Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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It seems as if we’ve been getting a new entry into the Marvel film canon at least once or twice a year for the last little while now. And with rumours swirling that the filmmaking titan has its universe mapped out until the year 2028, you either get on board now or be forever lost in the immense, intertwining reaches of this comic book behemoth. Hell, Marvel Studios even has Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox undertaking some of the responsibility! Yes, with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” breaking the box office opening weekend record for April, the television show “Agents of Shield” going steady, “Guardians of the Galaxy” picking up steam on all social platforms, and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” production well under way, it looks as if there’s no stopping this superhero juggernaut.

Conversely, all positives aside, lately the films have been hit and miss. Take for example the underwhelming sequel “Thor: The Dark World” and the polarizing finale to the Iron Man trilogy. While both found financial success, there are those beginning to question the stability of Marvel’s universe. With Marvel’s success came demand, and as this thirst grew, Marvel set in motion a strategy that fulfills the demand which simultaneously secures funding for future need. And this will continue in an infinite loop enabling Marvel to produce with the mindset of quantity over quality. This will eventually result in a consistently declining level of interest that will ultimately lead to less funds for future projects, thereby effectively extinguishing Marvel’s ambitious blueprint for a big screen legacy…but this is just a theory.

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What do you think of Marvel’s course of action for the big screen? Is Marvel sacrificing quality for quantity and reward? Are they looking too far ahead or simply giving the viewers what they want? Will their courageous endeavour into the future sacrifice the integrity of their characters or help to better define them? Be sure to let me know what you think in the comment section below. Nevertheless, regardless of what you feel towards Marvel’s aggressive inflation, there’s no denying that if their future projects are anything like their latest, “Captain America: The Winter Solider,” Marvel will be going strong and steady for a long time to come. Directed by the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe, and written by Marvel veterans Stephen McFeely Christopher Markus, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is without question the best solo Avenger film to date.

I’ve always felt that Captain America was cut from a different cloth than his Avenger teammates. Despite being a super soldier and carrying around an impenetrable shield, there’s nothing that really distinguishes Captain Rogers from the rest of us. He’s the most humble, vulnerable, human of all the Avengers, and that really shows in every film he’s a part of. Whether it be struggling with his misplacement in time, trying to overcome being deprived of an existence with his beloved, or fending off evil with nothing exactly superhuman to defend him, Captain America truly is the best of humankind amplified.

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PLOT:

We catch up with the Captain not long after the events that took place in New York. He’s living in Washington, D.C., running espionage missions for S.H.I.E.L.D and still struggling to fit into modern society. However, when Nick Furry is on his way to a previously arranged rendezvous, he’s ambushed by unknown assailants lead by an assassin known as the Winter Solider. This abruptly puts an end to Captain Roger’s steady routine and thrusts him back into action. Upon learning that the Winter Soldier is working for Hydra, Captain America sets out to defeat the Winter Soldier and put an end to Hydra once and for all.

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Look, no disrespect to “The Avengers,” it’s a great flick, action-packed, oozing with quotable dialogue, and frequently amusing. That being said, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is Marvel’s best outing to date. Where chaos controlled and ultimately lead to “The Avengers” reach exceeding its grasp.

Marvel’s latest is controlled, paced, and executed with pure brilliance. The story is engaging, the action is breathtaking, and the performances tower over any other portrayal given in the Marvel universe. And although it might not take place on the grandest scale, it certainly tackles socio-political issues that are extremely relevant in today’s world, hitting closer to home than any of its predecessors. And yet, perhaps what is most impressive and admirable about the film is the serious mentality taken by the Russo brothers whilst executing and capturing the action sequences, whether it be hand-to-hand combat between Rogers and the Winter Solider or larger scale battles and explosions. Not to mention the drama surrounding our hero Captain America and his enemy, the Winter Soldier. It’s as compelling and entertaining a battle between good and evil since Marvel’s nemesis’ D.C Comics unleashed Batman and The Joker…okay…maybe not that illustrious, but they’re working on it.

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Returning to the Marvel screen is Chris Evans who reprises his role as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as the always deadly and sexy Natasha Romanoff, Samuel L. Jackson as head honcho Nick Furry, and Sebastian Stan who portrays his alter ego this go around, the Winter Soldier. Joining these vets are newcomers Anthony Mackie, and Robert Redford, who tackle Falcon and Alexander Pierce respectively. Additionally, there’s a terrific supporting ensemble comprised of Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Cobie Smulders, and Toby Jones. If this all-star cast isn’t enough to entice you, I don’t what is!

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The insanely talented Chris Evans never ceases to amaze me, I sincerely hope the rumours floating about regarding his early retirement from acting are false. I mean, the man is a machine! Whether he’s knocking the baddies on their rear end or bursting with an unfathomable spectrum of emotions, Evans makes it look all too easy. Now, for those who have been clamouring for an independent Black Widow film, I apologize, I could not see the potential…but all that’s changed now. Scarlett Johansson quite possibly provides the best performance this flick has to offer. She’s sweet, stunning, funny, smart, and sexy. A lethal combination and something you wouldn’t expect from an Avenger afterthought. Sebastian Stan, who’s work I’m not exactly familiar with apart from the original “Captain America” film, gives the best villain performance I’ve seen since Tom Hardy’s Bane or Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Every time this badass stud hit the screen sporting his menacing black mask and mechanical arm, I got chills.

Easily the most surprising aspect of the film is Anthony Mackie’s Falcon. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy his character and alter ego so much! I originally thought he would provide nothing more than a few comical quips and mid-air somersaults, but he does so much more. So much so that I’m actually looking forward to Falcon’s next Marvel appearance. Additionally, Robert Redford…wow. Although he’s only on the screen here and there, he controls the moments he is with an abundance of charisma and villainy.

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Shedding the cartoonish hue and predictable comedic relief that has plagued previous Marvel outings, it looks as if the illustrious comic book organization has finally gotten it right. With an incredibly strong script, potent humour, and massively memorable performances, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is as strong as they come.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 9 out of 10.

About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television. thecinemamonster.com

Posted on April 8, 2014, in Action and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Agreed! This is the best film Marvel, as a studio, has put out. Fine review, Joseph.

  2. Marvel seems to have their movies down perfectly. This movie is no exception to that rule. Good review Joseph.

  3. Not being a massive fan of the Marvel series I’ve missed out on the Captain America movies. I’m hearing lots of good things about them now though which us making me think I should give them a chance.

  4. Fantastic movie! Good work!!

  5. Terrific review. I really can’t see the Marvel juggernaut slowing down much, presuming they stick relatively close to some original story lines. And don’t worry, Evans isn’t retiring from acting, he’s making efforts for more opportunities to direct. He’s still all aboard with his contract with Marvel. I also read that Bucky is scheduled for 9 appearances! This and the first Capt. America counting as two, I’m excited to see if they do with him as the comics have…

    • Yeah, I think they’ll be solid for a long time to come! I really hope Evans expands his filmmaking knowledge and moves to directing, producing, etc… Love that Bucky is sticking around, such a ruthless, badass villain, something I can sink my teeth into :).

  6. Outstanding review! 100% agree – this is Marvel’s best film.

  7. I keep hearing this one was good, including yours, I am intrigued! good review… I keep wanting to call him Chris Pine lol!

  8. Great piece Joe, I’m finally caving and going to see this tmrw with some peeps and breaking my rule of seeing a sequel before the original. Too much peer pressure and stellar reviews have piqued my curiosity. Of course, now my expectations are crashing through the roof. . . if they are not met, I will be upset :D haha not really. Somehow I don’t think that will happen, this looks pretty good

    • Thanks, Tom! Man, that sucks about not seeing the first. I guess you don’t really need to, I mean, you can kind of pick it up with the hints given. I know, a lot of hype lol. I’m sure it’ll meet your expectations :).

    • EEEEEEEEE! Really?! This makes me happy! I hope that you enjoy it! (and then go back and watch Captain America: The First Avenger)

  9. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Marvel’s best outing to date” – Joseph, that is just beautiful. I was not enamoured with Thor: The Dark World or Iron Man 3, but this… I went back to the cinema for a repeat viewing (which I have not done since The Two Towers… eeeek).

    I LOVE your review!

    Chris Evans really is a damn impressive actor, I must give him credit. I absolutely LOVED Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, truly just… oh so thrilling – definitely a fantastic performance! Definitely one of the best villain performances I have seen in years, no two ways about it!

    I appreciated the fact that this was more serious. There was some humour, but it did not take over and dominate!

    • Wow! Thank you so much, Zoe! I’m so happy you love it as much as I :). Evans is just a tank, I mean, in everything he does, he’s just phenomenal! Stan is amazing here, love the Winter Soldier, so epically cool! Yeah, got a little tired of Marvel’s predictable humour, but this flick put that to rest :). Once again, thanks Zoe :).

      • Naturally always a pleasure! Evans is massively talented, no way to deny that. So much worked for this. Sounds like my one friend is trying to break my arm to go and see this again… but that’d be my THIRD time! Imagine!

  10. Great review. I loved the film and thought the new thriller aspect of the film took Marvel into a new Genre even if in a relatively small way. Very much looking forward to the next one :D

  11. Excellent Joseph. There are parts you enjoyed more than me (Anthony Mackie’s role for instance), but I certainly feel it’s the best of the Marvel movies to date.

  12. Great review. I liked it a bit less but I had a lot of fun. Missed the period-piece aspect of the first one, but I really enjoyed the tone and the amazing action.

  13. No love for The Dark World?! I actually liked that a teensy bit better than this…but I loved them both, so it’s a very small margin. I will say, however, that Avengers still trumps all for me. But Cap 2 is definitely the least superhero-y of the superhero movies so far, and I think that’s a smart move on Marvel’s part. Their game plan is undoubtedly ambitious, but hell–seems to be working out so far! I’m already very much looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy. :) Excellent review, Joseph!

    • Are you kidding me Cara ?! This is infinitely better than TDW! Avengers is maybe…MAYBE slightly better than this! TDW was ever so slightly above mediocre. Their game plan is ballsy to say the least. I hope it pays off. Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t doing much for me, but hey, we’ll see! Thanks for the argument as always ;).

      • I have far, far too much Loki love to agree with you, my friend. Lol. Not geared up for GOTG, eh? I wasn’t sure where I stood on it, but now that I’ve seen the trailer I am definitely intrigued. Do we argue that much?! I thought we only fought over Benny…P.S. He says hi.

      • I also have bounds of love for Mr. Hiddleston, it may not be unconditional however as I can’t forgive a bad flick lol. Tell him I say hi back and I’d like you to ask him if we are still on for tomorrow night. Me and Ben are going to see The Raid 2!

      • Oooh I shall look forward to your review! Or I guess I could just ask Benny what you thought. ;)

  14. I love that you also touch upon the sock-political commentary this movie slightly shows us, making it so much more relevant to ‘today’ than any other Marvel film thus far. I mention, more or less the same thing in my Review:

    http://www.blankpagebeatdown.com/movie-review-captain-america-winter-solder-2014/

    In terms of Marvel and it’s strategy: I have a feeling the Cinematic Universe will become plagued the same way the comic industry has been plagued for decades: new audiences. As you mention, if people don’t jump in now, they run the risk of being forever lost. Besides Thor 2, both Iron Man 3 and Cap 2 have relied on its previous films & Avengers to provide a plot point, however minimal, to its story. Extrapolating similar techniques in Phase 3 and onwards… an audience won’t watch movies that require prior knowledge of 10-15 movies before it to fully follow the story. Marvel will be left with the same audience returning to watch it’s movies, with no new audiences becoming involved, unless its for brand new solo films like GUARDIANS…

    But then again… that’s my theory. :p Awesome Review Joseph!

  15. Great review! I agree with every one of your points and am the same about Black Widow. Before this I liked the idea but doubted a spin off would work, now I’m 100% behind the concept!

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