Captain America: The Winter Soldier Directed by: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo Written by: Christopher Maruks and Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Ed Brubaker (story), Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (comic book) Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Redford
Even with an admittedly heavy case of Marvel fatigue, I enjoyed the second installment in Captain America’s part of the franchise. There was an edge and spontaneity to both the story and its telling that made it feel like more than just an obligatory stepping stone to another Avengers. Hell, I enjoyed this one more than The Avengers.
The Winter Soldier centers on an internal struggle involving mass surveillance and gigantic drones. None of the characters are who they initially appear to be, except of course the good Captain (Chris Evans). He is the one consistent element in a story with twists that are often obvious but never obnoxious. (Spoilers) Yes, a major character who dies didn’t actually die. Yes, with just seconds left, the world is saved again.
The Adjustment Bureau Directed by: George Nolfi Written by: George Nolfi (screenplay), Philip K. Dick (short story) Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie
Let’s get it out of the way early: this is the first good studio release of 2011. Right out of the movie purgatory that is January and February is The Adjustment Bureau, a science fiction movie grounded in the real world, playing by its own bogus rules. It’s got the blood of The Matrix rushing through it as well as the eerie atmosphere of a Roman Polanski film.
Another thing this movie has are two excellent star turns from its lead actors, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt as David and Elise. As they flee God and his army of Mad Men-esque guardian angels (headed by none other than that show’s John Slattery), their blooming romance is totally palpable. Their chemistry together is the movie’s biggest selling point and also one of it’s key strengths.