Review: Captain America – The Winter Soldier

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo.

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Emily VanCamp.

Rating:   Running Time: 136 mins.

As a fan of the Marvel movies I was profoundly disappointed six months ago by Thor: The Dark World which suffered from lacklustre writing that dumbed down story and character in favour of action. I didn’t hate the movie, but it was my least favourite of all the Marvel movies made to date. I wondered if Marvel’s cinematic success may have ended and the series may have run its course, but if anything Captain America: The Winter Soldier has both restored my faith in the series and set the bar high for its future. I hate for things to be spoiled, so believe me when I say this will be spoiler free, and will only discuss in detail the opening 25 or so minutes.

The movie opens with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) now adapting to modern day life, having acclimated somewhat to the 21st Century he has found a place for himself with S.H.I.E.L.D.(the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division). Leading a tactical team for director Nick Fury(Samuel L. Jackson) that includes several highly trained soldiers and Natasha Romanov, a.k.a. Black Widow(Scarlett Johannson). As Fury works away at a secret plan with Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), his longtime friend and member of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ruling council, a mysterious assassin known to Natasha as The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) leads an attack on Fury and Rogers finds himself thrown into the middle of a conspiracy not knowing who he can trust.

The thing that sets Captain America: The Winter Soldier apart from other comic book movies is that while it does feature superheroes, it doesn’t treat its story like a comic book movie. Instead of playing things up for the audience this is a serious action thriller with political undertones, commenting on important issues such as liberty and freedom that are very much a concern to people of the world today, making it the most real-world relevant Marvel movie to date. Of course it isn’t just about that, and features some genuinely pulse raising action sequences that are well choreographed and edited so as to be easy to follow and to believe, given Steve Rogers superhuman speed, strength and ability to endure incredible physical feats that would kill an average human being.

It also has interesting characters, with pitch perfect performances from all of the cast which inbetween the action allows for some great moments of dramatic tension that were missing from some of the previous Marvel movies (particularly Thor: The Dark World), and these elements along with the great balance of action and drama, along superb direction by Anthony & Joe Russo may just make it Marvel’s best movie to date, better even than Marvel’s biggest achievement which up until now had been putting all of their characters together in Avengers Assemble (a.k.a. The Avengers). Another element that makes it stand out above the rest is that while it’s strongly based in American rederick, it deals with the subjects of freedom and liberty in a way that affects and applies not only to the United States but to the entire world, helping it feel more relevant to the audience.

The movie is available in both 3D and 2D, though even as a supporter of 3D I have to say that it is unnecessary in this movie, and that the 2D version is the best way to view it. Be sure to stay all the way to the end of the credits for not one, but two additional scenes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is literally a Marvel of a movie, and is very much a game changer for that universe which will shake up things hugely and have ramifications for the several franchises that it connects with. A fantastic infusion of adrenaline to the heart that will prevent the Marvel universe from becoming stale and repetitive in the coming years.

Posted on March 26, 2014, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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