Let me just start of this review by saying that this is the best Marvel stand-alone film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I am even considering Iron Man. There are many reasons as to why I love this film but I am unable to contemplate them right now, but there are two major reasons that I was able to apprehend in my mind and those where……………
(1) It made one of my least favorite superheroes in Marvel to one of my most
(2) As every sequel has to raise the stakes, this one did (a lot)
So, before I start the real review, I need to talk about a few things (skip to the next para if you want to read the real review). I liked the first movie, but I didn’t feel like this film achieved anything other than bringing Captain America to the modern world and set it up for The Avengers. In Phase 1, I loved the first Iron Man and The Avengers and I disliked Thor and Iron Man 2. In Phase 2 I liked Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World and loved this film (The Winter Soldier). But regardless of my opinions, I have admired for most of the part how well the people at Marvel have crafted this universe and given movie fans (me) and comic book fans (not me) exactly what we want, a hell of a good time at the movies. What impresses me even more is how bold they are in taking risks, creating this cinematic universe, choosing unexpected directors (like The Russo Brothers, Shane Black and James Gunn), giving us new talents, reviving careers (Robert Downey Jr.) and so much more, and I hope they do continue to impress me. So, for the review
The movie is set 2 years after the events of The Avengers. It tells us the story of Steve Rogers/Captain America who has now adapted to urban lifestyle after the events of the first film and still has trouble in doing so, because he is the man out of time. He works for S.H.E.I.L.D now, and isn’t sure of whom he needs to trust, Nick Fury doesn’t provide him with the entire details of the mission he is in, he doesn’t know what S.H.I.E.L.D does outside his boundary and soon, nearly everyone he works for or with turn their backs against him, as The Winter Soldier arrives into picture, an assassin who threatens the work of S.H.I.E.L.D, I am just going to say all hell breaks loose.
As I had mentioned earlier that this film makes Captain America one of my favourite superheroes in Marvel, I still stand by it. There is a different take on the character in this film, something that I wasn’t really expecting at first, but when the early buzz for this film flooded through the internet. I really got excited for this film and boy, did it pay off. The movie shows us a regretful side of Steve, how sad he is that he probably didn’t want to survive the crash in 1945 and would have probably would have preferred death. He doesn’t have what he expects, what I loved most about this film is that they realised to use Steve’s ‘out-of-time’ story for both, the humorous and emotional aspects and Chris Evans really stood out in this film
There are 4 characters that really stood out in this film for me, and those were Captain America/Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson/Falcon, Nick Fury and Black Widow. I have already explained why I love Cap. I loved Anthony Mackie’s performance as Sam Wilson. I really believe that he is a strong addition to the Marvel Canon, he provided a lot of comic relief and he gets the smartest one-liners in the film. Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff; also played excellently by Scarlett Johansson, we get to see a more compassionate side of Natasha, but we still do get to see a lot of Black Widow and there are a lot of interplays between Steve and Natasha, which were one of the main pros of this film because those conversations are what made this film the most grounded Marvel film in MCU yet. Now Samuel L. Jackson is, well he is Samuel L. Jackson, he is always great in what he does, but what I made him a stand-out character in this film, is that he has a pivotal part and has a good amount of screen time as compared to the other movies. As for the villain, The Winter Soldier is played with profound depth by Sebastian Stan, but at the same time I was disappointed that The Winter Soldier wasn’t in this film as much as I wanted him to be, but his part in the film’s third act was effectively used, as the character has minimal dialogue and that scene was surprisingly emotional. Robert Redford also played the character of Alexander Pierce well, and evoked the political ambitions of characters that we have seen in spy films.
The visuals in this film are great. The CGI shots are convincing, even though it has been claimed that they used minimal CGI, but they have used it effectively. The action sequences are some of the best I have had the chance to see since The Raid (see the face offs between the Captain and The Winter Soldier), I liked the fact that they used the shield as an offensive weapon than a defensive one, but I still don’t understand how it is able to work as a Frisbee, but it is a movie, it is okay.
As for the importance of this film, amongst all the films that have come out in Phase 2, this one really needs to be watched, because a lot of important things happen and it does imply a lot of things for the upcoming Avengers sequel. This film did not feel like it was delaying time for the next Avengers but felt like a perfect stand-alone film that, according to me is a great sequel. I really do think that people need to see the previous Marvel films as well, because a lot of references to the previous films have also been made.
What I didn’t like about this movie? The usage of the character of The Winter Soldier, he really felt under used, luckily a part of that disappointment flew away in the final act. The plot felt a bit too heavy at times as well. There are a few times where the shaky-cam effect is used unnecessarily in a few scenes, which really are a bit annoying, but it surely doesn’t take away the viewing experience completely.
With interesting characters, a smartly written script, a brilliant directorial effort from The Russo Brothers (they are known for directing comedy by the way), great performances, stand-out action sequences, a decent score, and a plot that despite being a bit too heavy at times, it has a certain amount of cohesiveness that really does pay off by the time the movie is over (do stay for the credits). Captain America: The Winter Soldier gets a 4/5.
Final Rating: 4/5
12 Angry Men review coming soon
Until the next blog