Patriot Games: At the After Party for Captain America, Chris Evans Sneaks Out the Back and Paul Haggis’ Son Plays Film Critic

Cobie Smulders, Chris Evans, Frank Grillo. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Cobie Smulders, Chris Evans, Frank Grillo. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Comic book movies come with built in questions for the stars and at the red carpet for the Cinema Society screening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the Tribeca Grand last week journalists had no qualms lobbing the softballs faster than a speeding bullet.

“Wonder Woman would be a big one I guess,” Actress Cobie Smulders told one recorder extended over the velvet rope.

“Nah, nah,” the film’s star Chris Evans explained to another. “It’d be embarrassing to fly.”

Soon everyone had settled in to the hotel’s tiny subterranean screening room, which felt more suited to an indie flick than a pre-summer blockbuster—even if the one in question is surprisingly le Carré-esque for a film in which the characters call the progagonist “Captain” in serious moments. Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir reminded everyone to stay for the credits since this film would feature two of those bonus clips that Marvel likes to tack on at the end of its movies, teasing what may come next.

“These ain’t THAT good,” Samuel L. Jackson yelled from the audience.

They weren’t, but the rest of the movie was! Big changes for the Avengers moving forward. Afterward everyone assembled at the James Hotel for a rooftop after party.

John Corbett said he’d just finished shooting a pilot with Dennis Leary called “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” in which Mr. Leary plays a washed up rocker who has to enlist another one, played by himself, to make it back to the top. Mr. Corbett’s character is, at the time employed by Lady Gaga, who also appears in the pilot. What’s she like to work with?

“Well we don’t know,” Mr. Corbett said, “because in her scene she was just a big plastic pyramid, walking into a party.” Both Mr. Corbett and his colleague from the pilot John Ales said they were big fans of superhero movies

“Johnny should take over as Superman I think,” Mr. Ales said, slapping the very tall Mr. Corbett. “Superman’s gotten too young!”

Mr. Evans stopped by the party only briefly and could not therefore weigh in on this but reviews for his movie were unequivocal.

“I loved it,” director Paul Haggis said, taking a break from bobbing before a banquette. “And my son and his friends loved it as well.”  He gestured to the three teenagers in suits sitting in the banquette.

“I thought it was really good,” the younger Mr. Haggis said. “As a comic fan I found this to be really enjoyable, and am excited to see what the next one has in store.”

But where does it rank with the other Avengers movies? All three agreed that it was better than The Avengers, which had, before this, been their favorite movie. Below that, Josh Goldblatt said, was probably Iron Man 2. A controversial opinion! I found it underrated myself but James Haggis disagreed.

“I liked the first one more than any of the others,” he said.

“I’m a huge back story geek,” Mr. Goldblatt said of what really sold The Winter Soldier for him. This one stuck close to the comic.

As it happens, Iron Man 2‘s writer, Justin Theroux, made an appearance at the party and we tried to sort it out with him. Where did he think his movie fit in on the Avengers ranking scale?

“I’m gonna leave that one up to Paul Haggis’ son,” he said, scooting out the door.

Patriot Games: At the After Party for Captain America, Chris Evans Sneaks Out the Back and Paul Haggis’ Son Plays Film Critic