Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

4/04/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Chris Evans picks up the shield once again to play Steve Rogers/Captain America in—what I would consider—the overall best Marvel movie to date.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier successfully navigates the comic book genre without falling prey to any of the tropes the other films in Marvel's phase 2 have up to this point.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier follows up with Steve Rogers after The Avengers in real time, so almost 2 years has passed (yes, that's how long ago the Avengers was).  We find a much more adjusted Cap that has been familiarized with much of the modern world, such as the internet.  He even carries around a list full of cultural experiences to catch up on, such as Star Wars, Thai Food, and Steve Jobs.

Despite his assimilation into more of a 21st century lifestyle, he is still a man out of time.The movie plays strongly on many relevant themes of drone warfare, NSA data collection, and whistle blowing.  Coming from a place in time where he knew he could trust the honesty and integrity of the person giving him orders, when S.H.I.E.LD begins contradicting his convictions, Steve no longer knows who he can trust.

All the performances were quite strong.  The acting was very well served by the fact that the characters were so well written by Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely.  The pieces were all placed very well, so that when the writing called for a performer to step up, they commanded the scene appropriately.  Especially Sebastian Stan.  For how little opportunity his character is given to emote, he makes the most of the brief moments he's given.  And of course, Robert Redford brought it home as he can be relied on to do.  Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johannson, Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders also filled their roles very well.

The movie was very technically solid, if not occasionally a bit heavy on the explosions.  There was quite a bit of shaky cam, but not so much as to obscure some of the brilliant choreography.  The hand to hand fights in this movie were artfully crafted, particularly between Captain America and The Winter Soldier.

As I mentioned above, I found the movie very culturally relevant as well.  The battle between liberty and security can always become a clich├ęd struggle, but it was deftly handled and the dialogue successfully navigated these themes without being too on the nose.  There were a few twists as well that might not be a surprise to anyone familiar with the comics, but they are effectively delivered, none the less.

It isn't specified exactly where the other Avengers are during this time.  Tony Stark (who gets a couple shout outs) has supposedly destroyed all his Iron Man suits and Bruce Banner appears to be with him in California.  Thor is in London.  Black Widow is prominently featured, but it's unknown where Hawkeye was.

Fortunately, the plot was fast enough moving that there was no single point where I was distracted wondering when Iron Man was going to show up.  There are plenty of reasons why this is a standalone movie and I think it accomplishes that effort very well.  It also didn't necessarily go out of its way to accommodate the story of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but it the movie does fit reasonably well into the events of the show.

Anyway, go see it.  I'm going to cover spoilers and the effects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a separate post.

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