A Hooded Commentary on the New Thor and Captain America

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Disclaimer: I don’t keep up with the current status quo of Marvel and DC outside of the Internet scuttlebutt. I also don’t delve too deeply there so that when I finally get to play catch up via graphic novels at my local library I’m not completely spoiled. Thus, any opinions I form are subject to change upon a proper evaluation of the material.

 

Come October, Thor is going to be a woman. It seems that Thor Odinson has done goofed and is no longer worthy of his own hammer again. Its new wielder is a woman, but her identity is still being kept under wraps. There has been some speculation that Angela would be Mjölnir’s new wielder. However, I think that’s a bit unlikely since in the promo poster red headed Angela is standing right next to the still blonde  FemThor.EW Avengers NOW! Poster

So, what’s my opinion on this new development? Having just read through The Odison’s  wikipedia page, I have confirmed that there is lots of precedent for this kind of thing, and precedence is very important to me. For a period of time Eric Masterson replaced Thor. It is not even the first time that a woman has had the power of Thor. The idea has been explored in a couple of What if’s over the years. But seeing a woman take on the role in the mainstream 616 universe is kind of exciting. The question becomes how long is she going to be THE Thor, and when the Odinson takes over again is she going to remain a recurring character  like Beta Ray Bill? Marvel editor Wil Moss has claimed, “And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute…” But we all know that isn’t true, no matter how awesome she is it is in the nature of these things for them to snap back to the status quo eventually. If we are lucky, she will be given ample time as Thor and become popular enough to remain a front line character after the reversion.

Sidenote: I really like the costume redesign. It stays true to the classic look and removes most of the elements that I always thought looked dumb. They even manage to make the helmet, hands down the worst part of Thor’s costume, look great. The one bad thing about the outfit is that there seems to be a patch of skin below the breastplate and before the belt… that seems out of place. But it’s a fairly minimal flaw, especially considering that Odinson had several periods of midriff bearing costumes The 90's were on odd time for comics

 

Also part of the Avengers NOW! announcements is that Steve Rodgers is having to retire. This leaves a huge set of shoes to fill and Marvel is filling them with Sam Wilson. This is a good fit. There is plenty of precedence for Captain America being a legacy persona, passed from one person to the next. There is also precedence for Cap’s former sidekick to be the one to take over. As Bucky Barnes donned the red, white, and blue so too shall Steve’s modern sidekick Sam Wilson. An interesting thing about both of those transitions is that each brought some of their unique style to the persona. Bucky kept his trusty guns and Sam is keeping the wings from his Falcon suit. Sam Wilson is obviously having a resurgence in popularity since appearing in the MCU. This makes him a good choice not only for the story, but also a timely one for the company. Diversity in comics, and media….hell society in general, is an increasingly big deal. As Sam Wilson happens to be black, this allows Marvel to utilize the momentum of The Winter Soldier to add a feather to their diversity cap. However, as with the Thor change, it is unlikely to be permanent. CBR Sam Wilson, Captain America

As it also pertains to the Avengers NOW! announcements…. I think Tony Stark’s new armor looks dumb. He looks like a fucking iMac. That’s all I have to say about that.

EVA via google image seatch

A Hooded Commentary on Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Since its release on April 4th, I’ve gone to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier twice. Why would I pay to go see a movie in theaters twice these days? You might think it was because it was  good, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but it’s really because I wanted to see it with certain people that had scheduling conflicts which meant that the first viewing was in 2D. I try to go see the fancy new 3D versions of a film, since I can’t get that experience at home, and I’m eternally curious about how filmmakers choose to use the extra dimension. So, I went to go see it again in 3D with the biggest fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I know. It was a good call.

First, let’s talk about the difference a dimension makes. The early fight scenes of the movie had breakneck pacing that were hard to follow in 2D and downright jarring in 3D. Yet, the problem seems to disappear later in the film. I posit that it may have been an issue with my eyes having to adjust to the speed instead of a genuine flaw in the film. I’m happy to report that there were zero attempts to use the 3D gimmick of things popping out the of the screen at you. Instead the 3D was used to add depth of field. This mostly went unnoticed seamlessly letting the background go back for forever. However, there were at least two shots where the extra dimension elevated the scene to striking while the 2D versions were bland. There may have been more, but I was too caught up in the action to notice. All in all, I would say that the 3D version is the way the film was meant to be seen, but there were no parts of the film that did not function in 2D.

Alright, now that we’ve talked about the dimensional issue, let’s discuss the film itself. In general, I liked the film quite a bit. The action was lots of fun, I found the dialogue to be fairly snappy, and the reverberations of Steve Rogers being a man out of time were solid.

Despite its April release, I feel Captain America: The Winter Soldier qualifies as a summer blockbuster, it surely fulfils the explosion quota. The action throughout the film is frankly bonkers. It’s also remarkably brutal in its violence. Cap and his cohorts flat out kill motherfuckers all throughout the film. Personally, I really liked it. I like the idea of Captain America as fundamentally a soldier, willing to kill for the cause he’s fighting for. I won’t say it’s not for kids, because that’s the parents’ call. Brutality aside,the fights are well choreographed, and there aren’t to many instances of ridiculousness from Cap.

One of the things the MCU has had going for it is great characterization and solid dialogue. The repartee between characters in Winter Soldier  is consistently fun, be it exchanges between Cap and Sam Wilson, Black Widow and everybody, or Nick Fury and his car. Honestly, it feels a little Whedonesque.

There is a clear theme of Steve Rogers being lost. The opening of the film shows him filling in a notebook of things to catch up on. Played for laughs at the time, it sets up the disconnect that he feels throughout the rest of the film. This ranges from him visiting Peggy Carter, his love interest from The First Avenger, to him struggling with the idea of a SHIELD police state. The loss is best underscored by a scene where Rogers walks through a Smithsonian exhibit about himself and the Howling Commandos. Tangentially, the film also made up for a flaw in its predecessor. The First Avenger never really drove home the connection Bucky and Rogers had. In Winter Soldier, they used some very good flashbacks, conversations, and that museum display to drive home the depth of their relationship. Without that improvement, the entire idea behind the Winter Soldier would have fallen apart.

That wraps up the major points. Robert Redford and Anthony Mackie were excellent additions to the cast. I loved a certain reference that may hint at future film plans. I really like the way the film looped through Agents of SHIELD. I didn’t feel like the film presented much in the way of surprises plot wise, but a comic book film has to get up pretty early to catch me out. Other than that, I didn’t find a whole lot of issues to bring up. Captain America: The Winter Soldier may very well be my new favorite film in the MCU.

 

Image Source: http://marvel-movies.wikia.com/wiki/Captain_America:_The_Winter_Soldier