Captain America: The Winter Soldier has awesome reviews, great word-of-mouth. I’ve heard from many a person that it’s the best superhero sequel of all time. But these people either never saw The Dark Knight, or they’re fucking stupid (no offence, yo!) I’m more than sick of these pseudo-masculine wank jobs which pass for comic book movies, and with each reboot, a little bit of my heart dies, like a raisin so rank and crusted it wouldn’t interest you, like, ever.
The reasons I die inside every time I have to see some shit-wig wearing, pimp chested douchebag save the fucking world yet again, are complex. And for a terrible film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier certainly had an effect on me. Mostly, because of a person I thought I’d never meaningfully connect with ever again (post-Woody Allen, and even pre-him, Scarlett waned for me, until now).
Be not mistaken, this is an incredibly boring movie. Okay, there’s a killer Tarantino reference if you sit still long enough, and the action sequences aren’t all badly-animated CGI, dated before its released. It’s not boring because I hate comic book movies, or superheroes. Far from. I’ve barely loved a thing more than 10 blissful years of Smallville, and almost any Batman incarnation is a boyfriend I swore I’d never go back to but, here we are, these years on, and I’m seriously considering Ben Affleck, bum chin and all. But this movie’s important, in a way which totally ties in with Amy Roberts’ awesome child assassins article: the women in this movie are kick-ass, when they’re allowed to be (which is not always, and exactly why we’re so fucking desperate to no longer have to rely on a 9 year old to pep the future of feminism). They’re more than cardboard cut-outs and, in fact, I’d hazard to say this story has more to do with Black Widow than it does old Cap America, who should just curl up and grave die with that super-old dementia girlfriend of his, a la The Notebook. Before I get to rant about what this movie did right, in merely suggesting the world could handle a superhero movie led by a woman (*gasp*), I’d like to complain about some of the latent shit.
And number one on that list is Peggy still being alive. I’m sorry, but what the actual fuck? Didn’t we establish at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger that everyone Steve Rogers knew was now dead and gone? I’m super upset by this revelation and the maths of it totally threw me. I definitely think too much, but there’s no fucking way Peggy, Steve’s wartime girlfriend, is still alive at this point. The scene we suffer through where good old love of her life Steve visits Peggy bedside was so akin to the old lady in Titanic popping her clogs next to twenty photos of the incredible life she managed to have after she murdered Leo DiCaprio I, for a second, forgot this was a movie meant for a male demographic. Excuse me for not being into your sexist bullshit which suggests that this lady did the best she could, but without the love of a superhero, her achievements are a bit disappointing. Let her die in peace, please, without the bleached hair douchebagging weekly visits.
As for Captain himself, as Scarlett says, he’s a fossil. Which begs: is Captain America only attractive in the way Clooney is, taken to an extreme? Everyone wants to fuck him because he’s like 94 but has a steel torso? He’s a total GILF, I get it but, also, doing a disservice to GILFs everywhere. Nothing hotter than an older man, is there? Except that he’s not. He’s engineered this way. And he doesn’t know who Nirvana are. He can fuck right off. At least we know he’s such a bad kisser that Scarlett would rather be alone forever. There’s always that.
This is Scarlett’s movie. I didn’t take a stopwatch but she clocks as much screen time as Chris Evans, if not more, which I was totally surprised by. The posters did nothing but reinforce the sexist bullshit that is the superhero movie, with Scarlett swaying that ginger wig, looking into the distance, cleavage enhanced for 3D, while the film’s men get to look at the camera. Avoiding eye contact can be sexy, but this is just ridiculous, and pandering to stereotypes everywhere. Especially when her character is not only pivotal, but central to the entire plot. She’s more important than any other sidekick, and I’d go as far as to say there’s no movie without her.
Interesting then, that we’re not getting a Black Widow movie any time soon. Instead, we’ve been covertly sold one, under the Captain America banner when, actually, this is almost it. It’s not perfect by any means (I called it boring, didn’t I?) but it’s a massive fucking step in 2014. Jesus, we should be bloody ashamed of ourselves that the best we can do for a female superhero role model is either a 12 year old girl or a badly wigged sidekick replete with sexual innuendo when not kicking ass. This is Scarlett’s movie not purely based on screen time, but character development. When she realises the people she’s been working for are totally corrupt, she questions every move she’s made to this point. Sure, meat head Chris Evans is there to console her (maybe meat head’s unfair – he can quip, I’ll give him that), but she doesn’t need him. She’s making choices, for herself, for the good of other people, and these weigh heavy on her. She doesn’t quit.
In a showdown with the worst wig of all time (Winter Soldier/Bucky), she outsmarts him, almost completely, deflecting him with a voice recording of herself, and generally kicking his face in. Unfortunately, she needs Captain to save her from this douchebag eventually, but I guess he had to be utilised somehow, the amount they’re paying him. She could’ve totes killed that Gossip Girl cuntwipe if she wanted though (he was wayyyyyyyyyy better in GG too, xoxo).
And in a total womanhood move, Black Widow’s the one that takes Robert Redford’s villain down (looking hot there, grandad, call me), which means spilling secrets about her history on to the internet in some questionable, yet plot-fully necessary, tech move, so the world knows everything she’s ever done. Redford calls her bluff, doesn’t believe she’ll go through with it, but there’s never a question. She’s resolute and assured in a decision once she’s made it: which means she more than rocks.
Scarlett’s not the only awesome woman in this film. Cobie Smulders returns as Agent Maria Hill and effortlessly perfects every fucking thing that she does. Shooting two men running at her is carried out with the ease of turning lights on, and killing security detail happens with a quip about her own helmet crushing her head. She’s a woman taking absolutely no shit, and I have no doubt she’s organising the majority of men in her life, including Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury (whose acting in this film is somehow impossibly worse than that of Snakes on a Plane). Emily Van Camp doesn’t get much of a chance to show what’s possible here, and ends up being a dating prospect for Captain America, but the fact that she’s undercover and Captain America has been completely oblivious to this gives me hope. The women here are smarter, wiley, capable of using their charms, and eliminating sex like a switch the second weaponry is needed. I kind of wish Scarlett hadn’t talked quite so much about setting Cap up with a lady. She’s better than dating advice, and these women, frankly, are so over romancing a 94 year old emotionally defunct mince for brains, who’d rather throw down all weapons to fist fight like a real man. Like, seriously?
Along with the older-than-life ex-girlfriend, this movie has a mahoosive ageism problem, specifically being incredibly ageist towards women. Not only is the ex too old to be with the love of her life that seeing her’s basically community service, but Jenny Agutter, who plays Councilwoman Hawley, gets to beat the shit out of a bunch of people, only for it to turn out she didn’t, that it was Black Widow dressed as her. Which begs the question, why couldn’t we have Jenny Agutter take out a bunch of heavies? She did it, supremely, and it was one of my favourite moments of the film, until Scarlett pulled her disguise off to reveal she was behind the kicks and hits all along. Although, I applaud the fact it was a woman taking down this network of morons, why did the movie have to be so age-based? It undermines capabilities, and undercuts the cool surprise, only fuelling the sexist misogyny we’re selling the world lately, and always. Sort it the fuck out, now.
We’re left with Black Widow saying goodbye, and leaving the team to find herself, redefine who she is the light of recent revelations, now the world knows her secrets. If you look at it the way I like, you basically were just conned into watching a Black Widow movie, sold with a male superhero title. Let’s hope and fucking pray to any loser that’ll listen that when she gets a film with her name in the title it’s better than that whack job Electra’s. We’re ready.