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blue eyes

Movie of the Week: Captain America - The Winter Soldier

Firstly... Mea culpa, I've missed blogging a few Movies of the Week. Unfortunately - after a couple of weeks of no movie-going - I've already forgotten which movies I missed putting up here, so that doesn't say very much for them, does it? Anyhow, to resume in the middle...

After enjoying the first Captain America outing I was looking forward to The Winter Soldier, and was not disappointed.

Let me say right from the start I do  not read comics - or, at least, I haven't done since a brief foray into Superman and a few others - mostly DC - etc. aged about 13 many, many years ago. My dad bought them 'for me' and I lost them when my grandma decided I didn't need them any more and threw them out without asking. (That still hurts!) Anyhow. Capt. America was not one of the few that I ever read, so I've come to the Marvel Universe entirely without preconceptions, so the movies not only have to stand alone (which they do) but they also have less chance of pissing me off because they didn't do this or that as depicted in this or that issue of this or that comic. Whatever the film-makers need to do to make a comic into a movie is all right by me, as long as it works.

In Winter Soldier I liked the fact that Steve Rogers is still in mourning for his past while getting on with the present and trying not to think too much about the future. I enjoyed the not-so-subtle dig at America's post 9/11 War on Terror and subsequent freedom-limiting programme of countermeasures. The oft-repeated who-do-you-trust theme is always good value (hey, I've used it myself). I would have preferred a little less crash-bang-wallop, but at least the explosions were not at the expense of the characterisation, which is so often left on the cutting room floor in action movies (George Lucas, I'm looking at you!)

I also like the fact that the movie goes places that it can't easily return from. There's no magic reset button at the end of this movie and the next Marvel movie - and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - will have to take the events into account to remain credible unless Steve is going to do a Bobby Ewing and wake up oin the floor of the shower and it's all been a dream.

One comment, though. After Avengers Assemble, is it credible to believe that with such an upheaval going on right under their collective noses, that Iron Man and Hulk kept out of it. They got a brief mention, but only peripherally. (I'll forgive Thor for not turning up if he was in Asgard.)

Recommended. Go see it!


The "Why didn't the Avengers Help Out" problem is one you just have to ignore in 90% of superhero comic adventures. Spider-Man has foiled many rampaging threats that one would expect would draw the attention of one of the other three or four DOZEN superheroes in and around NYC, yet most of the time he does it completely solo. It's just part of the genre you have to accept; for some reason, the other heroes don't get involved, and it's rarely explained except for egregious cases (i.e., you see the battle going PAST Avengers' Mansion, you will get SOME explanation as to why a whole bunch of costumed heroes don't come charging out).
In the early days of Marvel, when the idea of a 'universe' was in development, Stan Lee used to mention either in dialogue or in text boxes, what all the other super-heroes were doing at that point and why they couldn't intervene. (This was also, of course, good publicity.)

Eventually, the Marvel Universe grew so big that this had to stop. There are currently 6 or 7 books with Avengers in their titles (Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers World, Avengers AI, Uncanny Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Avengers Assemble - just cancelled - and I'm not sure if Secret Avengers is still running) not to mention that a number of X-Men are Avengers as well and there are nearly as many X-Men books, and then many of the characters also have their own titles...

I was hoping, with the MCU being so much smaller that they could slip in one-line equivalents to "Of course, the FF are battling Galactus over in FF#? and Iron Man is having to fight off another attempt to take over his company in IM #?" No such luck.
Well, the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't include the FF, the X-Men, or Spider-Man. Prior to Marvel really getting rolling on their own movies, certain of their properties, including those above, got licensed to other studios (as shown in this neat infographic: http://comicsalliance.com/marvel-character-film-rights-infographic/). As these licenses are extremely valuable, the studios in question are not likely to relinquish their hold on them.

So currently the MCU consists of The Avengers and its separate components -- Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Cap, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and SHIELD. Of those, Hulk tends to just be off doing his Hulky thing, Iron Man is a high-pressure businessman running all over the place and is just as likely to be in Japan (per the Iron Man anime) as anywhere he could help out Cap, Thor's an extradimensional god, and they did include BW and SHIELD.

Technically, Ghost Rider COULD be in the MCU, but I don't think they chose to include him.
Which means that they could do the equivalent with the properties they own - and, in particular, other members of the Avengers and SHIELD far more easily. I have a lot of quarrels with IM3 (which I dislike intensely) but the idea that no one dealt with the threat of the Mandarin, or tried to contact Tony or Pepper, or went looking at the Malibu house is plain ridiculous. It could have been dealt with - it wasn't and I'm furious about it.
blue eyes

April 2017



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