After I saw this in the theater, I thought it perhaps the greatest comic book movie ever made. Obviously I was wowed by the amazing visuals, hand-to-hand fight scenes and pithy dialogue between the Captain and ScarJo. On a second viewing, while still plenty entertaining, the movie might be too ridiculous to even own.
Granted, in this universe, the technology is so bonkers that literally anything is possible.
Here’s my problems:
- The movie begins with Captain America and ScarJo rescuing a kidnapped ship. The kidnappers were Algerian, the ship was in the Indian Ocean. Why Algerian? Because they had a badass guy who spoke French. ScarJo’s primary assignment: retrieve a flash drive for Samuel L. Jackson. Apparently the flash drive has very important information on it. A scientist working for SHIELD (who is the NSA, CIA, FBI and Avengers all combined into one) was on this freighter out in the middle of the ocean. What? Why would he be on this ship? His presence seems weird to Chris Evans, who makes a point of mentioning it. If the info is so important, why is it on a flash drive?
- A few scenes later, Sam Jackson is attacked on the street in broad daylight by, guess who, the Winter Soldier. Miraculously, Sam is carrying some type of super intense hole cutting device and he is able to cut a hole through the floor of his SUV and the street to escape. At this point, he’s been dinged up pretty bad but as far as we can tell none of the Winter Soldier’s henchmen chase Mr. Jackson in the subterranean realm. I guess they were worried about getting sewage on their boots. We encounter Sam later; he has broken into Captain America’s apartment. He tells Captain American to trust no one and then he gets capped by the Winter Soldier, who our forthright hero chases through a building (smashing through several walls) and on a roof top but the metal-armed sniper escapes by jumping off a roof and disappearing. Jackson is shot up bad enough that we see him flatline through two-way hospital glass. Why not use an rpg to kill them both in the apartment?
- This leads to a Captain America and Robert Redford standoff. The Natural senses Cap is lying to him about the reason Nick Fury visited him in his apartment and sicks literally 10 henchmen on Chris Evans in an elevator. It’s spectacular but it is an absurd number of people in this elevator. Captain America escapes an onrushing SWAT team by jumping out of said elevator at least 7 stories onto the street. He escapes somehow (really, not well explained) and meets up with ScarJo in a hospital.
- ScarJo’s next move: hit up an Apple store in a big-ass mall and find out what’s on the flash-drive. Not only is she deadly with multiple weapons and her bare hands and quite attractive but she is a skilled computer hacker. She can’t find out what’s on the flash drive but she traces its origins to wooded New Jersey. She does this in 9 minutes because that’s all the time they have to elude the SHIELD agents already on their way. They’re still in the mall when their SHIELD friends arrive. Here’s the disguises they’re wearing: she has on a hoody and he has on hats and glasses. That’s it. They are able to fool our SWAT professionals by kissing on the escalator. So these guys are awesome enough to run a trace on something and get there in 10 minutes but can’t spot your dumbasses lip locked on the escalator?
- That location in New Jersey is the original SHIELD headquarters, where Cap trained before going off to World War II. Eventually they end up in a double-secret computer room. They plug in the flash drive into what ScarJo describes as ancient technology and the face of the Nazi scientist from the first Captain America comes up, pixelated black and green. Get this, his brain was imprinted into this computer system back in 1973. He explains the whole story of how Hydra infiltrated SHIELD just long enough to wait for a ballistic missile to strike. Our heroes survive the blast and ensuing rubble by using Captain America’s shield. It seems unnecessary to me to have the guy’s brain inside the computer. They could have just like pulled up some documents.
- Speed round: Anthony Mackie, who Cap only knows from running the same route in DC is now the only person they trust. They end up in a battle with the Winter Soldier and they escape using the fast cutting device (cuts perfect, human-sized holes). Also Cap figures out WS is his old friend Bucky Barnes who in the mean-time between their meetings has been responsible for every major world assassination — JFK, MLK probably Benazir Bhutto. They go underground meet up with Colby Smulders who unveils that Sam Jackson is very much alive — huh? Apparently he used a serum that reduced his heart rate to one beat per minute. The Hulk invented it.
- So we now know from the flash drive that Hydra plans to use these airships to exterminate everybody they don’t like. Our crew can stop it by implanting three large computer ships in some undisclosed time frame and disabling the launch. An epic aerial-ish battle commences, noticeably without ScarJo. At this same time, Redford is meeting with the World Council, who he has convinced to all be there in person. As he’s about to kill one of his colleagues, the middle-aged woman in the blue suit kicks the Sundance Kid in the chest. Wait a minute, no. Oh yes, it is ScarJo. She takes off this computerized mesh stuff to reveal her face. I guess it worked on the rest of her body, too?
- So we have Anthony Mackie flying around using metal wings. He’s fighting Bucky Metal Arm on the deck of one of the ships when Bucky tears off one wing and sends him plummeting to his death. Mackie reverses his fall and unleashes a parachute about two seconds before hitting hard concrete. He hits the ground running and inexplicably ends up in the same building as ScarJo. Mind you, his legs should have shattered, like bones sticking out.
- Even though he has to fight Bucky to do it and gets shot about five times, Chris Evans succeeds in implanting chips in all three ships and he instructs Ms. Smulders to unleash Hell on the aircraft, including the one he’s in. One of the ships crashes into the office building Sam Jackson (I forgot; he shows up as a big reveal to RR), ScarJo and Anthony Mackie are in. Mackie has been fighting one of the top SWAT guys as the ship just annihilates the floor he’s on. He runs away from the destruction and jumps out the window. At this point, Fury and Black Widow are in a helicopter. Mackie is headed straight for the top propellor blade. Sam Jackson has the presence of mind to tilt the helicopter slightly so Mackie falls right into it. Now this is not a special helicopter and with a regular old helicopter this is beyond impossible. I can’t stress this enough — I think this is the most ridiculous thing in this movie.
- As his aircraft is going down, Captain America convinces Bucky to remember him and Bucky decides not to crush his face with his metal fist. Luckily they both fall into water and the ship explodes.