Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

capt. amercia winter soldierCaptain America: The Winter Soldier – 4.5/5 –  Within the world of Marvel, there are many stories.  With those stories, they have been able to create this cinematic universe, which is a stunning achievement.  Marvel Studios has done a great job in incorporating all their brands under one umbrella.  What makes their movies standout is that even with the intertwining stories, the movies are distinct to themselves.  This sequel to both the Avengers and Captain America is no exception.  With slight cliché elements of espionage and spy niches, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a film that will stand out as one of the best films in the comic book genre to date.

Premise:  Set 2 years after The Avengers; Captain America comes to face challenges of both the new and old world.  As lies become truths, Captain must find a way to take out threats to both him and SHIELD’s own existence.

In this film, you have some returning characters from previous films.  You have:

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

Hayley Atwell as Peggie Carter

There are a few others, but these are the most notable returners.  Leading the cast as Captain America, Chris Evans gives a superb performance of the man ‘out of time’.  Within this film, you see a progression of sorts for Steve Rogers, someone that is still coping with this world he barely knows.  Even after the events of The Avengers, he is still having a tough time adjusting to the 21st Century.  There are a lot of different things that come into question his existence and his moral code.  You watch as Evans gives us a more grounded approach to the character, creating someone that is a ‘hero’ on the surface, but also is still a ‘person’ dealing with situational change.  He basically gives a deep complex individual, someone that is fragile but strong.  You see that he struggles with being true to what he feel is right, but also must change with the times.  It is a conflict that is thematic and real, even if it is created within a comic book character.  The rest of the returning cast gives good performances, and help provided that background of conflict for Captain America.  The one that gets more back-story here is Black Widow.  You get a deeper aspect of what ‘drives’ this woman (from her history), and Johansson does a good job in providing a strong female persona.  With that strong persona, it helps create great chemistry between her and Rogers, showing us that there is a real relationship between both of them.  Along with the returners, you have some newcomers in this film.  You have:

Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow

Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce

Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon

Sebastian Stan is a returning cast member, but I place him as a newcomer because he plays a different character this time around.  As the Winter Solider, he plays a brainwashed assassin; someone that comes in direct confrontation with Captain America.  This helps provide a rod of a real ‘antagonist’, creating a deeper individual for the film.  He isn’t a traditional villain, giving us a complex person that struggles with his current assignment, providing a conflicting choice for him and Steve Rogers.  This complexion creates a dilemma, one that shows the true meaning of making a tough choice.  Robert Redford gives a strong performance as Alexander Pierce, creating someone that is subtle with strength through wording charisma.  Another great performance is found in Roger’s new partner, Sam Wilson.  Anthony Mackie helps provide a raw connection to the new era for Steve.  He creates someone that is relatable but also reflective because of his own experience in war.  When it comes to the action, he gives us a unique twist as The Falcon, one that is cool and convincing on screen.

This film is not a traditional Comic book film.  There isn’t the ‘flash’ and ‘bang’ of good vs. evil here.  What we get is an espionage/political thriller, encompassed in the world of a comic book character.  In the beginning, we see how Steve Rogers has found a role with SHIELD, working missions for Nick Fury.  The early part of the film is a typical action prelude; one that shows what we will expect throughout the film.  Along with the introducing to both the old and new characters, the film begins to slowly move along a methodical pace, revealing layers of emotional experiences for Captain America as well as the slow depreciation of SHIELD.  As we watch as Captain America has dialogue and situational scenes showing his ‘readjusting’ to this new world, the ‘spy’ elements get introduced through the mystery behind SHIELD.  When we get the ‘shocking’ events that leads to marking our hero as an ‘outcast’, we get our thrilling elements as Captain America is driven into hiding and begins to investigate the truth behind the lies.  There are many secrets within SHIELD, and both Captain America and Black Widow must find them out.  The film then begins to focus more on deepening both the characters and the story; showing Captain America test his own moral code as well as what SHIELD is, and the evils that lie within it.  As they begin to find the truth, the Winter Soldier is let loose on both of them, as he becomes the ‘wildcard’ for both the reminisce of SHIELD and the underline threat within.  As the film continues on, we get a mix of both political wrangling, spy sequences, unique ‘hyper realistic’ action and revealing ‘twist’ moments.  Once the film gets into its third act, all of the cards are put on the table, and Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon must take out a threat, which will lead to bigger consequences for them and the rest of the heroes in the Marvel Universe.  As you watch this happen, you realize the basic linearity of the films direction are nothing more than a string that shifts story elements, seeing that whatever was ‘predictable’ shows how this film has a ‘realistic’ approach to the whole aspect of Captain America.  This grounds everything that is happening, providing a rawness to the action and pseudo government elements.  Once the film get’s to the climax, Captain America faces some tough choices; choices that will leave a change for him and the rest of the members of the SHIELD.  When the film ends, it feels like the end of a ‘chapter’, one that will lead into bigger things down the road.

The visuals of the film are a great aspect of the film, strong in its aesthetic nature.  By giving us a raw appeal of a real society, we are giving a visually draw to a fiction world from Marvel’s comic books.  From the creation of SHIELD’s headquarters, Downtown Washington, the costumes of the main characters and so forth, you have a believability factor, even if some elements were surreal.  The score of the film didn’t have much of an impact, but it is worth noting that the music is there.

Overall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier pushes the envelope further for both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Captain America himself.  With great spy elements and awesome action, this film gives us a different comic book film, that is one of the best to date.  If you’re a fan of Marvel, Captain America or like espionage films, this is one for you. This is worth full price at the movie theaters, and a good time with friends.


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