I can never discuss these shows without thinking about the characters’ origins, so let me first say something about Captain America. Captain America was created by the iconic team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. It made sense that a couple of Jewish cartoonists from New York would create a patriotic hero who was shown punching Hitler on the cover of the first issue. But I think they were mostly worried about earning a living, not creating a cultural icon who would, over 50 years later, be starring in a major motion picture. Nevertheless, the idea behind Captain America, the little guy who wanted to do his part and became the big hero for us all, still inspires writers and thrills readers and moviegoers all these decades later.
To give a little more credit, Bucky was also created by Simon and Kirby. Nick Fury was created by Kirby and Stan Lee. The Black Widow was created by Lee, don Rico, and Don Heck. Finally, the Falcon was created by Lee with Gene Colan. If you don’t know comics, just let me tell you the above list of creators constitutes nothing more than a group of legends. The creators that brought us Captain America: the Winter Soldier were certainly standing on the shoulders of giants!
As to the movie itself, it is simply fantastic! It is certainly one of my favorite super-hero movies, and I’m sure many others rank it this high, also. Part of this is the handling of the action and overall plot. Captain America works best when handling challenges that are just a little above those of the real world. CA:TWS does this extremely well, with Cap fighting mostly normal strength-level humans, with the exception of the Winter Soldiers himself. Unlike Thor, Iron Man, or Superman, the things Cap does are things you can almost see a real person being able to do, if he’s in really, really good shape! Likewise, the Black Widow and Falcon succeed in the same way as to be just human enough, yet pulling off the most remarkable things! The tech in the Marvel movies looks like the things we will experience here in the real world in 5 to 10 years.
The other aspect of the film that makes it great is the characterization. The moral dilemma of how much power should belong to those who are the protectors is a good dilemma for Cap and Fury. Steve is able to hold onto his ideals despite the changing of times, and this shows us how well the writers understand the character. Cap isn’t perfect, but he’s always striving to do what is best. The Falcon is a perfect partner, for he is the modern version of Cap-another dedicated though haunted soldier. The Black Widow also has a great story arc, as she comes to face her troubled past and tries to move beyond it.
I guess that sums up my thoughts pretty well. I’ll add just one thing: I really liked the guy who played Alexander Pierce. I’ll have to find the time to see if he’s done anything else of interest!