Marvel played the “Super Bowl TV spot telling you to go watch a trailer online” card, for April’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It’s the Phase 2 film that most directly sets up The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and DAMN, did they deliver a great second trailer. It gives a sense of how good Cap 2 actually is, because even if Captain America is nobody’s favorite, this might be the best movie Marvel has put together yet.
Obviously, that’s going to come down somewhat to taste. I’m not going to argue with people who prefer Iron Man or The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely funnier. But as a movie, Cap 2 hangs together really well, and feels the most grounded. There’s no space magic or aliens or monsters. It’s just people (with a few enhancements), and old-fashioned political backstabbing. The problems are weirdly timely (how far is too far when it comes to protecting the populace?), and while there are some grandiose CGI sequences, the bulk of the action is down-and-dirty hand-to-hand combat done with actual, practical stunt work. It’s kind of a relief to watch one of these movies and be aware that pretty much everything you’re seeing was done by real people.
And then there’s the Winter Soldier. This trailer properly introduces him and we get to see a little more of him in action, but they are definitely withholding his best stuff. His first appearance is a slick, exciting action sequence, and again—it’s all real people doing real stunts. (Directors Joe and Anthony Russo deserve a lot of credit for how good this movie looks, which is probably why they’re already hammering out their Cap 3 contracts.) I don’t know if Sebastian Stan has the personality to hook people the way Tom Hiddleston did, but the Winter Soldier is cool as sh*t every time he shows up. Stan’s going to get a shot at being Marvel’s next favorite bad boy.
It’s also worth mentioning that Captain America: The Winter Soldier has no damsels in distress. There are three highly capable women in the movie—four if you count elderly Peggy Carter—one of whom is Cap’s partner and one of whom is his boss. Cap’s love life is reduced to a running gag—they skip the obligatory romantic subplot. Sharon Carter, Cap’s comic book love, is, in fact, nothing more than a glorified cameo (which is why Emily VanCamp is not factoring into the promotions so far). Again, it’s a refreshing change from what we’re used to seeing in a movie like this.
So yeah, Captain America 2 is pretty great. And there’s a big reveal that general audiences won’t see coming (and ought to open some doors to fix that awful SHIELD show). But the thing that’s probably going to leave people talking the most is the post-credits stinger. They’re calling them “The Twins”, the brother-sister team of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, and they don’t look like any Marvel heroes we’ve met to date. Having seen them, I am really sad for Fox and the X-Men, because this sh*t:
…is horrible in and of itself, but in comparison it’s outright embarrassing.