Monday, April 7, 2014
Movie review: Captain America The Winter Soldier
I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier the other night in a crowded theater and the atmosphere was festive. There has been a lot of hype for this movie, and regular readers know I've been awaiting this one eagerly. There was a real sense of anticipation in the crowd as the lights went down and the show started. I liked the beginning as we meet Sam Wilson (aka the Falcon) as he is jogging- and getting passed periodically by Steve Rogers (Captain America). The two of them meet and strike up an immediate friendship. Sam gives Steve some pointers on music, since Steve has recently been revived from decades on ice and is adjusting to modern society. This established a little humor at the beginning and was a great way to start the movie. Natasha Romanoff (the Black Widow) then shows up to pick up Cap for a mission, and off we go.
We get a lot of action sequences after that, punctuated by quieter character moments as we get to know Steve and Natasha better. Their initial mission leads to some revelations about what SHIELD is doing, and this puts Cap at odds with SHIELD. After an attempt is made on SHIELD director Nick Fury's life, Cap finds himself in the crosshairs of some very powerful people- and to top it off, the Winter Soldier appears- an assassin with some very personal ties to Captain America.
The character beats were the best part of this film. The relationship between Cap and Black Widow is evolving as they understand each other better- their banter was a lot of fun. There was some tension in the beginning as they obviously have different mission priorities, and that was a nice touch. This had the feel of those old Marvel comics where superheroes would guest star in each others' books- this is very much a team up story with Cap and Widow. They're a great team and as always Scarlett Johansson is a great Widow. Now we just need a Black Widow movie!
Anthony Mackie as the Falcon was a nice addition as the Falcon has a long history in the comics. The casting of Emily VanCamp as Agent was nice, and I liked that she was assigned to protect Cap- she has a limited role but they're obviously setting her up for bigger things down the road. The return of Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill was appreciated, she brings a smoldering intensity to the role but is cool as ice too. They should ditch Fury and put her in charge.
There were some nice Easter eggs, or nods to the fandom in the movie. Batroc as a minor villain brought a smile to my face as he's been a recurring (minor) villain in the comic for years. The presence of Jenny Agutter in the film was kinda cool (fans of Logan's Run will remember her as Jessica)- and when she cuts loose and goes all Bourne style in a crucial sequence at the end, I don't think anyone saw that coming. Of course there's more to that scene but I don't wan to spoil it.
The extended fight scene in the middle of the movie was great and the best action piece of the movie. I'm looking forward to watching that again. Widow hold her own against Winter Soldier, and then Cap and Winter Soldier face off in a very visceral street level way. There's a sense that Winter Soldier recognizes Cap from their shared history, and that was powerfully done.
The ending was a little frenetic- I would have liked t see a longer, uninterrupted fight scene between Cap and the Winter Soldier, but instead they rapidly switch between Cap, the Widow and the Falcon as they fight their respective enemies. I've seen some reviews note that the ending is a rather typical action set piece, and I agree. Lots of explosions and flying debris, but again an extended faceoff between the two principal players would have been a nice capstone to this movie.
There's been some talk that Sebastian Stan (the actor who plays Winter Soldier) will replace as Cap at some point down the road, and given his performance in this movie that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. I like Evans as Cap a lot, he brings a wholesome everyman feel to the character, but if they do switch it up down the road they could do worse than Stan. He was one of the highlights of the film as the Winter Soldier. He could bring a little rough around the edges vibe while still staying true to the essence of the character.
I liked this movie a lot, and while it didn't quite live up to my (perhaps too high) expectations, it was still a blast and probably my favorite superhero movie to date. This movie was surprisingly dark at times, and some of the scenes couple with the music are pretty intense- just a word of caution to anyone who might take small kids to see this.
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I agree with pretty much everything. The scene where they corner Nick Fury is really amazing. Intense and a great introduction to the Winter Solider. At first I was disappointed that Black Window was in this movie. I was like really?? Captain can't get his own film. But it worked (similar to Legolas working in the Hobbit). The next movie I can't wait for is Age of Ultron. I just got that comic from the library!!ReplyDelete
It was fun, wasn't it? :) I thought that scene with Fury was intense too, was pretty sure his ass was toast! I really liked Winter Soldier and how they did him in this movie. Very mysterious and working in the shadows. I liked Widow because she's always been a favorite character, but I know what you mean- they risk taking the spotlight off Cap. Luckily it worked OK.Delete
I think Avengers 2 is going to rock! I haven't read that comic but I like some of the older Ultron stories...
I'm looking forward to seeing this, Ive enjoyed all the Avenger movies so far and the Shield TV Series. I hope they make a Black Widow movie, too :)ReplyDelete
I think you'll like this, very action packed but nice character moments too. They obviously took pains to make this as character- centered as they could. Cap and the Widow make a good team. I would love a Black Widow movie, if they do it right. I have to admit I haven't really watched the SHIELD series, I tried it and was kinda bored, but I've heard it's gotten better.Delete
I don't think it's out here yet... but I'm so curious. I confess that I was a little anxious about it, to be disappointed by it, so I didn't plan to see it but now I think I'll go and finally try. Thanks!ReplyDelete
I hope you like it! It's kind of an espionage thriller as well as a superhero film, so it has that feel to it. I really like that. Makes it kinda different from the previous films.Delete
A Black Widow movie would be amazing and could do for the genre what 'Salt' did for espionage films.ReplyDelete
I agree, there is so much to that character- a mysterious background, questionable morality (in the past, anyway), and her quest for redemption. Could be very good!Delete
You're not the only person who has called it the best superhero movie to date. My friend said the same thing. This is a great review. It makes me even more excited to see it.ReplyDelete
Thank you Jessica, I hope you like it! I thought it was a blast and am probably going to see it again this week!Delete
I am hearing some good things about this one. I didn't exactly love the first one, it was just okay. I think this one sounds much better. I will catch it when it releases on DVD.ReplyDelete
I liked this one much better than the first one- I thought the first was good, but this one ramps it up a notch. Hope you like it when you get a chance to see it.Delete
It's popcorn entertainment, but still a lot better than most of what we see. Good review Greg.ReplyDelete
Yeah it tries too hard in some ways, for example trying to be a political thriller needs more than just inserting robert Redfor in it- but I had a lot of fun with it. It definetly seemed a step up to me from most of the Marvel offerings.Delete
As a fan of these movies who does not come from a comic-reading background, I wish they would give the Black Widow her own movie! I am clueless about her back story. The same goes for Hawkeye. I saw The Avengers before Thor so I was totally clueless! Even after seeing Thor, I didn't have a much better idea about how he fit into things. Great review!ReplyDelete
Thank you! It is fun to review these movies. :) As for Black Widow, you know from a comics standpoint we don't really know her backstory anyway except she was a Russian spy who defected more or less and joined the Avengers- they fill in some blanks but she works just fine w/ th questionable background. I would totally see a Black Widow movie!Delete
I agree this one was definitely a really strong movie to their already fantastic line up. It doesn't top Avengers or Iron Man for me but it's definitely up there. The writing was pretty strong, except in a few spots where it drifted into cliche, and the acting was great. I'm so glad we got to see more from Black Widow, and I loved seeing the little mentions and add ins for other Marvel characters. Someone in the theater yelled out "who's Steven Strange?" and I started laughing, because if that movie does happen they are in for some weird crap. As someone who is not a big fan of the Cap I definitely liked this one way more than the first. Great review GregReplyDelete
Hey thanks Michelle. I really enjoyed Natasha having lots of face time in this movie, and falcon too. I got a kick out of that Strange mention, that was cool! That could definetly be a tripped out movie! :) I agree about the writing it did get a little cliched at times, and I wasn't super fond of Redford's character, he just seemed like generic bad guy. I thought this one really did a good job of making cap more than a boy scout, he questioned authority and became a fugitive and I like that.Delete