The release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier this month on disc and download reminds of what a terrific film it is. With some competition from its delightful Marvel Studios sibling, Guardians of the Galaxy, it's the best pop movie of the year.
Maybe it's because the studio movies at this time of year are so universally dreadful, but I find myself drawn to the smaller films that bite and snarl and generally have bad manners: Bad Words, The Raid 2 and, this week, Dom Hemingway.
Captain America unreels with machine-like efficiency from end-to-end. It's loaded with enough action and emotion to lure in audiences not steeped in comic book minutia, but also peppered with tie-ins and callbacks.
Not quite as much fun as Thor, not nearly as bad as Green Lantern, Captain America: The First Avenger feels less like an exciting comic-book-hero movie than required reading for a course called The Avengers, arriving in theaters next summer.