As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to gain success and expand it’s architecture, Marvel Studios seems to be getting more comfortable taking risks. While Captain America himself isn’t such a big risk having proved his popularity in Marvel’s smash hit “Avengers”, the Winter Soldier story line could be argued as a tale for only hardcore comics fans. However, this is one case where the risk was 100% worth the reward.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we find Steve Rogers (cap) reprised by Chris Evans, still trying to adjust to his new life after the battle of New York in Avengers. As his fellow team mates all have a place to go and people to be with at the conclusion of Avengers, Steve is still “a man out of time” to quote Loki, so he finds himself adjusting to this new era by doing what he knows best, taking orders and fighting where he’s needed and he does so as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. As Captain America starts to understand the way S.H.I.E.L.D operates, he begins to question the morals of the organization and the lines between right and wrong start to become a bit too blurry for him to deal with. It isn’t long before Steve Rogers’ past comes back to haunt him, in more ways than one. With the help of his friends, some old and new, Cap must uncover ugly truths and save the world from a great threat once again.
The action sequences in Captain America: The Winter Soldier are outstanding and essentially non stop. From the hand to hand combat sequences to the massively scaled explosions, the action in this film is breathtaking and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo really seem to understand the characters roots and transfer them from comic to big screen perfectly. Captain America is agile, powerful, and most importantly firm in what he stands for. This is the Captain America i’ve been waiting to see since the super hero movie craze took off.
Supporting characters such as Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon played by Anthony Mackie, are also given a lot of dimension and personality, though I could of done to see a bit more of Falcon’s story. Falcon’s appearance was an initial concern of mine but Mackie does fantastic job bringing the character to life in the Marvel Universe. You will fully believe in Falcon’s loyalty to Cap but, you don’t learn too much about his backstory. Sam Jackson and Scarlett Johansson are back to reprise their roles as Nick Fury and Black Widow respectively. Sam Jackson gives his best performance yet as Nick Fury and we begin to see some of the more complex sides to the character. Johansson also does a great job with Black Widow and gives even more dimensions to the role, her performance got me personally intrigued in a possible Black Widow spin off movie. Sebastian Stan also returns to the Marvel Universe as the films antagonist. Stan brings a real element of danger to the role which I feel Marvel has lacked in previous films.
When the Winter Soldier show up, you feel threatened and you aren’t so sure the hero will have everything under control as usual. This element of danger is crucial to making a believable scenario in such an ungrounded universe and Sebastian Stan completely nails it. I won’t give too much away but, the relationship between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes will have your stomach in knots. Acting legend Robert Redford plays Alexander Pierce, Nick Fury’s mentor, and he performs beautifully while bringing a element of class super hero movies often lack.
The term “Political Thriller” has been thrown around quite a bit when speaking of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the movie can indeed be classified as such. However, I would first and foremost classify the movie as an Action film with a side of political thriller, which is just exactly the way I want it to be. The Winter Soldier does a brilliant job of juggling multiple story threads without losing it’s momentum. I never found myself bored during the film and I was anxious and excited to see what would happen next every step of the way. I would have liked to learn more about Sam Wilson’s background before we see him in action. I also think Winter Soldier wasn’t given enough screen time due to other conflicts taking place which is a real shame because he is a show stealer.
Overall Captain America: The Winter Soldier is some of Marvel Studios’ best work yet and most importantly it movies the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe forward while maintaining the films integrity. The Winter Soldier has been my favorite movie of the summer yet and one of my favorite Marvel movies to date. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and you’re a fan of comic book movies or super hero movies in general, do yourself a favor and get to a theatre now!
(All movie scores are based on a scale ranging from 1 to 10)