'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Beats 'Rio 2' at Box Office, Proves Winter is Coming

In its second week at the box office, Captain America: The Winter Soldier edged out Rio 2 in its weekend debut. The animated film brought in $39 million, while Captain America raked in a cool $41.4 million. The verdict? Despite a rise in temperatures, viewers appear to be embracing the winter. I blame Game of Thrones.

Like Watchmen and the Philip K. Dick novel Minority Report, Captain America: The Winter Soldier appears to be embracing a theme of "who will guard the guardians?" Quotes like "To build a better world... sometimes means tearing the old one down" are interwoven with shots of Captain America looking doe-eyed and increasingly pained, as though he's being told how chicken nuggets are made for the first time. Nick Fury tells him, "We're going to neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen," and he responds, "Thought the punishment usually came after the crime." This phlegmatic interchange, coupled with the fact that we only get a short glimpse of a would-be villain, indicates that something (their moral compass?) is breaking down in S.H.E.I.L.D. Because of this theme, The Winter Soldier may exert a special draw on Americans who are feeling disillusioned with everything from the economy to the Common Core. Captain America may file his taxes, but he doesn't have to like it. And he certainly doesn't have to accept his place as a political pawn, which may be more than most of us can say.

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Rio 2, on the other hand, is marketing to a less disillusioned audience. While Rio 2 does take a stand against deforestation, RogerEbert.com compares it to a tropical Meet the Parents . Writer Susan Wloszczyna dubs it "an unnecessary animated sequel that presumably exists because the first "Rio" grossed a robust $485 million worldwide." Rio 2 has the distinction of landing in the class of films that I refer to as "morbid curiosities." Even if you don't actually want to watch them, you're curious to see how much they corrupt or undercut the message of the first film or the original book (Case in point: The Desolation of Smaug). There are, clearly, some high points to Rio 2, but they are lost in the overall clamor for money. Pixar allowed four years to lapse between the first and second films of Toy Story, but the producers of Rio and Rio 2 are like the Girl Scouts who canvas your house twice a month, greedy for profit. That being said, children should like this film.

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So, while winter and corruption seem to be winning at the box office, improvements in our natural surroundings should give us a chance to escape the darkness of early spring entertainment. Even if we can't trust our superhero organizations any more, we can soak up enough vitamin D and fresh air that we don't mourn their loss.

Images: Marvel