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 Most Ambitious: The Tree of Life– The goal of Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life is no less than to funnel the creation of the universe through a child. That that child and his family closely resembles the director’s own makes this his most personal film to date as well. With some of the most stunning cinematography you’ll ever see in a movie, Malick captures something elemental in this movie. You may not have liked it, but you’ll never forget it.
The Most Laughs: Bridesmaids–With one of the best comedic ensembles in recent memory, writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumalo paired up with director Paul Feig and producer Judd Apatow to create this hilarious, raunchy comedy about the bond among women. Bridesmaids proves that an ensemble of females can spit vomit and shit just as well as men, which is something Hollywood needed to be force-fed.
Captain America: The First Avenger Directed by: Joe Johnston Written by: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Joe Simon & Jack Kirby (comic books) Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, and Tommy Lee Jones
If you’re sick of super hero or war movies, it might be wise to avoid the inevitable screen adaptation of Captain America. Slated as the last prequel before next year’s The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger takes place the furthest back in time: during World War II.
What’s most curious about The Avenger prequels- Iron Man & Iron Man II, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, this movie- is how different they are stylistically. That’s because they were all headed by different directors with different talents. Thor was at its best when it showed the “fish out of water” aspect of its viking, while the Iron Man movies worked best as vehicles for Robert Downey Jr.’s motormouth delivery.