Captain America The Winter Soldier-Review
By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
It feels like it has been a while since we’ve seen a Marvel superhero on screen, but it was only last November that Thor returned, and the previous May that Iron Man suited up again. With the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel’s phase two is now complete (or nearing completion if you count Guardians of the Galaxy) as it leads up to the Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s a shame that we have an entire year to wait for the latter’s official release, but for the time being, the Captain is back to save the world from those who would do harm to the innocent.
Pirates have taken over a seafaring vessel containing civilians and one SHIELD operative, so Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson) and a SHIELD team are to go in and rescue the hostages. But when Cap finds out that the true mission was to secure SHIELD assets located on computer systems and not save the hostages, a lack of trust and a rift forms between himself and the head of SHIELD. Soon, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is targeted for assassination and Captain America has no one to trust after being branded a fugitive. A larger picture soon emerges, threatening everyone around the planet. Captain America, along with Natasha and new ally Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who goes by The Falcon, fight to not only remain free, but to save human lives. And Cap faces his toughest opponent yet in the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Captain America: The Winter Soldier plays like a super hero film but then again it doesn’t. For the first two-thirds of the film, CGI is more or less minimized and we’re left with something that feels “real” a la the latest James Bond entries. Something this film gets right – and the same can be said about Iron Man 3 – is the character development and growth of relationships amongst characters. Much of the film deals with Captain America being hunted, for all intents and purposes, knowing there isn’t anyone he can trust outside of Natasha and his new friend Sam. With these three characters being thrown together, we are able to see them grow in their relationships together and flesh out more of their back stories. By no means is this is some character driven drama piece, but we get more from these characters than your typical action film.
The film paces very well, with plenty of action scenes to keep the audience entertained but with enough spy/espionage-oriented elements to draw you in and keep you guessing. Often times we see the same directors work on a franchise film series over and over again. Here, new directors took the helm, which brings freshness and keeps us from that feeling of “been there, done that.” Anthony and Joe Russo made it a point to focus on the human interaction side of these characters, strengthening the bond between audience and film, and leaving the audience with much more invested than some other films. But, with the endgame for phase two being Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s difficult to see how this film leads up to that. More so, one feels this leads more towards Captain America 3 than an Avengers sequel (one of the post credit scenes aside).
For comic book fans, or those who just enjoy the films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier won’t leave that bitter taste in your mouth that Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 left. And with the last “Avengers” related film in the can, Marvel went out on a positive note as we lead into Guardians of the Galaxy (really not sure how that will tie into the Avengers sequel… maybe it won’t) and the eventual Avengers: Age of Ultron. Captain America: The Winter Soldier should dominate the box office until the Spiderman sequel releases in a month but, until then, get out there and enjoy the entertainment of Marvel’s phase two.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars