It’s been about maybe 10 or so hours since I’ve seen the movie. The moment the credits started rolling, I’ve been excruciatingly anxious to write up this review. Watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) grow and grow up until the release of The Avengers in 2012 has been such a gift for a pristine geek such as myself, but the last two offerings the MCU put out were a bit lackluster. This made me nervous of the post Avengers films. Were they done taking risks? Were they now going to abide to a formula for each film? Needlessly to say, I am very relieved and excited to say that Marvel is back in high gear and has pushed their own bar so much higher with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is awesome, kickin’ filmmaking at its finest. Combining marvelous (no pun intended, maybe) action sequences and remarkably sharp writing with grade-A performances from its cast, Captain America’s sequel defies the status quo with one of Marvel’s finest film entrees in years.
The Winter Soldier picks up 2 years after the events of The Avengers. Captain Steve Rogers is still acclimating himself to the modern world, which he discovers is not exactly the same place as it once was. At the same time, the rise of a mysterious assassin by the alias of The Winter Soldier is shaking things up in the secret security agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Steve and his allies Black Widow and Sam Wilson must watch their steps and who they trust as they uncover secrets about the assassin and the agency of S.H.I.E.L.D. all together.
I love watching movies that know its influences and try to give back to them. The Winter Soldier has a pretty heavy 1970s spy thriller vibe that I haven’t seen done so well since 1994’s True Lies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. It was fascinating to see a superhero movie try and attempt this style and I’m glad Marvel took this approach. Throughout this flick there are so many good and genuinely surprising twists and turns that make the almost two and a half hour runtime almost feel nonexistent. Also, as a longtime Marvel (and general) comic book fan, I can speak to the ton of cool references sprinkled throughout the movie regarding to the Marvel movies both past and future (you should know at this point to not leave the theater until the credits are COMPLETELY over).
Perhaps the factor that makes The Winter Soldier work so well is the unfiltered ease and talent of the acting in this film. Chris Evans, now on his 3rd outing as Cap, has found the ingredients that make the character of Captain America so beloved. The values of Cap are ever-present here, and are just so wonderful executed by Evans. Scarlett Johansson is also on a roll here. Johansson has a lot of interesting films coming out this year, and Winter Soldier is no exception. Her natural comfort in the role of Black Widow grows deeper and deeper with each outing. Having Sebastian Stan back is also great, but I’ll just leave it at that newcomer Anthony Mackie steals the show as Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon and is a very inspiring and creative addition to the Marvel canon. Not to mention a certain grace is brought to the proceedings by silver-screen royalty, Robert Redford.
Clearly, there are very exciting things now happening in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to the brilliant offering of The Winter Soldier. This film leaves the MCU in a very interesting place, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have sparked new life to this franchise with their intricate direction. One thing I forgot to mention was the film’s reluctance to be a huge CGI obsessive movie. It was nice to see well-choreographed fight scenes and car chases. It’s really all here in The Winter Soldier, and thank goodness for it. The wait for The Avengers: Age of Ultron just got a whole lot harder.
Montclair State | New Jersey