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STUDIO Marvel Studios
RUNNING TIME 136 minutes
- On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America’s Battlegrounds
- On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check!
- Steve Rogers’ Notebook
- Audio Commentary with Directors Anthony & Joe Russo with Writers Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
Encino Man Meets All The President’s Men. With MMA thrown in for good measure.
Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Sebastian Stan, and Robert Redford as a Leather Chair
Steve Rogers is a man out of time. Frozen alive for nearly 70 years, Rogers finds himself working for the military organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D., all the while looking for a sense of self. All of this literally blows up in his face when Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is assassinated right in front of Rogers. Now, Rogers can’t trust anyone as he races against the clock to find out who shot Fury before more disaster strikes.
This is a really, really, really, really, really good movie. Even on its own, Cap 2 stands far above other standard action films that have come out recently. With sharp characters, tight plotting, and clear action, this is, far and away, the best Marvel movie yet, and one of the most fun movies of the year.
The best thing this movie does is set itself apart from Cap 1. While First Avenger was a decent enough film, there was something missing in its execution. It hit all the marks and got Cap into popsicle mode so he could play with the Avengers™. Now, having that economically motivated sanction lifted, we can play with our fun new character.
The movie tackles heavy (and prescient) subjects, with mass wire tapping, surveillance, government secrets, and Nazi-type organizations secretly heading the U.S. Government. But that last part’s not so prescient. At least, not according to the editorial staff here at CHUD.com. Any views are subject to that of the author.
Those heavy hitting issues juxtaposed against Steve Rogers’s unflappable moral code make this movie shine. Chris Evans as Cap is a boy scout, but a much cooler, wittier boy scout this time around. It helps us love Cap so much more, as he’s a much less square-shouldered, square-jawed man than he has been. Here, he’s vulnerable and unsure of where he fits in. That vulnerability is potent and makes the connections with his teammates all the more satisfying.
The script here is incredibly smart. Borrowing heavily from 70’s thrillers, the tone of Cap 2 is so, so good and exciting, especially for a blockbuster like this. Instead of throwing nothing but set pieces at us, we get to invest in who our characters are. The best example of this movie’s emotional heart lies with Steve and a dying Peggy Carter, played magnificently by Hayley Atwell under digital old lady make-up. It’s a scene that could’ve been easily cut had it been Marvel first starting out, but it shows real character. It shows Steve being so out of his element, but also being the good man he’s always been. When Peggy has a lapse of memory and rediscovers Steve being alive, your heart breaks. So I skip over it every time because I hate feeling things.
The supporting cast is outstanding as well. I mean, Robert Redford’s in it, which is cause enough to start a riot of celebration out in the streets. Redford brings legitimacy and a far different approach to typical villains in superhero movies. His Alexander Pierce is very, very level headed (save for the time when he shoots his house keeper). What’s even worse is how real it all sounds coming from his calm, political tongue. It’s a stroke of genius and elevates the Marvel brand even more to have a powerhouse like Redford playing ball here. But this isn’t a review of Marvel’s financial decisions, it’s a review of the movie.
The other highlight is Anthony Mackie as Sam “the Falcon” Wilson. Cap 2 could’ve been invincible people fighting other invincible people, so it’s a stroke of greatness that they added a wholly unremarkable guy, save for his cool wing suit. He’s a post-war vet, out of the service, and a big believer in doing the right thing. He’s a guy built from the same stuff as Cap, only without the being built like a superhero part. He’s a fantastic character and he’s played with effortless charm by Mackie. I love him. And so should you.
One of the absolute best things about this movie is how real and tangible this film feels. Instead of operating in a zero-g computer generated set-piece, each backdrop has some sort of real life texture layered into the scene. That’s all thanks to directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who bent over backwards to make an outlandish premise into something grounded. Not real or gritty, but grounded. Every single set piece is practical or looks incredibly practical and the wow factor is enhanced by a jillion when you actually see Nick Fury shooting a real tiny gatling gun out of his real beat up SUV in real traffic. It helps to have a legitimately grounded movie playing with things like flying aircraft carriers.
The package here is pretty slim, but just substantial enough to still recommend a rent.
Here, we got three featurettes. On the Front Line is a general behind the scenes look at the movie magic that makes movies magical. It’s nice to see all the hard work that gets put into movie making, but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before.
Steve Rogers’ Notebook goes over the different iterations of his famous notebook all around the world. Note: in England, Sean Connery is in the notebook. What a fun fact! Right?
The most amusing is On Set with Anthony Mackie, where we learn that Mackie has a real life catch phrase anytime he does anything really awesome. In a separate and unrelated item, I’m going to start yelling, “Cut the check!” anytime I do anything good with a lady. Wait, no, pretend I didn’t type that.
The highlight of the disc is the audio commentary, where we find out just how much of geniuses the Russo brothers are. They jumped through hurdles to make sure that everything made logical sense. It’s a thoroughly informative, thoroughly entertaining listen that also makes reference to the guy that played Simmons from Community.
Rounding out the disc is a short gag reel and three deleted scenes that add nothing, nothing at all so ignore them. Unless you want to watch them.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars