Thursday, August 28, 2014

Awesome Writing in Media, Part 5: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Because I'm nice, below are links to the first four parts of this series (or you can search by the tag Awesome Writing in Media on the right in the sidebar).

Part 1: Joss Whedon

Part 2: Quentin Tarantino

Part 3: Horrible Bosses

Part 4: The Book of Mormon

So we're at part five, which, if you couldn't tell from the title, is about a comic book movie.


For those of you rolling your eyes right now, feel free to click the little "X" in the corner. But I recommend that you don't... Captain America: The Winter Soldier is completely deserving of a place in this series.

There have been comic book movies for a long time spanning different franchises, but I'm not going to talk about those, either in terms of their successes or failures. We'll save that for another time. However, I will say that Marvel seems to be getting it right where others haven't quite succeeded in the same way (caveat: Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy is kind of its own animal). The Marvel movies are well thought-out, carefully crafted, and have a great continuity spanning the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The concrete schedule for these movies now easily goes into the late 20-teens with rumors of movies being scheduled out as far as the late 2020s, which in this time of "let's do a sequel to this movie 20 years after the original, yeah, that'll work!" movie-making, is almost unheard of.

And while, as I said, there is plenty of continuity between the movies, they each feel as unique as they are similar. That probably doesn't make sense, but whatever. A viewer won't confuse Iron Man or Thor (the movies or the heroes), and Guardians of the Galaxy, which has been kicking ass at the box office this summer, has a distinct sense of humor and a swashbuckling feel to it--kind of like if Star Wars had been entirely about Han Solo and Chewie (but with much better writing...sorry, George Lucas). That movie probably deserves its own entry here too, but for the rest of this, I'm going to concentrate on Cap.

The first Captain America movie was good. It had a vintage feel to it with it being 99% set in the 1940s, and it gave Chris Evans a chance to prove his acting chops in a role as something other than a smart-ass frat-boy. It all worked. We rooted for skinny Steve Rogers and post-serum Capt. America Steve Rogers. But it's the rare movie that outclasses its predecessor.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was a fun, well-acted, action-packed movie, but above all else, the writing was superb. We got a smart political thriller--think Three Days of the Condor starring Robert Redford (who, incidentally, is also in CA: TWS, and who is awesome as always) with a side of super hero action. I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone, but I will say that there are plenty of twists and turns during the film, and it's a credit to the writers that they managed to keep them from tangling. The writers also didn't treat the audience like a collection of idiots; they assumed you were paying attention and keeping up with what was happening. I can't remember there being any plot holes (really big ones, at least). The pacing was good--difficult to do in any type of movie, though in my inexpert opinion, I'd probably guess that it's hardest to achieve in a fast-paced action film) and the movie never felt like it was moving too quickly or too slowly. In fact, I remember having no inclination to check my watch. But I did have the urge to see the movie again immediately.

If you're on the fence about watching some of these, they often get better. Avengers was written and directed by Joss Whedon (the subject of Part 1), as will be Avengers: Age of Ultron. The writing in the Phase 1 movies (the earliest in the MCU) was good, but some of the more recent ones (CA: TWS, Avengers, GotG) are better writing-wise by leaps and bounds.

Have you seen CA: TWS? What did you think?

xoxo Sarah

No comments:

Post a Comment