Falcon takes flight in ‘Captain America’

Bring on the superheroes! “Captain America: the Winter Soldier” opened Friday.

A private screening was held last week at Cinebistro Atlanta. Movie lovers and comic book fans are in for a treat as this sequel brings heaps of fist clinching action.

“I found myself multi-times gripping my seat, guessing what will happen next and, yes, even yelling in excitement in the theater,” said attendee Judi Blair.

The superhero sequel reprises with stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, but a newcomer flies in to help save the day. Anthony Mackie takes on the iconic role of Falcon, known for being the first mainstream African American comic book hero when the character debuted in 1969.

Mackie and co-producer Nate Moore talked about the movie and the Falcon character during a press conference and an interview with the AJC.

“We needed that authenticity, someone equal to Captain America who could set the right tone. (Mackie) was our first choice,” said Moore.

Mackie may be new to the Captain America set but he is a regular on the big screen. Featured in films including “8 Mile,” “The Hurt Locker” and director Spike Lee’s “Sucker Free City,” Mackie goes to new heights as Falcon —- literally.

“I get to do what I love,” Mackie said, “I get to go on a string and fly! In a safe environment. Not many people get to do that.”

Mackie has Atlanta connections: his brother Calvin received degrees from Morehouse and Georgia Tech.

“I love coming to Atlanta,” said Mackie, “the culture, the style, and I love seeing black people doing black things.”

The duo constantly bounced jokes off each other but both have a serious take on the underlying theme of Captain America.

“I love it because the characters stand up for what’s right,” said Moore.

Mackie agreed, “standing up against S.H.I.E.L.D. they follow their instincts, they stand up for what they believe in, but they can also fail for what they believe in.”

“Captain America: the First Avenger” grossed over $65 million its opening weekend in 2011.

New directors, Emmy award winning brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, were brought in for “Winter Solider.” The Russo brothers are also signed on for Captain America’s third installation set to release summer 2016.

“The movie is based on the comic, not the comic based on the movie,” said Moore, “we focused on the script, and what would make these characters real to the movie.”

Staying authentic to the story line is important for movie goers and fans of the comics alike,

“My only expectation is that they stay consistent to the comic book and not create their own story,” said Captain America comic book fan Ron Broussard. “If they do, make sure it stays close because true comic (fans) can sniff it out in a heartbeat.”

Catherine Tyler, who attended the private screening, called it “one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.”

Mackie doesn’t know if he’ll be cast in future installments but he’s hopeful his work as Falcon in “Winter Soldier” will make a mark.

“Next Halloween when brown boys dress as Falcon,” he said, “it’s a job well done.”