Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Key Actors: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Synopsis: Post Avengers, this film picks up the story of Steve Rogers–Captain America. Living in Washington D.C. and working for S.H.I.E.L.D, he is adapting to life as a man in his nineties who missed the last seventy years. He struggles with the lack of transparency within S.H.I.E.L.D and eventually has to divine what is truth, what is lies, and who are the real enemies–including one in the form of an old friend.
Overall Rating: 3 1/4 Stars
I must confess, I’m pretty excited about this movie. Captain America is one of my favorites of the plethora of Marvel reboots in the last several years. Steve Rogers is an amazing hero and I think Iron Man is absolutely wrong when he says without a serum, Captain America is nothing. Come on! Why was Steve Rogers chosen to be injected with that serum? Because the serum escalates what already exists. Steve Rogers pre-serum is an upstanding good guy who just doesn’t like bullies. Amplified, he’s a great hero! But I digress.
Captain America is my preferred hero: Honest, brave, genuinely just wants to do the right thing. He doesn’t crave glory or attention. He just doesn’t like bullies. He is so honorable, he can’t bring himself to kill his old friend turned assassin, Bucky, despite that the Winter Soldier is desperately trying to kill him. Love. It.
Bechdel: While this movie had many(ish) great depictions of women (more on that below), it did not pass the Bechdel test. While there are multiple female characters in this movie–none of whom are true romantic interests for Captain America or other male characters–they never talk to each other.
I am continually baffled by the trend of female characters not talking to each other. At best, writers genuinely think women don’t interact (not true–we interact ALL THE TIME!) and at worst, writers want to believe (or actually believe) that women are only useful/interesting/valuable/necessary when interacting with men (also not true).
When will the majority of Hollywood writers realize that humans interact with humans constantly–male, female, white, black, brown, etc., etc.? Seriously, though. It would not have been hard for Black Widow and Agent Hill to have even one conversation (preferably more than one). They were in the same room at the same time a few times, so why not talk to each other? Uggghhhh… Moving on to the good stuff.
Treatment of Women: While this movie failed the Bechdel test as far as women interacting and communicating, there were at least five female characters with names who were pretty amazing. Black Widow featured, of course (when is she getting a movie? She’s been in so many Marvel films, isn’t it about time we get to know her story?), in addition to Agent Hill (played by Cobie Smulders), Agent 13/Kate (played by Emily VanCamp), and Councilwoman Hawley (played by Jenny Agutter). There was also a brief appearance by Hayley Atwell who reprised her role as Peggy Carter.
While Peggy Carter and Councilwoman Hawley made only brief appearances, they were still amazing characters. We know from the first Captain America how great Peggy Carter is. And while Councilwoman Hawley, might be the only woman on the S.H.I.E.L.D council, she is still a powerhouse.
Black Widow, as we are all aware, is one of the most amazing female characters in the thus-far film adaptations of the Marvel universe. She kicks butt, is not present just to be a romantic interest, she’s brilliant, she seems to have a complicated yet fascinating past (come on Black Widow movie!), and she can stand on her own. While the movie poster for this film was rather stupid as concerns Black Widow (who stands like that? Come on poster design people!), and the film just had to include a few instances of Captain America saving Black Widow at the last minute, it can’t be denied when all is said and done she is an independent female character who would probably still be okay without Captain America.
Agent 13 is equally cool. She is assigned to protect Captain America. She is his neighbor and an employee of S.H.I.E.L.D, unbeknownst to the Cap and puts herself into action like nobody’s business! Probably the best part is when Hydra is attempting to launch the deathly hovercrafts, right after Captain America has just disclosed the Hyrda infiltration to S.H.I.E.L.D via intercom, Agent 13 stands up and defends a worker bee who really doesn’t know how to fight. Said worker bee stands up to Hydra, refusing to launch the hovercrafts, but he can’t really defend himself beyond that. Agent 13, who is working nearby and is trained in combat, stands up and defends worker bee, initiating the full blown rebellion against Hydra.
Agent Hill is the brainy assistant to Nick Fury. She is one of his most trusted confidantes, is always in the know, and seems to be the brains behind operating many missions. While Captain America and his associates might do the actual fighting, Agent Hill is the needed all-seeing eye behind the operation. And we know from The Avengers how great of an agent she really is.
Overall, this movie is amazing. It failed the Bechdel test, but despite that, women were not there just to look pretty. And can I just say how awesome Falcon is? The first time he took flight I exclaimed (loudly) at how cool it was.