MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Review-ish – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (spoiler-free)

I’m not saying that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is crap. But I don’t really understand how anyone can claim that it is much better than a Very Special Episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

I can’t quite claim that this movie is the beginning of the end of the Marvel dominance of the last couple of years… but for me, it was the first sign of the problem with Marvel trying to flex its muscles annually two or three times a year. I can’t think of a single original or memorable moment in this entire film… with the possible exception of the appearance of one character in their old age.

I have no idea at all what the actual budget for this film is, but it feels to me like the cheapest—by a significant margin—of all of the Marvel-produced movies. It certainly has size. But it’s a lot of bullets, a bunch of car stunts, and a touch of big picture CG (the most expensive element of most Marvel films). It also felt to me like the most talk-y of all the Marvel movies, but with almost nothing to say.

Speaking of which, the top special effect in the film—aside from the ability of light to be seen between Ms. Johansson’s thighs (and don’t blame me for noting a lingering shot in the film to highlight this only)—is getting Robert Redford to make the film. It feels as though he felt he was slumming less by saying more, more slowly. But for me, it is the least convincing performance of Redford’s career, as the words are so weak. All i got was “Robert Redford is talking.” But the demand of the role, that this character somehow stand for all things truth, justice, and the American Way, is not Robert Redford to me and nothing here changes that for me. It’s a role you can imagine Gregory Peck or Henry Fonda or Jimmy Stewart making interesting. But Redford was always more complex than those men on screen (with the exception of a handful of roles played by those men).

Does the movie add to the Marvel Universe idea? I suppose there are a few seeds planted for future films. But there is also that weird, lingering “because of what happened in New York” thing that suggests that people who work at Marvel think that what happened to New York in Avengers is particularly memorable or not just Standard Comic Book Movie Procedure. Ironically, Man of Steel, with which I had big problems, had more impact with its destruction of a city because there was real emotion attached to the fight between Superman & Zod. In Avengers, which was infinitely better as an entertainment, the fight in New York was just a chance to blow stuff (and bad guys) up.

But I kept feeling, with almost every action sequence, that I had seen it before… mostly in Marvel movies. The glory of comic books themselves is that our imaginations bring the details to life. Whether it is how the look and sound of fights or the details of escapes or how Captain America’s shield bounces, hits villains, and returns to The Cap.

Also… the threat in this film, not giving anything away, suggests no less than the end of freedom on earth…. yet in a Marvel Universe in which Iron Man is not only nearby but built one of the mechanisms that might enslave earth’s free will… and Hulk is a good guy… and Thor swings his mighty hammer all over the place, the end of the world as we know it comes down to non-supers Captain America, Black Widow, and the not-always-skillful Falcon. No one even reaches out to Tony Stark to ask for help to sabotage the machinery he contributed? How does that make any sense at all?

So here is what you get… a B/B+ level shoot ’em, drive ’em, fight ’em flick with a guy in a suit and some massive hovercrafts. There is, literally, not a gag in the film that I haven’t seen before in other films, better for having been fresh. Like 30 machine guns put to a guy’s head leading to everyone holding one being killed or knocked out by that guy? Got it. Repeatedly. 20 guys in an elevator getting their ass kicked by one guy? Obviously. Big twists that are either so movie familiar or so obvious they are inevitable? Got it. The best sequence, the first, taking a boat, not only has been done before, but looks like they shot it on the same boat that closes Iron Man 3 in the extra week of location rental.

I liked the cast. All the cast, really. I thought Redford was trying real hard, but was left more afloat on his own than in All Is Lost. Chris Evans deserves better, but is game, his sphincter crushing everything in sight. You don’t quite believe that Scarlett Johansson really can move like that, but her comic timing is deft and she remains a great screen beauty. Sam Jackson IS Sam Jackson… almost always better than the material. Anthony Mackie brings all the excitement to his role here that Falcon would have swooping through the air to grab a check that will pay him as much as he has earned in the last 5 years of acting (and I don’t mean that in a bad way). Cobie Smulders has more to do here than in the other films so far… which is still not nearly enough.

There was one performance that I really think is worth pointing out. Toby Jones has a great bit mid-movie. It was really the only time where I felt the movie’s rhetoric and its pleasure were close to equal.

You can’t really call the movie “horrible.” But “get on with it already” came to mind often while sitting through the bloated 2:16 running time.

Finally, I used the word “I” a lot in this review… because it really is about how I felt. There are a lot of objective complaints to make about the film, but these movies are a subjective experience and 90something percent at Rotten Tomatoes, while a little shocking to me, is interesting. Do I think that some of the critics are grading on a curve, in that the film suggests that it has a political message worthy of serious consideration and has Robert Redford mouthing platitudes? Yeah. Will any of them think about this film again… ever? Not likely. But so it goes.

I just kept waited for it to become interesting. The first film was quite interesting… until it threw away its ending to accommodate an unused connection to Avengers. The last Iron Man was quite interesting… until they made the last 20 minutes all about blowing stuff up. This one… everything about it was trying so hard to matter and in the end, it really means nothing except another box-office success for Marvel. That will be quite enough for quite a lot of people.

Be Sociable, Share!

94 Responses to “Review-ish – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (spoiler-free)”

  1. todd says:

    Well you are in the minority of critics who disliked it, by a big margin…have a feeling you had it judged before even seeing it…

  2. jason says:

    Yeah you can tell he had already determined that he was not going to like it before he saw it just by the way he wrote the review. Shame when critics do this

  3. poet67 says:

    The heavy-hitter characters are not going to be making guest appearances in each others movies. Fans just need to let that wish go. If you want to see team-ups, thats what “The Avengers” is for.

  4. John says:

    Oh boy, here come the drooling fans who demand that you like this David.

  5. PcChongor says:

    I don’t know who’s crazier, the “Noah” Jesus Freaks, or the “Captain America” cultists.

  6. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Wow… first 2 comments adding nothing to the discussion but wild speculation of ulterior motives? Okay.

    For all of Marvel’s plan for World Building, the sheer volume of heroes being introduced each movie is going to make the “Why doesn’t anyone else show up?” plothole grow bigger and bigger.

    At least it makes slightly more sense in this movie than IM3 (which I barely tolerated). Thor is in Asgard, Hawkeye may be anywhere else on the planet, and Cap probably has no idea where Banner is. That does leave Stark, but given that the Plot Device is Stark-tech and there’s a subplot of computer AIs, there’s at least a logical argument that Stark’s suit may be compromised and they should use Falcon’s suit instead. They’ve already solved the “how” of overcoming the tech (Stark’s strongest non-suit asset), they just need a delivery system.

    Apart from blatant silliness (rolling a helicopter to catch a falling man), the most annoying thing for me was the inconsistent use of the shield. It would alternately bounce off things and then embed itself into walls with no internal consistency. It makes the unfortunate implication (coupled with an ambiguous foley sound) when Cap throws it directly at a bad guy during the opening scene that the poor guy is bisected and it’s actually bouncing off the wall behind him.

    Don’t even get me started on the “Fall Crash Pad” shield scene.

    Also I’m not sure what “Chris Evans deserves better, but is game, his sphincter crushing everything in sight.” is supposed to mean.

  7. EtGuild2 says:

    “I have no idea at all what the actual budget for this film is, but it feels to me like the cheapest – by a significant margin”

    LA Times claims it’s budgeted the same as “Thor 2,” which places it only behind sequels with Robert Downey Jr in the canon. If that’s true, it’s pretty shocking to hear it looks so cheap.

    What’s even more disturbing, if this is accurate, is Marvel (and apparently many critics) like CAP 2 so much, they are rushing CAP 3 for El Primo Spot, head to head with BATMAN/SUPERMAN in 2016. If we’re going to keep doing these, I’m SO ready for GUARDIANS, ANT MAN and DR STRANGE. Enough already.

    And yeah, here come the trolls. Poland linked this review to Rotten Tomatoes. I miss Jacob Greenwood already.

  8. berg says:

    thought Capt was average … what crossed my mind when it was over (the bit after the credit roll with Bucky) was that I would prefer a Transformers movie, which at least would have some visual panache ….

  9. leahnz says:

    i dug ‘the winter soldier’ — as far as tone goes, compared to the unabashed, weirdly endearing period patriotism and old-school derring-do Johnston achieved in cap 1, i don’t think the russos were quite as adept in achieving their follow-up meld of old-school action/political suspense/character drama, but i appreciate the effort (and the relative restraint for Cap so far, not beholden to the requisite massive CG overload and tired ‘bigger is better!’ cliche law for Hollywood sequels)

  10. YancySkancy says:

    Looking forward to it anyway, since I liked the first so much. Despite the first two (undoubtedly very young) commentators, it’s possible to go into a film open-minded (or even enthused) and still come out with an opinion that goes against the majority.

    But David, I will take issue with you on Redford vs. Peck/Fonda/Stewart. I’ll grant you that Redford is better at complexity than Peck ever was, but he can’t hold a candle to Fonda or, especially, Stewart in that regard (IMO, of course). And I don’t think it’s just a matter of a “handful of roles” either. Part of that may be because Fonda and Stewart made many more films than Redford, giving them more chances at complexity, even if numerically speaking they also gave plenty of “non-complex” performances. Heck, even if you just take Stewart’s roles for Hitchcock, Capra and Anthony Mann, you’ll find more complex roles than Redford has had in his entire career to date.

  11. jesse says:

    Obviously people who come here off Rotten Tomatoes, ready to get mad at someone for “ruining” the movie’s rating and some kind of fascist consensus are nutters. THAT SAID: Hasn’t David had a pretty strong track record for looking at critically acclaimed blockbuster-type movies and complaining about how unimpressed he is, and couching those complaints in a pose of faux-objectivity? I mean, we all sort of pretend to be objective and are totally subjective and both of those things are fine… except when it turns into “I’m the only one who sees this objectively and clearly.”

    I haven’t seen the movie so I have no idea if it looks cheap. But the trailer sure doesn’t look cheap, especially not cheaper than any other Marvel movie so far. I was surprised by how decent the first Thor movie looked but it was still set largely in a backlot-looking pop-up small town (and I wound up loving a lot of that material so it didn’t matter much — but if we’re talking “objective” cheapness).

    I wonder about the supposed talkiness, too, because (a.) those Iron Man movies are plenty talky and (b.) that’s part of what I’ve really enjoyed about the Iron Movies, even/especially Iron Man 2, which has a couple of cool action sequences but has even more weird actor-y dialogue riffing.

    So while the tone of the review is very much “eh, I’ve seen it all before,” it doesn’t really match up with “here’s where this movie is actually weaker than some of the others” (maybe because David is forgetting how little he liked some of those others, too).

    Like I said, haven’t seen Cap 2, this review may be spot-on. But I’d understand any skepticism, even if it comes from literal-minded fanboys who don’t really understand film criticism. This wouldn’t be my first stop for Marvel movie temperature-taking any more than I should be for evaluating a documentary or a Julia Roberts movie.

  12. Ganaj says:

    The second to last paragraph reveals this reviewer’s agenda.
    This review is a reaction to the positive reviews the movie has been getting.

    No, 90-something in Rotten Tomatoes is not shocking. A “fresh” score means “see it”, a rotten one means “don’t bother with it”. This movie is the strongest entry since Avenegers and certainly a must see. There’s nothing shocking about that.

    And no, the movie does not look cheap by any means, and there’s much more than “seeds” planted. The status quo gets blown apart.

  13. Jeff O. says:

    He mentions Rotten Tomato percentages in the review and he can’t sound more determined to bash everything in the film. How about you try mentioning the positives with the negatives and you wouldn’t seem so biased. I thought you were a decent movie critic, but your opinions matter nil to me now. Get over yourself. Troll critic trying to egg on troll fans. Nice.

  14. EtGuild2 says:

    “I just pissed my CAP underpants because of a Rotten Tomatoes score, time to attack the character of a guy I’ve never heard of with no context” blah blah blah

    This is exactly why Rotten Tomatoes got rid of reviewer comments, because superhero wankers go postal when a negative review is uploaded.

    But good points, jesse.

  15. j2at says:

    From the man who loved Twilight but hated The Hunger Games comes the man who also hates Captain America: The Winter Solider.

  16. RRA says:

    Mr. Poland, no offense, but you’re opening sentence more or less says that TWS is of low budget TV quality like A.O.S.

    Err umm, what? I’m sorry but I’m having trouble believing that man. No offense. But I’ve not seen TWS yet so I have no ground to criticize that statement. But contrast Winter Soldier (who looks badass) with Dethlok on A.O.S….who looks like he’s playing Laser Tag.

    Besides that scene (released online some weeks back) where Cap’s so fast that overshoots corners and hits a wall that leaves a dent (done without CGI)? That left an impression on me. I figured after MAN OF STEEL, you would appreciate super powers being expressed without bogging down into green screen mayhem?

    Jeff O. – I saw SABOTAGE over the weekend. Got dreadful reviews, but I liked that sleazy thriller. Sometimes I’m with the majority on a film. Sometimes I’m in the tiny minority against everybody else, like I was last year with HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS which was probably one of the worst reviewed films of 2013.

    Jesse – Poland confuses me sometimes. I really seem to remember him trashing IM3, yet he tweeted to me that he actually did like it but just felt that it could’ve been better. I also seem to remember him calling the last Thor movie a sausage fest (or something to that effect) but then he tweeted to me that it was “serviceable.”

    I really feel unconfortable bashing Poland or saying he’s wrong on a movie I’ve not seen yet.

    Also to those folks mad about RT scores getting “wrecked”….boo hoo. TWS will at worst end up in the 70s, maybe 80s if lucky. Maybe higher? I don’t know. Does it really matter where it ends up?

  17. richard says:

    Maybe I do want the RT% to stay high and maybe I will agree with large parts of this review when I see CATWS but I do find this review highly suspect because of the fact the that reviewer found it necessary to check which way the critical wind was blowing on RT. Do reviewers do this? I thought that the whole point was to give your opinion of the movie experience not check out other reviews then weigh in… this would seem to posion the pot and leave room for negative and maybe attention-getting agenda. Well the headline did say Review-Ish maybe it shouldn’t be counted as a true review and thus restore that higher RT score..there problem solved 😉

  18. Vega says:

    Saw the movie two weeks ago and this might be the dumbest thing I have ever read. this movie hands down the best solo cbm to date! I cant believe you sat and typed this up. You compared it to agents of shield, you lost me right there as soon as I read it unreal. nothing more to say but you should not be writing cbm reviews because clearly you don’t know how to judge superhero movies. wow

  19. YancySkancy says:

    richard: Where does he say he checked RT before writing his review?

  20. leahnz says:

    “There are a lot of objective complaints to make about the film, but these movies are a subjective experience and 90something percent at Rotten Tomatoes, while a little shocking to me, is interesting. Do I think that some of the critics are grading on a curve, in that the film suggests that it has a political message worthy of serious consideration and has Robert Redford mouthing platitudes? Yeah. Will any of them think about this film again… ever? Not likely.”

    DP doesn’t specify if the RT score had him aghast before or after he wrote the review so it’s hard to say if he’s being a deliberate contrarian or not — but DP’s consistently annoying weaknesses in his critique of movies are a) pretending he knows the motives of other critics and that their stated opinions are somehow disingenuous based on the fact that they don’t mesh with his own, b) pretending the assessment of film isn’t always subjective.

  21. J says:

    “What’s Colbie Smulders gonna do? Colbie Smulders! Colbie Smulders!”

    Sir, I am outraged that your opinion might differ from the one I have already formed before seeing the film. How dare you be a human being with different concerns and experiences than mine own. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  22. Fitzerald says:

    Rotten Tomatoes is a moronic metric.

  23. History vs New says:

    How bout that Cap 2 features characters that have been around for multiple decades as opposed to less than a year, and one for 5 years. They’ve thousands more stories written for them than Agents of Shield, a show which allows their writers to be more creative with them since they are characters of their creation, whereas Cap, Fury, Black Widow, Falcon and even Winter Soldier have to follow many certain rules, boundaries that the writers cannot break with these characters because of their history. And then even with their history the expectation is that they take the characters to heights and depths we haven’t seen before. And most comic readers seem to believe they’ve done that. Oh, and the budget and action sequences far eclipse what even a “very special” episode of a TV series would ever be or has ever done. Nice of you to try and sound smarter than everyone. What the creators of Cap 2 did was far more impressive than what any episode or season of Agents of Shield can do. And I like that show. I think its disrespectful of you to disregard all the writers who have worked on the older characters since their creation by claiming they are equal to those who have been around a fraction of the time. So much more difficult to pull off Cap 2 than an episode of AOS. Dumb to claim otherwise.

  24. LexG says:

    This thread is a riot. As a goof to kill time at work, I sometimes peruse the IMDB message boards, and am consistently blown away (not in a good way) by HOW IMPORTANT the TOMATOMETER is to complete buffoons. They monitor that shit like it’s a fucking EXACT SCIENCE, like movie criticism is wholly objective, and that a “90%” means something is a slam-drunk 9 out of 10 movie, and they have this riotous conspiracy theory that the lone negative reviews are by these ANARCHIC VILLAINS who want to BRING DOWN THE SCORE. It’s all super-hilarious.

    It’s such a dumb metric anyway, as 100% of people could give a workmanlike potboiler 3 stars. Doesn’t mean everyone unanimously thinks it’s a masterpiece. And likewise something that gets 20-30% can be a so-so watchable movie not good enough to put your seal of recommendation on it; Doesn’t mean it’s a piece of shit or anything. No point in arguing any of that with the RT looney-tunes, but I can’t believe people put that much stock in the thing.

  25. Perspective says:

    Let me ask you this David Poland.
    (Who so skillfully hides any pictures of himself while protesting his narrow-minded opinions).


    Personally, I don’t like horror films. Simple as
    that. As a critic, I simply don’t watch them and don’t critique them. Do you know why?

    And! I’m very proud to admit it. I HAVE A FUCKING BIAS.


    Since you obviously DON’T like Superhero movies.
    Judging by your other award winning works of journalism you call reviews, DON’T WATCH THEM. DON’T REVIEW THEM.


    They are NOT for you!

    Simple as that.

  26. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Yeah, David Poland!

    You aren’t allowed to not like superhero movies unless you like them!

    Simple as that.

  27. leahnz says:

    fwiw ‘movie review intelligence’ was by far the best aggregator imho, but it went inexplicably belly-up last year, bummer. at least ‘metacritic’ uses a more nuanced scoring system to come up with the critic scores – the rotten tomatoes ‘pass/fail fresh/rotten’ thing is so wildly subjective and randomly assessed in the grey areas it’s just a silly system, that anyone puts serious stock in the scores is pretty funny. at least the metacritic scoring makes a degree of sense.

    (hey DP did several of those kind of hilarious on-camera movie reviews a while back, which must be publicly available somewhere, at least in the archives here – DP’s a bit like a human version of a silverback gorilla…re: the bizarre assertion above that he’s “skilfully” hiding his likeness as somehow linked to his opinions)

  28. Shine Shenopya says:

    I saw the movie the other day while on a business trip to London. It was phenomenal and I absolutely cannot believe this review. The movie was not perfect but it was really really good. It doesn’t look cheap at all. I am not trolling on this guy just that I wanted to see what others have to say about the movie and chanced upon this review. Checking on this guy’s rotten tomatoes profile, I saw he gave Spingbreakers a “fresh” rating? I just don’t understand. does this mean Springbreakers, the most aweful movie I have seen in 2013 is a superior movie than Cap2? Seriously? i know it’s like comparing apples to oranges but in terms of “watchability” even as a non-captain america fan, I would think cap2 is not as insufferable as Spring breakers.

  29. bodji calves says:

    i knew this review is a goof and stopped immediately when he compared it to agents of shield.

    at this day and age, you develop a sense of being pranked just from a few senrences.

    can we all just relax and just make fun of this david poland’s face instead?

  30. movieman says:

    Wow, I’m really surprised Dave (or anyone for that matter) could have disliked “Winter Soldier” that much.
    As someone who’s as far removed from the Marvel fanboy world as you can get, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
    The biggest compliment I could pay “WS” is that half the time I completely forgot I was watching a “Marvel Movie.” It just felt like a really strong action film.
    Enjoyed the banter between Evans and Johansson which was nearly on a par with the Downey/Paltrow schtick from the “Iron Man” movies; loved Mackie’s wing apparatus; got a kick out of Redford’s casting (and the mid-film “Three Days of the Condor” homage).
    Yeah, it’s probably a half hour too long (like most movies of its type, there are multiple climaxes when one would have sufficed), but I wasn’t bored for a minute. Which, as someone who thought “The Avengers” was among the most overrated movies of recent vintage, is a pretty major compliment.
    It’s probably my favorite “Marvel” since “Iron Man 1.”

  31. movieman says:

    P.S.= I’ve never watched a single episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

  32. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Possibly the most amusing part of this thread is people accusing DP “had it judged before even seeing it”.

    Did anyone bother to read the review, or just the RT score?

    “I’m not saying that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is crap… So here is what you get… a B/B+ level shoot ‘em, drive ‘em, fight ‘em flick”

    Movieman, you’re at least a regular – would’ve expected better of you. 😉

  33. jon says:

    I honestly don’t have a problem with him giving this a bad review, everyone is entitled to there opinion. however, it does seem he had his mind made up before he saw the movie. here is a tweet of his dated march, 10 2014.

    The Captain America: Winter Soldiers TV spots look like a very special episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    notice he says tv spots not movie itself. so he wrote this before he saw the movie…just saying

  34. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah, I don’t know why Rotten Tomatoes is considered so important by people. It’s the metric that rates “Toy Story 2” as the greatest film in cinema history. Speaking of which there used to be an equally crazy group of Pixar fanboys who would send death threats or whatever, to “Tomatometer ruiners” but I guess “Cars 2 ” screwed the pooch for that.

    I know I’ve said it before, but Metacritic is a better Metric. The AVENGERS score alone (69 vs 93% or 83% for “top critics”) on Rotten Tomatoes makes it look like a Best Picture Oscar heavyweight for its year.

    Of course it isn’t perfect since it relies upon the subjective analysis of Metacritic staff to weight the ratings, but nothing is.

  35. Rick says:

    Cmon guys, it’s obvious this guy’s just trolling to get more hits on his website. Pretty pathetic.

  36. Chris says:

    Those that (rightfully) call this guy out with facts. Those that run to his defense and drop to their knees to do so. Throwing out outdated internet memes as their defense of their lord David, like they are actually still even slightly chuckle worthy.

    In the end, he’s wrong. The overwhelming praise from critics says so. This guy laughably bringing up the Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer throws out all of his credibility. “STOP LIKING THINGS I DONT LIKE GEEZ!!!” as your “critique” on the matter is flat out embarrassing when you are a paid critic.

  37. Chris says:

    And the whole “Avengers not all showing up in each other’s movies” thing needs to stop. They don’t show up because they are off doing their own thing. This isn’t rocket science people.

  38. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah, as everyone here knows David is DESPERATE to bring big traffic to his sacred and beloved Hot Blog.

    And if I wanted to “praise Lord David” most of my interactions with him probably wouldn’t consist of the internet equivalent of shouting matches as is the case with most of the people here. I might love TWS. And Poland may not love Marvel CU movies. But he certainly doesn’t because of insidious or self-serving personal reasons. He’s a grownup. Superhero movies do break through to him…see The Dark Knight sequels.

    “In the end, he’s wrong. The overwhelming praise from critics says so.”

    There is no right or wrong in film criticism. Day 1 of class. That’s what you people don’t understand. You get on your knees to suck Kevin Feige’s d**k, rush to the barriers to defend anything popular on ScreenRant or Collider, and don’t give a crap about most of the medium.

  39. Halderic says:

    My only complaint of this review is this:

    “Man of Steel, with which I had big problems, had more impact with its destruction of a city because there was real emotion attached to the fight between Superman & Zod.”

    Eek, there was no emotion in that destruction porn of a fight. That was a major complaint (of many) I had about that film.

    Anyways, looking forward to TWS!

  40. movieman says:

    Foamy- I wasn’t disparaging Dave’s manhood for disliking “WS,” lol, just surprised that he (or anyone really) could take such a negative stand on an extremely likable, relatively (and refreshingly) unpretentious comic book movie.

    Sorry I even bothered chiming in.

  41. John H says:

    I’m a huge CAP fan but I’m not going to call Poland names or question his motives just cuz I loved a movie that he didn’t much care for. We obviously don’t enjoy the same types of films; no biggie.


    However, this film, more so than the other Marvel Universe movies, comes with a built-in logic as to why Steve Rogers doesn’t seek out the help of his fellow Avengers. Nick Fury warns him early on not to trust ANYONE. Sure, Rogers and Stark bonded a bit toward the end of Avengers, but if I were Steve, I’m not sure Tony Stark would be the one person I’d trust with this “the whole of SHIELD is corrupt” info. Just cuz Stark/Banner/Hawkeye helped stop an alien invasion alongside Rogers, doesn’t mean some/all of them aren’t a part of the huge conspiracy that Rogers is battling in Cap 2.

    And I found it odd that the reviewer points out Toby Jones’ performance as the one “worth pointing out,” considering its basically an exposition-filled voice-over. Jones plays the stereotypical Evil Mastermind with panache, I suppose, but I could almost see him twirling his black mustache as he monologued about his Brilliant Plan. It’s a fun scene, but I felt some actual on-screen performances were much more note-worthy. Different strokes, I guess!

  42. hcat says:

    “So here is what you get… a B/B+ level shoot ‘em, drive ‘em, fight ‘em flick with a guy in a suit and some massive hovercrafts”

    Isn’t that exactly in line with all the avengers films. None have them have surpassed X2, Spidey 2 or Dark Knight, let alone the original Supes. And thats just in their little mini genre forgetting about how far removed they are in quality from action greats like Raiders, Die Hard, T2 or even Fellowship of the Rings. These strike me the same way as the Potter movies, fun afternoons, no real heavy lifting, fan service, dependable 3 out of 4 star films. Genial but nothing sublime.

    His mention of agents of sheild does bring up a point, with the frequancy of these films what steps do you take so it doesn’t feel like another episode in a television show. I know Wolvie is a different franchise but the whole visit an old friend who has shady things going on and a comely relative to cozy up to felt like the plot from every other episode of a Glen A. Larson show.

  43. Jermsguy says:

    “White people always saying they don’t like rap music. ‘I hate rap; I just hate it!’ It’s not for you. When Run DMC cuts a track, they don’t ask Dick Van Patten for his opinion. ‘What do you think, Dick?’ ‘Yo, I think it needs more scratchin.'” – Late 1980’s Chris Rock, (paraphrased/butchered)

    I gave up Agents of SHIELD after 4 episodes. Did it improve?

  44. Geoff says:

    It’s really quite a shame when critics like you go into a theater expecting a movie to be bad. When you expect it to be bad, you look for faults. Critics are supposed to be unbiased, but it’s clear from your review that this was not the case. Additionally, I find it odd that you say it’s a B/B+ movie, as if to satisfy fans that you’re not just trolling them, yet then you proceed to rip it apart and give it a rotten rating.

    I saw the film during its pre-screening, so I’m glad that I can say that this review is utterly flawed and biased with a bit of an author’s superiority complex seeping out through the tone.

  45. YancySkancy says:

    How dare David Poland dislike this film without providing a clear photograph of himself, along with his home address, a rough schedule of his day, and a list of known allergies.

  46. John Daker says:


    I thought I was the only one who thought the trailers looked like Agents of SHIELD.

    I just watched that 4 minute clip. The lighting and set design look like network television.

    “Do I think that some of the critics are grading on a curve, in that the film suggests that it has a political message worthy of serious consideration and has Robert Redford mouthing platitudes? Yeah. Will any of them think about this film again… ever? Not likely.”

    ^^^ It seems a lot of reviewers are praising this simply because it’s a political thriller in the superhero genre. Is it actually a good political thriller? Or just a good political thriller ‘for a superhero movie’?

    I’ll see for myself on Friday.

  47. YancySkancy says:

    I haven’t seen CAP 2, which I’m expecting to like, but I have imagined a negative review that would be acceptable to these yahoos:

    “I regret to inform that CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is at best a B/B+ level experience for me. I feel certain that this is primarily due to the fact that my mother used to beat me with rolled-up Marvel comics. I know this is completely unfair to the many talented people who toiled on this film, most of whose achievements are undeniable even to my compromised eye. But what can I say? When that Marvel logo comes up before a film, I’m like Pavlov’s dog. I start twitching and weeping and generally miss the first 15 minutes while flashing back to the abuse. I guess I should stop seeing Marvel films, but I feel that would be abdicating my responsibility as a critic. But in the interest of fairness, I will post these comments as a series of tweets rather than an official review, so that my overly subjective opinion will not adversely affect the Tomatometer rating of a film I’m sure I’d see as a masterpiece if not for my pathetic inability to transcend the trauma of my childhood. I hope this is acceptable, and if I’ve offended anyone, please forgive me and try to understand. I’m working on it.”

  48. Foamy Squirrel says:

    @Movieman – Meh, do want you want to DP. No skin off my nose. I’m just surprised you think he “disliked” it when he rated it B/B+.

  49. killyourself says:

    this review turned shit the instant you compared to the Agent’s of SHIT

  50. Ryan says:

    This is supposedly spoiler free (so yeah, possible spoilers after this); might want to check the name drop of a particular actor, towards the end, that may as well be a complete spoiler.

  51. Ivan says:

    Why does +90% of all the critic gave this film a favorible rating and yet this guy does’t. A bad film, other just another back critic.

  52. Sam says:

    It’s useless trying to tell these weirdly defensive people this, but look, a critic isn’t bad if he makes unpopular thumbs up/down calls, and he isn’t wrong if he’s in the minority.

    David even qualified at the end that his review was just his subjective opinion — something he shouldn’t even have to say. He’s not wrong about what his opinion is. He didn’t like the movie. He said so and explained why. That’s the job of a film critic.

    Film critics that only regurgitate the tide of public opinion are utterly useless. Anything of value that might come from a film critic always comes from his personal perspective.

    But perhaps I’m missing the point by defending David instead of addressing his attackers — because the bashing comments here aren’t really about David at all, but about the insecurity of those who need their own opinions validated by other people and can’t handle it when not everybody thinks exactly like they do.

    To those, I simply say two things: (1) Other people can neither validate nor invalidate your own opinions. (2) However much you think you do, you don’t actually want a world in which everybody thinks the same things about everything.

  53. Dr Wally Rises says:

    This thread could be my favourite one since last Summer’s infamous Man of Steel meltdown.

  54. movieman says:

    Foamy: I was responding more to the outpouring of seething resentment–mostly from people who hand’t even seen “WS” yet–than the actual article which, truth be told, I only gleaned.
    Just wanted to offer my (positive) take: more in defense of the movie than as criticism of someone for not liking it.

    The “B/B PLUS” thing did feel kind of disingenuous, though.
    (Most of what I read sounded more in the “C/C MINUS” range.)
    Methinks Dave was doing pre-emptive damage control lest the fanboys storm the Hot Blog with torches and pitchforks, lol.

  55. holy shit says:

    I think this is one of the best superhero movies ever made and possibly Marvel’s best one so far…

    …but it does look cheap for reasons that have almost nothing to do with money*. And aesthetics are not Poland’s forte. He can’t tell the difference between the flawless and beautiful DJANGO — with classic anamorphic 35mm cinematography and stunning art direction — and Robert Rodriguez recent efforts. (See his review that he backpedaled on after interviewing the sound team of all people.) That’s fine. You don’t have to understand how movies are made or have any visual judgement to talk about them.

    CAP 2 looks cheap because of flat Alexa cinematography and really mediocre grade. The same team has done the DI for IRON MAN 3, THOR 2, and CAP. IRON MAN 3 is the first ugly looking movie of Toll’s career and THOR 2 was a mess. (CAP 2 also has some really bland locations for the exterior action scenes but it’s still light years ahead of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.)

    I’m just baffled why anyone would spend 100 million on a movie or stage any really impressive large scale action then do such a sloppy closing job on the digital cinematography. But 99% of the audience can’t tell the difference so maybe I just answered my own question.

    *You’re talking about the savings of maybe a few hundred grand. A drop in the bucket. And these decisions are usually actually made for workflow reasons.

  56. Whitetrooper says:

    You really wrote a very honest and personal review. I personally love the movie and was equally shocked by rotten tomatoes’ good reviews. However, I guess I loved the movie coz I didn’t expect much from it before stepping into the threatre. Thanks for the review.

  57. Ed says:

    So Mr. Poland gave positive reviews to Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon and Green Lantern (not to mention comedy junk like The Change-Up and This Is 40) and he can’t find it in his heart to give Winter Solider a thumbs up. Take his opinions with a shaker of salt.

  58. YancySkancy says:

    Ed: And I’m sure you’ve never liked films that got overall bad or mixed reviews, or disliked films that got a collective thumbs up. Take EVERYONE’S opinion with a shaker of salt, dude, because no two people agree on everything. I sound like Captain Obvious, but it seems necessary in this thread.

    Show of hands — how many of these new commenters are out of middle school? And please note that I don’t invalidate your opinions, just your naivete about how criticism is supposed to work among grown-ups.

  59. Jhon says:

    Why is everyone that disagrees with the reviewer either a “troll” or a Marvel sycophant? Why can’t they just have a DIFFERENT opinion?

  60. YancySkancy says:

    Jhon: Are you not reading the actual comments? I haven’t seen any of the regulars here suggest that anyone’s opinion is invalid. But most of these newer commenters are going out of their way to imply that Dave’s “different opinion” is wrong.

  61. foamy squirrel says:

    Except me. But I’m a jerk like that. 😀

  62. Marwick Moyers says:

    Mr. Poland may have any view of any movie he wants. He’s partly correct about this new “Captain America” film. Having seen it, while I think it’s marginally entertaining, it’s essentially a 90-minute comic book movie stretched to more than two hours. The cast is good, but the acting is lazy. The story is thin.

    Why I’m writing is because of this. Is there any chance that Mr. Poland will learn to write like a professional journalist? It’s not just this review, it’s all of his reviews. This one is extra poor. The writing is labored. In one cluster of sentences he uses the words “to me” too many times. He doesn’t seem to understand the basics of paragraphing and that the first sentence in a paragraph is what leads to the ideas expressed in that “graph.”

    This review is monumentally clunky. It reads as if a high school student saw the movie and then whipped through some typing and turned in the first draft without proofreading it. There are too many run-on sentences. The writing is hurried and clunky. Does Mr. Poland not realize that his opinions would be better served if he expressed them with more mature writing?

  63. MarkVH says:

    ^^You definitely must be new around here.

    And as for Dave and Marvel movies, yeah, you could sort of see this coming, but I have to say I agree with him in most cases, and his objectivity feels more honest to me than a lot of pre-written raves. His minority view on The Avengers (good, not great) felt pretty spot-on to me – it’s a watchable movie, but none of it really sticks. All the geek-gasms over this feel like people have made up their minds before going into the movie, but I guess that’s true with most tentpoles these days.

  64. richard says:

    YancySkancy..To your earlier question ..where does it say he checked RT before writing this review…Well right there in the article where he mentions the RT score. I would have to think he checked it out before …you know before actually writing the review..for it to be mentioned know …in the review he wrote. Sheesh

  65. EtGuild2 says:

    Richard. He likely wrote the review and was honest enough enough to include include it in the last paragraph. Most critics who upload their own reviews to Rotten Tomatoes can’t avoid seeing the TomatoMeter before submission. David, and the vast majority of critics, actually have to go to Rotten Tomatoes if they want to put up a review. It’s disingenuous to suggest that anyone other than the trades and super early reviewers like Urban Cinefile and Manny Levy aren’t aware of the critical zeitgeist surrounding a movie before they submit the review.

  66. Tony says:

    Not a Marvel fanboy, but this critic did seem a bit biased. That said, I like first Cap and looking forward to seeing this one. I seriously doubt this flick is anything ‘like an episode of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ sitting at over 90% on RT. Also, I did not care for IM 2 or 3. Take that for what it’s worth. Peace.

    P.S. it’s a movie, don’t take this ish so serious 😉

  67. slagmonkey says:

    It’s no surprise that the poor reviews have come from blogs no one has heard of, using bad reviews as click-bait. And I contributed to it as well. Enjoy the ad revenue, you earned it.

  68. Martin S says:

    Man, has shit changed. This is exactly in-line with every Poland review since Iron Man.

    The “Special episode of AoS” is probably meant more as a throwaway, but it’s actually right. A show about SHIELD should be the tech equivalent of Rome and Thrones, which would look a lot like Winter Soldier. But Agents is glaringly produced to meet costs. When a movie character is brought to the show, they look down-scaled.

    But Marvel brainstorms enough ideas to find concepts that logically fit budget. So by destroying SHIELD, not just do you have a great plot device that can sprawl out into other properties, you now have a logical answer as to why the show is minimal in cast and scope.

    Dave’s review is pretty accurate. He’s dead-on about Johannsen, which makes me wish Swank took the role even more.

    All the “70’s political” talk is patronism. Fanboys want their tastes validated as more than wish fullfillment so they can spend more time being fanboys. It’s like when Smith called TDK “The Godfather 2 of superhero movies”.

    The witty banter is standard issue comic dialogue, which has been crap since the 90’s. As for the look, that’s part of the Marvel template.

    I’m interested in the population consensus come next week. This feels just like IM3 to me.

  69. Tuck Pendleton says:

    I’ve read DP’s review – and not any of the comments. Certain movies, and movies’ fans, you truly can’t say a negative word without vitriol and agenda-setting accusations. So i ain’t going to bother.

    I rented the previous Captain America, I’ll do the same for this one.

    I’m out of the loop – but I can’t tell you how over I am of this genre. The Super Hero, the CGI/green screen / FAKE-Looking action-fest. I understand it’s a movie, it’s all fake. But the cartoony effect just never translates for me. I just got done watching the second Hobbit film and Smaug is a thrill to watch, but watching the real actors bounce around fake items for three hours was a huge chore.

    And it’s not just Marvel, so many other franchises revolve around the CGI spectacle. The Dark Knight Rises, which i’m aware is not problem-free and had several story issues with, was so much more enjoyable as an experience than The Avengers.

    But like I said, box office suggests I’m out of the loop on this one.

  70. YancySkancy says:

    richard, fair enough, my question wasn’t phrased properly. But I assumed David heard about the RT score on twitter or elsewhere first. I seriously doubt he made a point of checking the score as part of his critical process. He’s been writing online for a looooong time now, and I’ve never gotten the sense that he cared about being contrarian for its own sake. I’ll bet if the Tomatometer was at 20%, he would’ve written that he disagreed with that as well. I actually don’t agree that often with his reviews, but I guarantee you he didn’t form his opinion of this film based on anything other than seeing it, for better or worse.

  71. Yancy says:

    What I don’t understand is why these people who haven’t seen the movie get so angry and dismissive of a negative review. I mean… either you’re going to like the movie when you actually see it, or you’re not. And if you don’t, will you care that someone slammed it before it came out? The truth of the matter is that the culture panders to nerds, and despite the preponderance of cliche that would suggest otherwise, nerds are highly unimaginative, fascist-minded, superiority freaks with nothing to be superior about. Nerds, who spend their entire lives with escapism, only seem to be able to point out inconsistencies and plot holes. Goddamn nerds – the whole thing has been a lie, ever since Revenge of the Nerds. Nerds are not loveable horndogs, in general. They are hateful, stunted assholes. No imagination – that’s why they need a whole language in Klingon: they jstu can’t bear to think that the illusion only goes so deep. As a MOR high school kid, I’d take the jocks over the nerds every time. At least the jocks were funny.

  72. LexG says:

    Slow clap for Yancy. Nerds are the worst. Super-depressing that bland comic book movies are the ONLY type of cinema (and maybe horror) that regularly draw page hits on any movie site. You’d never see this level of fevered passion about an actual good movie. And yet even knowing that, I wouldn’t have pegged CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 as anything that even fans could get THIS worked up over.

  73. Michael Thompson says:

    Part of the problem is how Rotten Tomatoes determines whether they consider a review to be fresh or rotten. This film currently has 6 ‘negative’ reviews out of the 71 listed at Rotten Tomatoes and in at least 2 of the 6 cases, the reviewing party considered his/her review to be positive, if critical of certain elements of the film. A better metric to be used at RT is the average rating scale that accompanies the Tomatometer. It currently lists this movie as being a 7.6/10 on average among all reviewers and a 7.2/10 among top reviewers. Almost no reviewers have called this movie ‘bad,’ including Mr. Poland, but in no way has it garnered the nearly universal acclaim that a 92% Tomatometer score would imply. That sort of fits my image of this movie as one that will likely be remembered as an enjoyable one, but probably not one that is remembered as being an ‘important’ film in the genre.

    Plus if you dig deeper into all 6 of those negative reviews, you’ll see only one that actually uses a rating system of any variety that rates this film ‘negatively’ – and that’s a 2/5. Most of the rotten reviews rate the film 3/5 or 2/4 except Mr. Poland, who doesn’t seem to use any sort of rating system.

  74. EtGuild2 says:

    Yancy and Lex, you really need to check out “Zero Charisma,” the darkest movie about nerds/comics/gaming culture to come along in years. I have the feeling you’d really enjoy it.

  75. palmtree says:

    I don’t know what’s wrong with many of you. I really enjoy reading reviews I don’t agree with. Often it helps to solidify what I actually liked about a film and maybe argue in my head about where the reviewer was wrong. Sometimes though, the review I disagree with is persuasive and I find myself questioning my own tastes. Doesn’t that sound like a great way to explore film? Everyone agreeing and saying the same thing sounds boring as shit.

  76. brack says:

    I have a feeling David has never seen an episode of Agents of Shield. I don’t care how supposedly bad this movie is, it can’t be as bad as AOS.

  77. Hcat says:

    I remember him tossing out a few comments about viewing the pilot and maybe a few episodes, he was another pebble in the mountain of Meh that greeted the series.

  78. That Guy says:

    This is not an unexpected reaction from Poland. There’s a handful of regulars posting in this thread defending Poland as if he hasn’t reacted with indifference or outright contempt to every single Marvel movie since the first Iron Man. He’s been consistently downplaying their successes, low-balling his estimates for them, right from the get-go.

    He’s entitled to his opinion, but why is it paranoid to assume he has an agenda? Frankly sometimes it feels like the dozen or so regular posters he has left have no memory of what exactly he writes about beyond the last month. He thought the Marvel Studios business model was a bad idea, wrote about it extensively(for him), was proved conclusively wrong by their unprecedented success, and now has to salvage his ego by trashing their films. Eventually there will be a popular backlash to Marvel Studios films, they’ll fall on their face, and he wants to be positioned to be the first to kick them when they’re down.

    And yes, he is trashing this film. People bring up the Rotten Tomatoes rating from him, which has him giving it a “Rotten” rating. But in his review as has been pointed out, he describes it as “B/B+”… shouldn’t that be listed as “Fresh” by their(admittedly stupid) metric? The reviewer is the one who assigns that designation, so despite thinking it was a B/B+ movie he gave it a Rotten designation. How does that not signal an ulterior motive?

    He does the same kind of thing with Netflix. It was one of his favorite subjects for a number of years, as they made moves that to him were obviously doomed to failure, yet they continued to succeed. He can never admit that he was wrong about them, he takes the stance that his prediction of doom just hasn’t come true YET.

    Keep kicking that ball down the road and eventually it’s going to land in a goal.

  79. leahnz says:

    “The reviewer is the one who assigns that designation, so despite thinking it was a B/B+ movie he gave it a Rotten designation.”

    wait is this true, that the reviewer provides the RT site with the rating of either fresh/rotten? if so, i didn’t realise that was the case… that changes my perception of the RT scores a bit, since all along i had perhaps naively assumed it was some mysterious ‘staff’ of the RT site who read reviews and then assigned the fresh/rotten rating, which often seems so arbitrary regarding ‘mixed’ reviews – but if it’s the critics themselves providing the fresh/rotten rating to the site, that would make the scores seem a little less random anyway, though not any less of a blunt instrument.

    (assigning a ‘rotten’ rating while saying B/B+ in a review that pretty much does trash the movie does seem kind of bipolar — re comparing the movie to an episode of ‘agents of shield’, that’s so silly i assumed it was just meant to be snark, right? if DP thinks ‘the winter soldier’ really does look as tinpot and cheesy as AOS, which is laughably dreadful, then i think a visit to the optometrist to read the ol’ ABC eye chart and a new pair of spectacles is in order)

  80. SamLowry says:

    While watching this flick last night, I could only assume that those responsible had never seen THE AVENGERS. Why? Because in that movie Cap’s shield absorbed a hit from Thor’s hammer as it was designed to do, and yet in this outing he was repeatedly knocked around whenever folks merely punched or kicked the shield.

    Yes, do iron out what the shield can and can’t do before you actually make a movie, please.

  81. jesse says:

    I hope someone got fired for THAT blunder!

  82. storymark says:

    ” Frankly sometimes it feels like the dozen or so regular posters he has left have no memory of what exactly he writes about beyond the last month. He thought the Marvel Studios business model was a bad idea, wrote about it extensively(for him), was proved conclusively wrong by their unprecedented success, and now has to salvage his ego by trashing their films.”

    Ive been wondering about memories here, myself. This is true, David was sure the Marvel model would fail, and now, every review he writes for a Marvel flick seems to carry a touch of resentment. Even when his review is technically a “positive” one, he always seems angry that he has to say something nice. And then we have this, a film he give a B/B+ – and rates rotten.

    And yeah, same thing for Netflix. The Netflix/Marvel series deal must really irk him.

  83. Stella's Boy says:

    Or maybe he genuinely isn’t crazy about some Marvel movies. I know I’m not. I’ve disliked or been meh on pretty much all of them. That seems far more likely than DP criticizing all Marvel movies because they have been more successful at the box office than he initially anticipated.

    Also, I have no say in whether RT rates my reviews fresh or rotten. Maybe my editor does. I have no idea.

  84. SamLowry says:

    I do hope someone does get fired, because the inconsistent logic of 1/2 of Cap’s whole raison d’être makes it look like the filmmakers are half-assing it.

    I didn’t really like the movie; the fight scenes were tedious and repetitive, and I found it highly bizarre that the filmmakers seemed to think we really cared about one particular SHIELD/Hydra mook, enough that they showed him being pulled out of the wreckage on a stretcher, as if he has some sort of future ahead of him in CAP 3 or AVENGERS 2. Oddly enough, he only made it alive to that point because a SHIELD agent who had a gun to his head failed to follow a SHIELD dictate hammered home at the start of the movie: “SHIELD doesn’t negotiate.”

  85. Martin S says:

    He thought the Marvel Studios business model was a bad idea, wrote about it extensively(for him), was proved conclusively wrong by their unprecedented success, and now has to salvage his ego by trashing their films.

    If you said the Marvel model was interconnecting films, I’d say you were right and that Poland was down on the possibility.

    But, you’re talking business model, and guess what? It didn’t work. If it did, they wouldn’t have bought instead of sold and Arad would still be in charge. But they broke even and had a 500 million note that had to paid or else they forfeited a huge chunk of the library. Iger bailed them out, and then he lucked out.

    Revisionist history now proclaims the Marvel method as sound when it wasn’t. If Winter didn’t live up to the hype, they would be in deep fcking trouble after IM3 and Thor2 because Guardians is a real crapshoot. I give them credit for developing a tight production model and knowing how to bait a slavish base.

    As for Netflix, internals are limited. They keep expanding into new markets because they have no choice. Same thing with originals. The churn rate, paid conversions and licensing tend to not be in their favor.

  86. SamLowry says:

    More thoughts about the movie:

    What the heck happened to ScarlettJo’s voice? Did she start moonlighting as the lead singer of a death metal band? Maybe Samantha Morton put a Canadian curse on her? (those Canadians are treacherous bastards) Either way, my throat hurt just from listening to her.

    Quicksilver’s hair didn’t look all that white, from what I recall, yet I can’t wait to see Scarlet Witch in George Perez’s classic costume that forbids the donning of underwear.

    I guess the name “Winter Soldier” is appropriate, since the term has been used to describe war crimes committed by American soldiers.

    The stunning revelation that a character we’ve come to trust is actually a bad guy–someone I’ll call “Mace Windu” to avoid giving away a spoiler–was stunningly boring. Did Winter slip into Mace’s house while the housekeeper was still inside because he wanted to watch Mace kill her? And why dispatch her so quickly, Mace? This is a great character moment–he should’ve whined that now he has to call HYDRA’s body cleanup brigade (hey, if Saul Goodman has one, HYDRA must own a franchise), and he has to pay them double to ensure they arrive before the blood ruins his favorite rug–y’know, the one that ties the room together? And then he has to interview a new housekeeper, and come up with a story to tell the grandkids about why Nana up and ran back to Guatemala because, uh, Cinco de Mayo or something. Play it up, dude!

  87. SamLowry says:

    …and Cap doesn’t have much of a personality, either, considering he’s a guy from the ’40s dropped into the ’10s:

    “Why Captain America Is Only Interesting If He’s a Prick”.

    Howard Chaykin handled this remarkably well with his first Shadow miniseries, showing that a character from the ’30s brought into the ’80s would display a rather shocking level of racism and sexism. Too bad Cap is too bland to reveal the bigotry quite prevalent at the time–just read Studs Terkel’s “The Good War” (the quotes are actually in the title, because his interviewees repeatedly expose the dirty underbelly of a war that wasn’t as squeaky-clean as Tom Brokaw would have you believe) and you’ll get a good dose of all the ’40s slurs for gays, blacks, Jews, Japanese, Germans, Poles…still uttered by these folks decades after the war ended.

    In short, the writer of this piece didn’t go far enough: Cap shouldn’t be just a homophobic a-hole, he’d probably call The Falcon “boy” without thinking he was doing anything wrong.

    (and that was a topic that came up in a Walter Mosley story on The Moth just a few days ago)

  88. RRA says:

    Sam Lowry – How clever of ya. That’s like bringing up how that Scooby Doo gang from the 60s were probably all pot-heads, you know with the period and all that. How original. *Snore*

    Then again, liberals are always whiney. We get a movie where a walking U.S. flag defeated the military-industrial complex with an ending that’s pure Snowden apologist/anarchist/libertarian porn. But that’s still not good enough!

    Of course what you expect from people applauding themselves for being “smarter” than a comic book?

    “Revisionist history now proclaims the Marvel method as sound when it wasn’t. If Winter didn’t live up to the hype, they would be in deep fcking trouble after IM3 and Thor2 because Guardians is a real crapshoot.”

    Martin S. – You mean that same IM3 which made a billion and same Thor 2 which made $650 million? GTFO.

  89. SamLowry says:

    Yeah, I can’t stand liberals, either. That’s why I’m a socialist, who also favors 24/7 surveillance of everyone on the planet; assassination from above, though, is a little too “Forbin” for my tastes.

    And which comic are you talking about? The writer points out that “The Ultimates’ Steve Rogers leaps out of a plane without a parachute because, as his sidekick puts it, ‘He says parachutes are for girls'” and “He’s willing to goad the Hulk with some weaponized homophobia, but he does it as part of a brilliant strategy to use the Hulk against an invading alien force. (“You see these spacecraft in the sky?” he screams. “These guys called you a sissy-boy, buddy — you really gonna let them get away with that?”)”

    So yes, there is at least one comic book out there that hints at what WWII soldiers like Cap were really like, or you could just read accounts in “The Good War” about the treatment of black soldiers: MPs shot them for complaining about segregation in the bases, and the Red Cross warned French women to stay away from them because they have tails.

  90. Martin S says:

    RRA – IM3 is Avenger’s bounce. It has little love. Same with Thor2. Same with Agents continually declining ratings. If Cap2 didn’t deliver, then it’s a rollercoaster until Guardians. Marvel had three strikes before the audience would sour. They hit it on the third.

    No point in arguing. You’re fcking clueless.

  91. christian says:

    What I love about Captain America is that he represents the best of what the country should be. And he knows what racism is. He fought Nazis! Chaykin’s Shadow came under a lot of criticism for going too far. And we don’t need a “dark” Capt America. It’s the laziest most obvious choice imaginable. The juxtaposition between his idealism and modern cynicism is more interesting.

  92. SamLowry says:

    Oddly enough, Chaykin’s prequel to that miniseries, which will explain why The Shadow abandoned Western civilization in the ’50s, starts just next month. It took only 28 years for folks to calm down enough so he could be given another shot with the character!

    (The accepted wisdom is that typical comic readers loved the series but traditional Shadow fans hated it, and DC decided for some bizarre reason to listen to the latter group–which wasn’t even buying the series–when they rebooted it in mid-cliffhanger; the new series, which ignored the previous series and took him back to his traditional roots, was a snoozer.)

    Flag-burning had become a bit of an issue at the time, and in the letters column for American Flagg! Chaykin said that instead of burning the flag we should be washing it, not just to symbolically eliminate the filth and corruption that has insinuated itself into politics, but those who wrap themselves in the flag tend to be a disgusting bunch.

    So yes, Cap should like all superheroes symbolize the best of what we could be, yet how often in the history of a country created for the express purpose of stripping the indigenous population of their land because we didn’t like the British telling us to cut that shit out has the nation lived up to that goal?

    In Terkel’s book, the phrase repeated by black veterans was “What were we fighting for?” They saw no difference whatsoever between the Nazis and white America (which is why rich white Americans wanted the U.S. to buddy up with Hitler to fight Stalin), and history has proven them right.

  93. SamLowry says:

    …and I couldn’t possibly imagine whyyyyyy traditional Shadow fans were disgusted by the miniseries–just because the members of his old crew (and I emphasize OLD) were brutally murdered in the opening pages as a ploy to lure their master out of retirement? Margo Lane, however, was the exception, kept around to play the Margaret Dumont role, always disgusted by the brutality, the sexism, the new girlfriend Cranston takes that isn’t even half her age, and, most of all, to grouse that Cranston hadn’t aged a day during the three and a half decades he was gone.

    I get the feeling Cap’s old GF should’ve played a different role in this movie.

  94. jo-truth hurts says:

    This movie is pure garbage.
    Actors are awful. Story is simplistic and uninteresting. It is poorly filmed and dialogues are boring.
    Action scenes are unimpressive despite the amount of special effects and CGI.
    An arrogant and shitty movie.
    Just throw in some patriotic garbage and americans will applaud like well trained dogs (which they are ).
    Just put some boobies in leather suit and some explosions ,as well as some racism , and they ll be overjoyed.
    Just put some shit with a logo from a well known brand (here marvel ) and they ll pretend its a master piece, just because it sells and they buy. Just to be able to look in the mirror and say : woaw, i am an amazing being because i buy mainstream crap.
    No you are not. This film is crap , and you should just shut your mouth and get an education as well as a culture.
    Does an american even know what ‘culture’ means ?

    Poor guys….

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon