Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Popcorn movie, interesting concepts

Some bad fight editing, doesn't explore the ideas presented enough

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Captain America:  The Winter Soldier

Studio:  Marvel Studios

Genre(s):   Comic Book/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  March 13, 2014 (Premiere)/April 4, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

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Nice shield…I think I might keep it!

When a ship carrying sensitive S.H.I.E.L.D. data is captured by a French mercenary named Batroc (Georges St-Pierre), Captain America (Chris Evans) learns that not everything is in the open with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s relationship with the world.  Now, Captain America finds himself on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. and teamed with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a man named Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and an unstoppable assassin named the Winter Soldier is after them.  Who is the Winter Soldier, and how can Captain America stop the impending threat to the world?

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Captain America:  The Winter Soldier is a follow-up to 2011’s Captain America:  The First Avenger and 2012’s The Avengers.  The movie was released in standard format and 3D and received mostly positive reviews upon its release.  The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

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Well, I could lift my leg that high if I wanted to…

I have to say before we get into this film that there will be *****Spoiler Alert***** in effect throughout the review.  I don’t necessarily feel that the movie is a very spoiler based film, but there are some reveals that some might be surprised by…did I really hear people gasp when they learned Bucky was the Winter Soldier?  Even if you didn’t read the comic that isn’t much of a reveal…

I preferred Captain America:  The First Avenger to much of the pre-Avengers films (and more than The Avengers itself).  I like the character and I like the directions it can go in a political climate like today.  In Captain America:  The Winter Soldier, these themes are taken farther, but not quite explored enough.

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What if all falcons had guns…

The concept of the movie revolves around preemptive strikes against potential terrorists, but what that means for freedom.  Of course, this idea is never tested because it is evil (HYDRA’s big plan) and the battle between Steve and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) feels a bit unresolved.  This interesting concept is a bit muddled with battles between Steve and the Winter Soldier and the plotline involving Bucky Barnes…I feel the meat of the story is the idea that Captain America stands for America and not the system (as opposed to Marvel’s Ultimate Universe which reverses that) and wished it had been explored a bit more.

The movie is full of obvious reveals.  Yep, Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes (the comic book reveal was a bit more shocking since Bucky had been out of commission for 50 years) and no, Samuel L. Jackson isn’t dead (I found it a bit weird when they had the dramatic walk in at the Triskelion like it was a surprise it was him…almost felt like the secret hospital shot was added).  Also not shocking is that Robert Redford is a bad guy…I wish Marvel wouldn’t try so hard with these reveals that aren’t a surprise nor that revealing.  It takes away from the story.  (I do feel Arnim Zola’s reveal worked better though I wasn’t particularly surprised).

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I cry at night….

The casting continues to be strong.  With the idea that many of these characters could someday spin-off into their own movies or TV series, it makes sense to get it right and Marvel films often do that.  Chris Evans remains a great Captain America and Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow is growing on me a bit.  I liked the revamped Falcon by Anthony Mackie and would love to at least see a throwback costume.  Sebastian Stan was good in the first Captain America as Bucky so it was good that the story brought him back, but I felt there was a little too much Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson moments that slowed down the pacing (plus how many times can people escape into the ground?)  Cobie Smulders returns as Maria Hill and the series introduces Captain America’s longtime girlfriend Sharon Carter (aka Agent 13) as played by Emily VanCamp though there is no indication that she is a descendant of Peggy Carter who is reprised by Hayley Atwell.  You also get villains Brock Rumlow (aka Crossbones) played by Frank Grillo, Batroc the Leaper played by mixed martial artist Georges St.-Pierre, and Arnim Zola by Toby Jones.  You get the obligatory Stan Lee cameo as a security guard, Community’s Danny Pudi stops by as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Garry Shandling’s senator is back, and a post-credit scene introducing Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

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Steeeeve….quit being a jerk!

My biggest complaint with Captain America:  The Winter Soldier, is that I thought some of the fight scenes were edited pretty sloppy.  The actual visuals work (I’m glad to see Captain America back in his cooler original uniform), but I found that the jumpy cuts of fight scenes lost all of the energy of the fight…which there are a lot of.

Captain America feels less like filler than some of Marvel movies but it also feels like there is a lot of unresolved stuff which is being saved for sequels, the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Avengers:  Age of Ultron.  I get what Marvel is doing and it was cool the first time, but I also want solid stand-alone films.  It doesn’t have the epic nature of Star Wars:  The Empire Strikes Back if you are expecting and have announced multiple sequels…it just becomes an episode of a long big-budget TV series.  That isn’t always bad, but I hope that is not all the Marvel movies become.  Captain America returned in Avengers:  Age of Ultron in 2015 and had a sequel in Captain America:  Civil War in 2016.

Related Links:

Captain America:  The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America:  Civil War (2016)

The Avengers (2012)

Avengers:  Age of Ultron (2015)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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