Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Solider(2014)

I really can’t believe it has been this long. I mean Captain America 2 is still playing in some obscure movie theaters around me but for the most part its time to wait for it to be released on DVD. It has been a solid 6 years now that Marvel has been releasing movies now more attached to Marvel as a studio. Of course there has been Superman, Batman and Green Lantern from DC Comics. But Marvel has really stepped it up ever since Iron Man and the Edward Norton Hulk.


Summer 2011 marked the first Captain America movie. I have to admit that I enjoyed it but the whole story behind Steve Rogers is not really that interesting. Its important but is not very interesting. Here’s why. We like Iron Man and Tony Stark because Stark is sort of a jerk, a genius, a billion dollars man and a womanizer. But what he is really known for and what makes him the most prominent in his business is his weapon making Stark industries. Here is a man who does not see the destruction of his ways..well until he gets forced to see it. Stark takes his bad boy, bad attitude, glamorous lifestyle and uses it for good. He gets the conviction and creates what everyone never would have thought he could have done. Bruce Wayne(Batman) does kind of the same thing. Both Stark and Wayne become self-made superheroes. However, Captain America is already sort of a good guy and loyal and is supposed to represent the sincere soldier patriot that we assume everyone is before they go to Iraq and Afghanistan. But this sequel plays it in a whole new and very non-boring way.


Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and Ed Brubaker. Based on the comic by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan

Plot/Overview: Set some time after Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 and really very soon after The Avengers, Steve Rogers is adapting to life in Washington, D.C. Jogging around the Lincoln Memorial with elapsed time effect Steve meets Sam Wilson(a.k.a. Falcon) and introduces him to music he should listen to. Steve is also accompanied by Black Widow and that Cobie Smulders girl. Steve is thrown into his next mission in partnership with a bunch of CIA renegade types(meaning, they look like renegades). An apprehension of a ship taken captive by “pirates.” The plot thickens and turns against the ones you wouldn’t expect it. Nick Fury gets ambushed in his bulletproof car(which makes for an epic scene!) and almost dies. Steve soon discovers that he can’t really trust anyone. Up comes to the surface the Robert Redford guy(Alexander Pierce) who says, “to build a better world, sometimes means tearing the old one down, and that makes enemies..” Of Course this elicits Steve’s main line of the whole movie. He says, “I used to know what is right( or the right thing to do) but I don’t know anymore!” Essentially this is the good guy Steve questioning his moral compass and pressing the issue. It gets revealed that the Winter Soldier is actually Bucky(his best friend in life before he became Captain America).

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. I really think I even need to see this movie again. I saw it right when it came out in April and was watching in 3-D so some details have slipped my mind. In the end Falcon fights and the Captain lives on and the Winter Soldier is not dead. They really could make a third movie and I think they should.

The deeper meaning


I think comic books throw us off because we don’t expect them sometimes to point their fingers on deep political issues, but they can serve as very relevant pieces of art that expose our justice system. I think the whole idea of shield is similar to the idea of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act and Homeland Security and the NSA. It seems as if in order to keep America safe from terrorism that we have to develop these multidimensional secret teams and underground operations in order to “keep America safe.” Our secret torture of prisoners( or otherwise possible terrorist) in Guantanamo Bay. Its probably not so much of a secret now but it takes place. The C.I.A. and the US government has let the people believe a lot of things in order to always cover up what really is going on. S.H.I.E.L.D. borders the line of keeping people safe and protecting them with also possibly putting our “super” heroes in harms way or in a compromising way in order to keep people safe. Its a tension and its a reality.

Do we really need these super powered freaks to keep us safe. ‘No one does good, not even one!’ How can normal people with special abilities know even how to do the right thing? Sometimes, its because they are the only ones willing to do it. Captain America borders this line and question. Power hungry people like Robert Redford in this movie will always be fighting to tear down the walls of safety and the illusion of protection. Doing right becomes more of a personal, subjective conviction, rather then a general claim that we put up as people. Steve represents the good intentions of the military but the negative imprint it leaves on men and their minds and their families.

In conclusion, “its not freedom, its fear!” The building of a new world means that the system has to be questioned and tested. Aside from all of these political thoughts the action in this movie far surpasses most of the Marvel movies. And the scene in the elevator when Captain says, “before we start, does anyone want to get out?”

Who will do what needs to be done? Even if it means compromising what you believe to be right and wrong.

Everyone should see this movie..seriously see it.

Top Ten Most Memorable Movie Experiences, Pt. 2

The top ten countdown continues. It really is even hard to just narrow it down to ten memorable movies. I am only talking of movie theater/opening day/opening night-experiences. For the record ,I would say that when Star Wars Episodes 4,5 and 6 all with remastered sound in the 90’s, was the most hyped up I have ever seen people. Following that was Titanic in 1997. By far those were epic in emotion and looking back now they still stand out. This is why the new Star Wars will cause the earth to spin twice in one day. Who cares if its Disney, its gonna be worshiped.

To continue 6-10 in the countdown..

#6 Superman Returns And Batman Begins( Summer 2005 and 2006)


2004 marked my first year in Kansas City and my first movie experience in any Kansas City theater was when Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins was released. My good and long time east coast friend Gregory James broke it down for me. What I mean is he read the comic and I did not. And who could resist the scene when Bruce Wayne’s dad rolls down into the water well and says to Bruce, “Don’t be afraid!” Batman takes his darkness, takes his fears and builds a new life as a superhero.

Superman Returns


From October 2005 to October 2006 I worked at the Palazzo theater on 135th street in Overland Park, Kansas. Pretty much the Orange County of Kansas. Again, greg and I took the late show(which after I worked all night til 6am). Bryan Singer( who is a Christian) seemed to really tie in some theological meaning. Really, I was mostly in awe of the last 30 to 40 minutes. Superman appears to die when the kryptonite interacts to close to him. He falls from the sky and crashes to the earth. He gets up and the white line hospital bed sheets are neatly folded as if he was never there. Not reading to much into it, but in terms of the emotion of the moment I was gripped with awe at that. But even more so, when Superman then visits his son( apparently Lois Lane and Superman had a super-baby) he says, “And the son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son.” Classic. Superman still does play off that God-Man thing. Where he is like a deity just enclosed and covered up in flesh.

Movie #5 The Dark Knight( July 2008)


I wrote a post a couple years ago called ‘My Dark Knight’ and by far this movie really should be #1 in terms of absolute movie theater mania. However, I said in that post and will say again, that this film was incredibly twisted and deceptive. I think what really threw me off was the fact that I was with all my IHOP-KC friends. It was my summer after graduating from IHOPU and my first summer working with David Sliker and Brent Steeno at Awakening Teen Camp. (as I have not yet detailed in this blog yet) but I had my own mental set of issues and struggles that had occurred October of 2007. During my last year of school while I was on the Night watch. While I was recovering from severe panic attacks and lots of sleepless night Heath Ledger passed away January 2008. And it was almost as if myself and Heath were battling the same thing, except his ended in severe tragedy. What struck me the most  was watching people dress up like the Joker, as if his complexities and insanity were to be worshiped. It was if the darkness of the role created more curiosity in all of us. I am not condemning anyone, however, I can never see this movie again and by far it was the most pumped up I have ever seen people.

Movie #5 Summer 2009 Disappointments

Just gonna say Terminator Salvation mega made me dislike everything I had loved, especially my devotion to the very short lived 2 seasons of the Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox. Sorry McG, you did not deliver..

Terminator Salvation

I was also mega let down by X-Men Wolverine Origins..which they have been better since then but my midnight hype was very disappointing. I just remember staying up even later then that to watch Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies, which happened to be my netflix in the mail movie that deserves a whole post on how that movie is awesome.

Movie #4 Inception(Summer 2010)

The highlight of this summer was ATC at its best and the Awakening at IHOPU..but in terms of slipping out to see a summer film Inception delivered on multiple levels. It was a 10 year process in writing for Christopher Nolan. If you have the idea, don’t give up on it!.


Movie #3 Super 8(Summer 2011)


Goonies meet the Explorers meets something very original and striking..all through that J.M. Barrie kind of thing where its all throug the lens of kids..genius..much love to J.J. Abrams, please don’t bomb on the new Star Wars!

Movie #2 Avengers and Dark Knight Rises(Summer 2012)



You don’t really have to explain these films..the magic and the awe of both of them made them some high contenders and probably the most lucrative of films. The only other film that seemed to generate more buzz in 2012 was The Hunger Games..and you all know how that has turned out. Avengers was one of the most memorable midnight viewing that I can remember.

Most Recent and perhaps the most memorable at #1: Silver Linings Playbook( January 2013)


Let’s be clear here. I really should write an entire post on this film and I recently just bought the Mathew Quick novel, which seems to be even better than this film. My bias toward loving this movie so much is my own battle with bipolar diagnosis and anxiety and sleeplessness as well as deep depression. Shame and guilt plague the some 25 percent of adults that will run into a mental battle. Going to the hospital, seeing doctors, doing therapy and going to support groups for your unseen illness all can bear unnecessary stigma. This movie also touches on the generational gaps that can take place between our dads of the baby boomer generation and how they relate to us now. It does ring true that sometimes uniting around football is the only way dad’s can relate to their much to tell, but so worth seeing..