Take that, Hydra...
I know I said I don't do reviews anymore, so I'm labeling this a commentary...
Follow that with a hundred exclamation points. I am absolutely in love with it. It's fun, earnest and filled with everything I had hoped it would contain. The script by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely with an uncredited polish by Joss Whedon, is great and the characters are real, interesting and you care for them. Something that doesn't always happen when watching a film these days. This is Joe Johnston's best film, by far. This puts him in a whole new league in my opinion. He's always had potential, but there seemed to be something holding him back in each of his films. Usually it's the script. It is no surprise then that this is the best script he's had to film and it shows.
Although "The Dark Knight" is my favorite superhero film, this is my favorite adaptation. It's the closest thing I've seen to a perfect adaptation of the material. In a word, it is authentic. It takes things from many periods and many storytellers. There's the familiar Joe Simon & Jack Kirby stuff as well as the classic reboot by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby. But they also left room to use plot lines from the likes of Ed Brubacker and Mark Millar. You can tell where they leave off, and more than others, I can see how you could spin off several properties in the film. Bucky for "Winter Soldier," "The Howling Commandos," and even a glimpse of what a "S.H.I.E.L.D." film could be.
But this is a film that lives on its own. Unlike "Iron Man 2," where two thirds of the film felt like a set-up for "The Avengers," this film is totally self contained. There is no need to see or have seen another Marvel film. I was even fascinated by the closing credits and the way Johnston used them. Pure brilliance. If you waited around after the credits then you saw the teaser trailer for next summer's big offering, but I want to see a sequel to this film. And I hope at least part of it stays in the past that Steve Rogers longs to be in.
Because I know how he feels...