Release Date: 4/4/2014
Dir. Joe and Anthony Russo
Starring: Chris Evans (Steve Rogers), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill)
Man, did I have high hopes walking into this movie and within the first ten minutes I knew that I had nothing to worry about. Captain America: The Winter Soldier felt very much like an excellent video game with a brilliant story that went along with it. Not only was it an action movie, but it was a mystery that was left to unfold before our eyes. My biggest qualm with the film was that we didn’t get to see enough of one of the characters within the title; The Winter Soldier. However, in it’s place we got a lot of really great character work as well as the introduction of a new hero. At the end of the day Captain America: The Winter Soldier is worth a watch; maybe even two.
In a fairly quaint beginning we are introduced to Sam Wilson a veteran who was literally lapped by Steve Rogers as they both trained. However, he’s quickly recruited to join up with a mission ordered by Nick Fury where SHIELD agents’ lives were in jeopardy of a hijacked crew. With expert efficiency, Steve Rogers incapacitates the crew with the assist of Black Widow, who has her own mission of downloading important intel. Fast forward to Nick Fury, who realizes that the intel he got points to something bad. Before he can even reach a safe house he is attacked by the winter soldier but got out alive. Unfortunately, the winter soldier doesn’t leave jobs undone and goes in for the kill in Steve Rogers apartment. We then learned his nurse neighbor was in fact Agent 13 ordered to watch over him under Fury’s orders. Shortly after Nick Fury is pronounced dead.
It doesn’t take Cap very long to realize that SHIELD can’t be trusted. With the help of Black Widow they track the information down to a hidden base in New Jersey. There they discover that Arnim Zola’s brain was running as a computer and Hydra was within SHIELD. It becomes clear that they need to take down not just Hydra but SHIELD. Thankfully it was revealed that Fury faked his death and with the assistance of Maria Hill they hatch a plan to destroy the hellicarriers that could take out an easy 20 million people. At the end it finished successfully and SHIELD was dispatched.
End Plot Overview
Unlike the previous movies that Captain America appeared in, he felt like a proper superhero. It was nice seeing the man with the name in the movie title, proving why he deserved to be spotlighted. He was able to take out enemies with a fluid art that made my heart swell repeatedly. His movement and use of the shield was artful. It finally put it in perspective how much strong Cap really is in comparison to the average person. Time and time again he proved that he really was a true hero and that was something that we really needed to see.
This film was really a character movie. You could tell that they spent a long time working at making sure that these were fleshed out characters and not just caricatures. The writers really made the effort to expand characters and use them effectively. While this was mostly on point, there were some characters that simply appeared and played their role without much character motivation other than to be another hand on deck. Not every character can be fully fleshed out, but it felt like a missed opportunity particularly with Maria Hill to not give any more insight behind her motivations. We know that she is good and intelligent, but we don’t know much else about them.
We did get to see a lot about Black Widow this film. While much of her past is still a mystery, it was enough to reaffirm my desire to see a full blown Black Widow movie. I believe that she could carry a film and it’s nice to see a female asskicker who isn’t just a hollow shell. Natasha has secrets and she’s a truly dangerous person, but she wants to be good. It was nice to see her work with Steve as they make a good team. More than anything, it was fun to see her bicker with Steve and try to get him hooked up with Agent 13.
Falcon was a highlight as he would have been easily brushed aside. Instead we got a humorous and loyal portayal of the character. His wings looked and handled wonderfully.
I mentioned that I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of The Winter Soldier. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t get a healthy dosage. Bucky Barnes is a fascinating character and his use as a weapon against the one man who would never kill him was an effective tool against Captain America. The Winter Soldier was a beast that even Black Widow feared, and she doesn’t do that too often. The arm prosthetic looked amazing. More importantly his mechanical arm made him on the same level of strength of Cap.
Even more impactful was the relationship we saw unfold on screen between the two. From the beginning of the film we saw that they were a team once. Bucky was struggling to remember his friend the best he could. Steve on the other hand would do anything to spare his friend. It was beautiful to see Steve fall the way Bucky did. The difference was that Bucky went to save Steve.
I would be remiss not to mention the main driving force of the film which is the role of Hydra. As a Captain America film, it is great to integrate his traditional enemy in a way that made them still relevant. Hydra had been infiltrating SHIELD essentially since it’s inception, mining data to figure out a person’s future based on their past and that was done by Arnim Zola. This depiction makes me believe that it was the Clairvoyant getting SHIELD intel that we heart about all through the Agents of SHIELD. I’m going to spend more talking about this point in an upcoming post, but I believe it is relevant to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The idea that Hydra had so greatly infiltrated and was behind all of the trouble being caused in the film was fantastic. It really forces the landscape of Marvel to change. The most disappointing part of Hydra’s infiltration was learning who were involved in with the organization. It was devastating to learn that the lovely Sitwell was with Hydra was rather upset, but a non fan of Marvel may not have seen his side as a betrayal. Coulson will.
My final thoughts will focus on Nick Fury. Repeatedly we have seen that he is a badass and incredibly intelligent man. The idea that he had the smarts to fake his own death was proof of how cunning he is. However, for a moment, I actually felt like Nick Fury may have died, even if the idea of him being alive beat at the back of my mind. This was mainly attributed to the genuine reactions you got from Maria Hill, Black Widow, and Cap. Particularly, Black Widow really took his death hard. When he did revive, it didn’t feel unnatural. It will be interesting to see how his involvement will go now that he’s off the grid.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a phenomenal movie. Not only was it a good comic book movie, but it was a damn good movie in general. The film did justice to its characters by making them feel like whole people. It was presented as not just an action movie, but a mystery as they revealed the secrets laid out. I know I will be seeing it again.
Tag (EXTRA SPOILERS!)
The tag gave us a much anticipated look at some of the upcoming characters. Starting with a still surviving Hydra we saw our first look at Baron Strucker as he spoke of the demise of SHIELD as it was. He didn’t seem very worried, but more interest about their continued experiments on people. Which led us to get our first looks and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch as they mussed with their powers in a way that implied how crazy they’d been driven.
What did you think of the movie?