In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, our first Avenger contemplates what it means to be Captain America (Chris Evans) instead of just Steve Rodgers and if he’s still cut out to be a super hero at 95 years old. Meanwhile, Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is working on activating three super drones that detect a person’s future as a terrorist.
If one of these drones deems you a future terrorist, it kills you. The drones are supposed to bring about world peace. And, just when it seemed like things weren’t interesting enough in Captain America 2, S.H.I.E.L.D. is having a mole problem that sees Director Fury in a compromised position.
This latest film in the Captain America/The Avengers franchise also revisits Captain America’s past and attempts to bring him up to speed on his life. His former lady, Peggy (Hayley Atwell), is now ancient. His former BFF, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), may or may not be alive. And, his former arch nemesis, Hydra, is trying to make a comeback.
While Christopher Markus’ and Stephen McFeely’s story structure (based on concept and story by Ed Brubaker, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby) is fresh, it feels a little been there, done that. The saving grace of the film is the introduction of a new super villain, The Winter Soldier and a new friend/superhero/wingman for Cap in the form of The Falcon, also known as Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie).
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Captain America 2 has all the trappings of a Marvel-ready franchise film and it stays true to the universe that is Marvel. But, how significant is this Captain? Alas, reviving Hydra as a super threat just makes the franchise seem old and lacking in viable storylines. Couldn’t we have gotten a new super villain to love or hate?
Even though I am a bit disappointed about the revivals in Captain America, I am very pleased that The Falcon has taken flight. I had the opportunity to speak with Mackie early last year when it was first announced that he would play The Falcon in this installment and The Avengers 2.
“The Falcon is a really cool character. Basically, the Falcon had three incarnations in his Marvel life span,” said Mackie, a man who carefully chooses his roles to positive results. “They took all three and put them all together into one character. So, he’s an a**-kicking, jet-pack flying cool black dude.”
After seeing the film, I can say assuredly that Mackie is not exaggerating. Indeed, The Falcon holds his own, just like Natasha Romanoff also known as The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), is a regular human being who’s skilled enough to have super-hero-like skills.
Now that Mackie has joined the ranks of black men in prominent roles in superhero films (think: Don Cheadle in Iron Man, Jackson in The Avengers franchise, and now Jamie Foxx in The Amazing Spider-Man 2), it feels like it’s time for them to get their own films. Maybe it’s asking too much, but can we get an origin story on Nick Fury? Markus and McFeely touch on some of Fury’s back story, but the film leaves the audience wondering what happened to Fury to bring him to this point? S.H.I.E.L.D. director Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) touches on Fury as a young, hotheaded commander, but it’s not enough to satisfy.
Now that we have different shades infiltrating the Marvel franchise films, we are left wanting more; at least I am. I want to see more colorful superheroes or humans with super suits. I would like to see more females get a shot at superhero (or super suit) status, as well. Can the Black Widow get a BFF other than Hawkeye? Can the Black Captain America also known as Isaiah Bradley get his own franchise?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, while thoroughly enjoyable to watch (in 2D!) makes me want more, which means the film has done its job. Except for when it comes to the Joss Whedon-directed bonus scene. Good luck trying to figure out the next franchise film from that. Although, Whedon might be a glaring clue himself.
In the meantime, Mackie’s words from last year serve to pacify things for now. Everything has its season. He said, “To say that I’m in the conversation with Don Cheadle and Sam Jackson is cool with me. If it’s the three of us that get the opportunity to play superheroes I’m glad to be one of the three. It’s good people to be associated with.” Indeed.