Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
A welcome addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the second Captain America film brings the square superhero to our modern-day and presents a complicated national setting where the enemy is the U.S government. The challenge with a Captain America (played by Chris Evans) movie is just how outdated his whole sensibility seems, an irony-free nationalistic hero. Smartly, the filmmakers have pushed his loyalties to the test, and the movie transforms into something along the lines of a Jason Bourne thriller, where the government is hunting down a rogue fugitive. It’s certainly the most timely superhero film since 2008’s The Dark Knight, and the political commentary on the NSA spying and drones is a welcome big screen subversion. But the action is still what people come for and in that the Winter Soldier is quite an entertaining movie. Directed by the Russo brothers, known mostly for their comedy work in TV like Community, the movie packs quite a punch with a variety of action/thriller sequences, each well staged and well developed. My favorite might be Nick Fury under assault and desperate to escape in his car from overwhelming enemy forces. An opening sequence rescuing hostages on a boat serves as a great reminder why Captain America is indeed so super. The movie does have some issues but nothing so large as to derail the enjoyment. First off the villain is way too obvious, but also the movie lets the U.S. government off the hook, falling back on a select evil group that has been undercover perverting the government. Secondly, the Winter Soldier of the title is one plotline that doesn’t feel needed or well integrated. It’s another super soldier for Cap to combat and this guy has a mysterious link to our hero. It feels like one plotline too many, a story that deserves better attention on its own. Still, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an engaging, thrilling, intelligent, and altogether entertaining addition into Marvel’s sprawling cinematic canvas.
Nate’s Grade: B+
Posted on April 8, 2014, in 2014 Movies and tagged action, anthony mackie, chris evans, comic book, drama, marvel, politics, robert redford, russo brothers, samuel l. jackson, scarlett johnansson, sequel, spy thriller, super hero, toby jones. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
Not sure how well versed you are in Captain America’s Winter Soldier storyline Nate…but that plotline is a setup for a big future payoff. -Kiel Howell
I wasn’t that familiar, though I felt he could have had his own main storyline rather than squeezing him into this one.
You are entirely right and as a standalone film I can completely agree with that sentiment. But, I believe Marvel (and Disney) has really moved away from considering any of these “single” superhero movies as a standalone. They are expecting us to hang onto plots over the course of several movies that will eventually resolve. Whether or not this ends up being a good choice…time will tell.
Personally, I think they did very well on what they gave us of the Winter Soldier. I am certain we will see a Winter Soldier solo movie in the future. I am also certain we will see the Winter Soldier over the next 9 movies (or however many they contracted the actor for).
It would be interesting to see you do an analysis of the MCU as a whole in tandem with your analysis of each singular film.
That could be interesting. after reading up on the Winter Soldier some, I’m sure it was also a canny movie on Marvel’s part to have Chris Evans’ replacement already lined up.
Good review Nate. The type of fun, exciting movie Marvel has practically perfected by now. Even if it is a bit too serious at times.
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