: The Winter Soldier
(Chris Evans) is how we would all like our heroes to be:
strong, intelligent, patriotic, invincible in combat but somehow not
too full of himself. Oh, and maybe
normal enough to have a slight interest in the opposite gender (but nothing
too demanding, we’re too busy saving the world from itself).
There are certain problems, though,
with being indestructible: you
don’t age, and everyone else around you does.
, being too undersized to enlist in World War II, allows himself to be
injected with a certain serum that made him taller, stronger, faster,
quicker, and smarter. (Could we have
one of those pills, please?) He helps
save us from the Nazis, and since then he’s been happily working for the
government in covert operations, but lately it just hasn’t been the same.
It seems that the government, here
represented by Defense Secretary Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) and
covert ops mentor Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), has become too powerful for
its own good. There’s apparently a
secret organization within the huge Homeland Security bureaucracy which is
dedicated to gaining complete control, not only by wiretapping and secretly
monitoring everyone (does any of this sound familiar?) but also by secretly
building a kind of Star Wars-type Death Star, that would have the ability to
instantly destroy any recalcitrants, even millions at a time.
Yes, it seems the issue is giving up personal freedom in the name of
security, which updates Captain
right into the present day.
But even Captain
needs a little help from his friends. Enter
“The Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), a super-agent
of indeterminate origin who’s not a love interest, but teases our intrepid
warrior about not having a girlfriend. (“How
about that nice girl down the hall?”) Captain
America not only must decide who is friend and who is foe (sometimes in the
midst of a battle), but he is also stunned to come across an old friend who
appears to have switched sides, and he is really not emotionally prepared
for that level of personal betrayal. Even
’s indestructible shield can’t defend his delicate sensibilities.
Sure, it’s comic book stuff, but
it’s good comic book stuff. Chris Evans manages to pull off this role with
hardly any irony, and Scarlett Johansson just plain seems to be enjoying
herself. It’s good to see Robert
Redford in a speaking role again; he’s convincing as the oily-smooth
diplomat with the heart of stone.
Yes, it’s also a “message
movie,” about the evils of the unbridled “security” agenda, but it’s
also comforting to know that Captain America, unsullied super-warrior, is
still out there defending us from our evil enemies, even in the clever
disguise of sanguine politicians. “Whoever
has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St.
Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,