Comic books were anathema, banned from my home growing up; they were not worthy of reading, in the “eyes” of my parents; my siblings and I “drank the cool aid” and wallowed in the worlds of Hans Christian Andersen, “Nancy Drew”, “Hardy Boys” and “Cherry Ames”. So the marvelous “Marvel” action figures are refreshingly unveiled in the darkened, contemporary confines of the theatre.
Viewed with a pristine mental palette “Steve Rogers” (Chris Evans) was transformed from a slight, wimpy boy from Brooklyn into “Captain America: The First Avenger, 2011”; a pivotal force in WWII, frozen and awakened seventy years later (we thought “Sleeping Beauty” had a major adjustment), he is now the “poster boy” for saving the universe.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a perfectly blended concoction of heroes, villains, machines of cataclysmic capabilities; it looks good, sounds good and is immensely entertaining; ignore obfuscations; complexities: clarified .
Interestingly, the characters in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” are substantive; their personalities, astutely defined, meaty, unlike facile interpretations of a myriad of super -heroes and miscreants. Chris Evans, is devastatingly delightful as our hero; besides his astral traits as Captain America, he is a nice guy who has a difficult time adjusting to his chronological age (95) with the visage he sees in the mirror; his relationship with the “Black Widow” (Scarlett Johansson) borders on the jejune. Samuel L. Jackson as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (peaceniks), “Nick Fury” is intrepid and intelligent; his maimed vision does not negate his power. Anthony Mackie, “Falcon” imbues his role with levity and humility; reminiscent of Icarus, his flights flirt with, but never touch the sun. Robert Redford, no longer the beleaguered sailor in “All is Lost” wraps his talents around “Alexander Pierce”, dapperly-dressed, clandestine head of “Hydra” (coined after the mythological creature with multiple heads).
The most riveting and complex character is the “winter soldier”, the iniquitous force that must be annihilated; a weapon of universal destruction has a murky history; Sebastian Stan sinks his pneumatic pectorals into the role, and squeezes.
“Captain America: the Winter Soldier” validates that is it never too late to “marvel” at the imaginative, stratospheric vision that commenced in 1939.