRON MAN” film which, naturally, I assumed was an April Fool’s joke, something like “You fools think Marvel would copy DC’s Batman vs Superman? Haha, gotcha!” Except that according to IMDB, it’s a “thing”. It’s called CIVIL WAR and it’s coming out this year. This may actually be the first movie where, if I ever see it (not likely at this point) I’ll go into it with the expectation of viscerally hating it. The reason is something that’s missing from the IMDB page that I don’t want to spoil here for people who plan on seeing this thing. But the absence of that one thing is enough to convince me that, no matter how positive the reactions to it are (THE FIRST AVENGER got some pretty positive reviews, as far as I can recall, and that was pretty bad) I’m not going to like it. Don’t think that’s ever happened before.

    In conclusion, I want to watch DREDD again.

  174. karlos not really, because he fit the role of Blade way better.

    My instincts told me to avoid Marvel Studios phase 2 (since THE AVENGERS was pretty shitty IMO). Retrospect tells me I was right since I only ever see universal praise for only 2 of those movies (GotG and this one here) which are crappy odds for a gambler such as myself.

    I’ll see if I finally peep WINTER SOLDIER the week when I go see CIVIL WAR but I can’t guarantee that I will. Truth be told I’m just not really interested in this shit even though Evans’ Cap is the only character I really like in that universe.

  175. I’m rewatching the MCU movies for the first time since seeing (some) of them in cinemas and I’ve popped in to say that, while I totally agree that the action here could be clearer, it is leagues ahead of the phase 1 movies.

    Revisiting them, the team behind these movies like to avoid actually doing action scenes where ever they can, almost like they’re saving the budget. I think Iron Man 1&2 (which have aged badly, but I love Rourke) are especially bad, they cheat the fights. I think the MCU has smoothed out a lot of its problems but the fights are still a problem. Black Pather is especially bad for them. I think that Thor and Cap having shields and hammers to chuck about gives the directors more of an excuse to go for wider shots, throwing me a bone here and there. Panther is just fists and claws so they really go in for the TAKEN stuff, so disappointing after Creed. BP still good overall though.

    But yeah, just wanted to say that this one holds up well. Phase 2 is better than Phase 1 in hindsight, really clear water between them.

  176. Currently on a Phase 2 & 3 rewatch, that will lead me to finally watch ENDGAME, which I still haven’t seen because of how personally insulted INFINITY WAR made me feel.

    Anyway, I still can’t wrap my head around the love this one here gets, but I noticed something else by watching THOR 2 and this back to back. It seems like Marvel actually tried to be more “mature” in phase 2. THE DARK WORLD is incredibly color- and joyless for most of its runtime and more Shakespearean than the one that was actually directed by a Shakespeare guy, while THE WINTER SOLDIER tries to add some kind of political post 9/11 blabla, with its not-even-surface-scratching-level speeches about “freedom Vs security” and their (extremely shitty looking) street level action scenes, that are more about fistycuffs and bullets than superheroics. Even IRON MAN 3 felt a bit darker at first, with Tony’s PTSD and the accidental terrorism act that sets the plot in motion, but thankfully Tony Stark’s funny assholery is too much part of his character and Shane Black loves his wisecracking too much, to make this one bitter and boring.

    I’m glad that than James Gunn came along and brought the fun back to the MCU.

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