Last out before Avengers 2 in Marvel’s “Phase Two” is Captain America: The Winter Solider. Though Iron Man 3 is nearing release and Thor: The Dark World is moving along smoothly, little is currently known about the Captain America sequel, and a solid shooting date hasn’t even been set yet.
To me, Captain America: The First Avenger was kind of an obligatory movie. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but it was mostly a 2-hour trailer for The Avengers as the plan for a superhero team movie was already in place long before The First Avenger was ever conceptualized. They had to make a Captain America movie, and if there was one major flaw in The Avengers, it’s that it was made painfully clear that no one knows what to do with Captain America.
So even though I love Captain America, loved The First Avenger, and loved The Avengers, my general feeling at the announcement of Captain America: The Winter Soldier was “meh.”
This is despite the fact that the planned film boasts a great cast with Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Maria Hill all returning to join Frank Grillo’s villain Crossbones, Anthony Mackie’s ally Falcon, and Emily Van Camp’s Sharon Carter. Further, the main villain will likely be a resurrected Bucky Barnes from The First Avenger if the comics are anything to go by.
Okay, but I still don’t really feel it yet. Of course I’ll go see it, but because I have to.
That’s why today’s announcement regarding Captain America: The Winter Soldier perked my ears up some. Speaking with Variety, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige described the Joseph and Anthony Russo helmed sequel as a “political thriller,” giving us a good idea of the film’s tone.
To me, this announcement is simply marvelous (no pun intended, I swear). First, it says a lot about Marvel’s “Phase Two.” While “Phase One” was about character introductions, leading in to The Avengers, “Phase Two” is a chance for Marvel to try something new instead of repeating everything that made “the old” successful. Iron Man has always worked on his own, but Thor and Captain America got kind of shoe-horned into an at-time awkward sci-fi/fantasy genre. That worked great for “Phase One,” but Marvel is really letting these characters stand on their own feet for “Phase Two.” Thor: The Dark World will see the Asgardian amid a more mythological, Game of Thrones-esque backdrop, so why shouldn’t Captain America be placed in a made-over universe all his own?
Second, it seems evidence to me that Marvel has figured out what to do with a character who was designed as an exemplar of American patriotism during the WWII-Nazi era. Captain America is a little out of place in our world (and that’s part of the story) so figuring out how everything that works about his character can be used now without turning him into propaganda-bot 2.0 against extremist Islam is an appealing idea. Imagine a 24-esque Steve Rogers, and you’ve got a recipe for success in my book.
“The ‘political thriller’ aspect makes this movie sound like more of a grounded adventure than its WWII predecessor,” notes First Showing, “so we’ll see if Marvel can have as much success branching out into new genres as they have in the past.”
I can finally say I’m excited for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. What’s your take? Oh, and here’s Alison Brie as Captain America because … well, just because.