Review: Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
This review will be filled with spoilers and major ones at that, so if you just want my overall non-spoilery review, scroll down to the last paragraph, otherwise you’ve been warned 🙂 Also, if you are a fan of the Agents of SHIELD show, then I advise you stop watching it now until you see The Winter Soldier. It changes everything. On with the review.
Where do I even begin? Great comic book movie? yes… Great action movie? yes… Greatest action movie of all time? Maybe… You can tell where I’m going with this. There is not much (other than the suspension of disbelief) that is not great about this movie. Sound, music, dialogue of characters, plot, Everything was nailed perfectly. Slight issue? well, let’s just say some of the things like Captain America breaking his fall with a skylight and his shield probably wasn’t realistic… let’s just say that the pounding his brains took from Winter Soldier’s bionic arm probably would leave his brain in mush… let’s just say that Falcon jumping from a building and perfectly landing in a tilting helicopter without being chopped into a million pieces, falling to his death, or breaking any bones is probably not realistic, BUT… it is a comic book movie, so that kind of nitpicky stuff is allowed in small doses.
Let’s touch on the characters:
Captain America/Steve Rogers: Chris Evans really makes this character likable and realistic. It is as if Cap has jumped straight from the books onto the screen. His dedication to his country, and defending what is right, while maintaining his core values is what makes him so perfect. Some of his fight scenes were a bit too “Bourne Identity” for me, where the camera was too shaky or close, but there was enough choreography in them, that you still got to see plenty of great action shots. What really hit a soft spot for me was that this out of place guy finally begins to feel at home and make new friends (Sam Wilson), and then his past comes back to haunt him. What he deals with physically only shadows in comparission to his mental struggles.
Black Widow/Natasha Romanov: Scarlett Johansson is gorgeous, yes, but she really stepped up the game here with her acting ability. I originally was opposed to her being in this role, as I didn’t think she fit the profile, but she has redefined the character while staying true to the comic book roots. Her role in this movie alone put her on an almost equal playing field with Chris Evans. She was basically the sidekick with tons of screen time and a great purpose for being there. If you even noticed, she had an arrow necklace around her neck that she wore, hinting at the relationship her and Hawkeye have. It will be interesting to see where she goes in future movies now that everyone knows about her shady past.
Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes: Sebastian Stan had such a minor role in the first movie, but now that purpose has been revealed. They did the Winter Soldier justice by making him a deadly threat. A little foreshadowing to the character’s future was even thrown in when he stood holding Cap’s shield. (in the comics Bucky becomes the new Captain America after Steve Rogers “dies”). He plays a deadly villain, and his look was perfect. The bionic arm was really cool, and better than what I’d pictured from reading the character, and his realization at the end of his past was the perfect set up for the next movie.
Falcon/Sam Wilson: Anthony Mackie took a second rate character and amplified him to stand with the top brass. I always liked Falcon, but after this movie, he no longer stands as a B character for me. The lack of red and white in his “uniform” is fine with me because the wings he had were designed like a military design. Since they were destroyed, and he is moving on with Cap to the third movie, I only assume they will probably paint his wings a more vibrant color. Time will tell, but the hunt for Winter Soldier is on.
Maria Hill and Nick Fury: Faking deaths, finding the moles, and doing what they do best all came into play here. Fury’s “death” was a bit far fetched for me, as he is very lucky to be alive. I do like that he programed (I only assume) his bad eye into the system as a backup plan to take down Pierce’s operation. Hill’s role, although smaller, supported him, and at the end we even get a glimpse of her at Stark Towers. Maybe they are setting up a new SHIELD now that it has fallen. And what can I say about Nick Fury without a patch now? I’m cool with that. He doesn’t need it with the shades. Oh, did anyone else notice the Pulp Fiction quote on his headstone?
Sharon Carter/Agent 13 & Peggy Carter: I’m glad they closed Peggy’s story here. Hayley Atwell is a wonderful actress, and the makeup and CG of her elderly self was convincing 100%. Sharon being introduced as a potential love interest for Steve was a welcome addition too.
Alexander Pierce: I half expected Robert Redford to rip his face off and reveal that he is the Red Skull, but I’m SOOO glad they didn’t go that route. Skull still exists, we know that. The character of Pierce was a good way to show a reflection on today’s society. He reflected as many politicians in office do today. people think they are good, but have ulterior motives. To hear Redford say “Hail Hydra” sent chills of excitement down my spine. It was perhaps the BEST moment of the movie because of delivery alone (and the fact that Redford will not say any lines that he feels are ridiculous). Clearly he approved.
Arnim Zola: Okay, his role was brief, but that’s all it needed to be. Like his comic counterpart, he uploaded his awareness into machines. Yes they were destroyed, but do you think he is dead? I don’t. Remember, they grabbed the flash drive, and I’m sure he downloaded himself onto there or somewhere else. He was connected to a network after all. The way he was designed was really cool too. I do believe he will be back in some form.
Agent Sitwell and Senator Stern: I never liked Sitwell as a character, and Stern was Gary Shandling’s character from the second Ironman movie. I’m glad they were revealed to be Hydra operatives, because I most likely wont have to see them again. (no offense to the actors) I like Shandling a lot, and I think Hernandez acts well, I just was not keen on the characters.
The Leaper/Georges Batroc: Remember what I said about Falcon being a B rate character upgraded to an A? Well it applies here too. The intense fight scene and brief subplot with Batroc upgraded this lame D rate character to a B in my opinion. I’d like to see him appear in Agents of SHIELD to follow up with his role. I don’t think he belongs in any more big budget movies, but they should follow up with him.
Brock Rumlow: He was badass, and dedicated to Hydra. With him being badly scarred at the end, I can only assume that this was a setup for him to return in part 3 as Crossbones. (Crossbones btw was the one who killed Captain America in the comics). It is fitting for him to do so in Cap 3 so that Bucky can take over.
Stan Lee: Always a welcome cameo, so I had to include him. Do you think he lost his job at the Smithsonian?
Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver & Baron Wolfgang von Strucker: What a mid credits scene this was. The Baron apparently has been trying to use Loki’s staff to control others with abilities. He mentions the others died, and that the two in the cage were Miracles. Trial and error to make the staff work right? Who knows… all we do know is that this sets up all three of their roles for Avengers Age Of Ultron, and after seeing this scene, I am even more eager to see Age of Ultron.
Stephen Strange: Okay, so Doctor Strange is not IN the movie, but his name was mentioned as a potential future threat to Hydra, hinting at what we are going to get at some point in the near future. Awesomeness.
So there you have it. My little breakdown has come to an end and definitely had an impact on EVERYTHING in the Marvel Movie universe. If I gave Avengers the score that I did, then I can only rate this on even playing ground. Avengers was the perfect movie, but a lot of that thrill and excitement I think comes from seeing all of those characters on the screen at a time. With Captain America The Winter Soldier, it not only redefined an entire movie universe, but set a standard for action movies and comic book movies alike. Will the sequel stand well against Batman vs Superman when they are released on the same dates in 2016? I absolutely think so. I personally will be seeing both, and can’t wait, but DC really needs to step up their game to keep up now, and I hope they do because I enjoy DC and Marvel. Cap 2 gets 10 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins from me. I’m not sure anything could have been done to make it better.