The first film didn’t do as well as the Iron Man series, and rightly so. It didn’t do more than just set the stage for Captain America to be a part of the Avengers, as well as create the premise for the ensemble film. But this…this film can stand right up on its own two feet as a fantastic addition to the Marvel family.
The premise is set deep in the now, which is an interesting contrast to the previous film (and Marvel films in general). It touches on topics that are of significance to us in the present; the balance of freedom vs. security is something governments have been grappling with for years now. Of course, the message put out is that freedom is what matters, which is politically correct. The portrayal of ‘security’ is demonised to the point of being villainous. But it remains a very relevant question for us to address, because before we know it, things could end up like in the film, or more appropriately, 1984.
The great, down-to-earth, gritty action is a very different approach for Marvel, now used to big budget CGI for massive destruction. The plot twist came as a bit of a surprise, and the dialogue is decently witty; though without Robert Downey Jr.’s charm, it doesn’t seem as funny.
Scarlett Johansson continues to show that she can carry a blockbuster on her own as Black Widow, with tender moments and really kick-ass moments. Marvel, seriously, Sony is about to do a female superhero film. Time to knuckle down and push out the Black Widow movie EVERYONE IS WAITING FOR.
On that note, Hawkeye needs more love. Give him more love, Kevin Feige.
Also, there are plenty of teasers. Stephen Strange is name-dropped, Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver appear in the mid-credits scene, the STRIKE guy survives and could well be a villain, and Bucky actually had a scene where he held on to Captain America’s shield as if it were his own. Since Steve Rogers did die in the comics to be replaced by Bucky, it’s clear that Captain America’s mantle will be handed off to Bucky in a later film, if/when Steve dies.
And that Pulp Fiction reference on Nick Fury’s fake gravestone. Damn you, Marvel, for being so in tune with pop culture!