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.
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.
Thor Directed by: Kenneth Branagh Written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, & Don Payne (screenplay), Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, & Jack Kirby (comic) Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Hiddleston
It’s almost hard not to write off Thor as the beginning of an onslaught of mindless summer action movies. However, with its welcome injection of humor and a toned-down scale, it rises above that classification if only by a little bit.
The best moments of Thor occur outside Asgard, the homeworld of its hero, in a small town in New Mexico. He arrives there much like many movie aliens, and director Kenneth Branagh riffs off this aspect quite well. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) brings alien customs (which closely resembles stereotypical viking culture) to such places as small-town diners and hospital rooms. In one hilarious instance, he smashes a glass down on the floor and demands a refill.