Hit The Flix: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America Winter Soldier Poster

No, you’ve not accidentally clicked on the wrong blog link. This really is Richard Jones, one of the Stay-At-Home Dudes.

Over at our other home, A Dude’s Guide to . . . Everything, I’ll occasionally review movies that I think will make for a great family viewing and I thought I’d apply that same line of thought here.

While there are a bunch of unique challenges to being a stay-at-home dude, there also are some benefits to the job as well. One of the things I loved to do when my youngest was very young* was to Hit the Flix with him at the early show. Of course, there were a lot of drawbacks to this plan.

For one, I’m not the type of insensitive boob who will bring a baby to a movie theater and then not leave with the kid if the kid starts to kick up a rumpus during the movie. Which means I might miss most of a movie on Hyper Lad’s bad days. If the movie I wanted to see wasn’t also one that he wanted to see,** I needed to pick out a movie that either 1) he could sleep through or b) wasn’t something he could understand. Response to which, see above.

As he got older, I also had to add another criteria to the selection process. Mainly, I had to make sure that, even if he didn’t understand the movie, there wasn’t anything in it that would get me in trouble if my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Enforcing Age-Restriction Edicts At The Movies, should happen to hear something from the mouths of babes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of those movies I could take him to see and he’d actively love. It’s got enough of the slam-bang fight captain_america_shield_by_jdrincs-d47gy9f.pngscenes and explosions and flying people and fistfights and car chases and explosions and big things blowing up real good, that it would have kept Hyper Lad’s attention for the duration of the movie. If that were all the movie offered, I’d probably not be here recommending it. 

However, this movie also has a whole bunch of stuff that’s fantastic for the older fan or the parent-age fan. Believe it or not, the movie offers an extended meditation on the question of sacrificing freedom for safety. It also makes some interesting comments about the Panopticon (the always-on survailence state with camers everywhere), sandwiching them nicely between explosions.

Most of the cast from the previous movie is back. Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Hayley Atwell (the very aged Peggy Carter) all continue their strong performances. Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson (Falcon) is especially good as the PTSD counselor at the Veterans’ Agency who Cap befriends. 

The directors have said they wanted this movie to have a 1970’s political conspiracy film feel to it. The addition of Robert Redford as S.H.I.E.L.D. higher up Alexander Pierce just about makes that connection all on its own.

The plot, while it’s relatively easy to follow, does have several rather large holes in it, many of which have a truck driven straight through them. However, back to basics, we find out that S.H.I.E.L.D. is rotten to the core, compromised by Hydra, and the resurgent terrorist group is about to achieve world power. If only there were someone to stand up to Hydra and stop them.

One of the hallmarks of Hydra’s plan involves the use of an intelligence ghost story, the killer of the century, the Winter Soldier. Even though this savagely efficient assassin has never been photographed, his legend says he’s been making kills for the better part of the last seventy years. Cap doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he’s going to believe in this one. See, the Winter Soldier has a secret that comes straight out of Cap’s past and is going to shake the Sentinel of Liberty to the core of his beliefs.

This really is a fantastic movie. It’s got a ton of laughs, great action, thrills and chills, and moments of pure fist-pumping vindication and joy. Provided your young ones don’t get antsy at very loud noises, this is definitely a family film. That is, the family can go to watch it without folks looking at you funny. Well, looking at you funny(er).

Go and Hit this Flix.

Footnotes & Errata

* Well, I did love to do it when I could convince myself to overlook the massive guilt I’d dump all over myself for heading to see a movie while others in the family were working very, very hard.
** Kids should never be allowed to pick out movies over the objection of parents. I mean this. If you allow the kids to pick movies, you end up going to appalling movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop and begging the person in the seat next to you to please, for the love of FSM, kill you just to end the suffering. Or Pokémon. Same thing.