Another Marvel movie has hit the theaters, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the sequel that continues the story of Steve Rogers, a World War II soldier frozen from the time of World War II to present day. The movie follows the events of The Avengers and Captain America’s work at S.H.I.E.L.D. Check out what Josh and Violet had to say about this film, as they review it (with minimal spoilers!)
Hopefully, if you are reading this, you are familiar with the first Captain America (with the subtitle The First Avenger). If not, you have at least heard of Captain America. Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans), a kid growing up during World War II, wants to enlist to serve his country, but is unable to due to his meager stature. He is enlisted in a research project called Super Soldier, in which he is exposed to a serum developed in part by Tony Stark’s father, Howard Stark. Captain America then enters the war, learns of HYDRA and the Red Skull, a more extreme version of Nazis (is that even possible?), and subsequently takes down Hydra with his group called the Howling Commandos. At the end of the film, attempting to stop a plane from reaching the United States, Steve Rogers/Captain America crashes the plane into the icy waters below him. He wakes up in present day, dealing with the story of The Avengers, and following that is left a bit lost, a “Man Out of Time” as he is often referred to as. That finally leads us to this movie, The Winter Soldier.
His Review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
Marvel Studios is currently in the middle of “Phase 2” as they have been calling this era of movies, which Kevin Feige laid out at Comic-Con last year. Phase 2 started with Iron Man 3, followed by Thor: The Dark World, and now followed by the newly released Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and will ultimately conclude with The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since the beginning of Marvel Studios’ plot course for their films, they have yet to produce a film that has tanked, and this weekend, Captain America: The Winter Soldier falls in line with the rest of the greatness that Marvel Studios has been producing since 2008.
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, the film begins with Captain America meeting Sam Wilson (played by Anthony Mackie) who eventually becomes the Falcon later in the film. Their conversation is cut short when Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) picks him up for a mission–to rescue some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that have been taken hostage aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. naval vessel. Captain America learns that Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff was given her own mission–to recover S.H.I.E.L.D. intel for Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson). Steve Rogers isn’t happy about this secret mission, and gives Nick Fury a piece of his mind.
After receiving intel that Natasha recovered, Nick Fury tries to access the data and is unable to. His clearance has been removed to view the data–by himself. Seeing something is wrong, Nick Fury talks with Alexander Pierce (played by Robert Redford), who is the leader of the World Security Council, and asks him to delay Project Insight, a program in which 3 heli-carriers, much like Nick Fury’s from The Avengers, would monitor the world from above. Alexander Pierce obliges Nick Fury’s request, jesting that he would if Iron Man would show up to his grandkid’s birthday party.
Then, as seen in the trailers, Nick Fury has a run in with local law enforcement–only Fury’s car lets him know that no cops have been dispatched to his area. Fury realizes these men are not who they appear to be, and a gunfight begins. Fury, after a destructive car chase, seems to make his getaway when The Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan) makes his first appearance–blowing Fury’s car up with a futuristic gun.
Nick Fury winds up in Steve Roger’s apartment, and warns Captain America to trust no one. Fury gives Rogers the USB-looking piece of intel Black Widow recovered. Not knowing who to trust, Rogers begins to try to piece together what is going on in S.H.I.E.L.D., eventually working together with Natasha and Sam Wilson. Becoming a fugitive of S.H.I.E.L.D., the trio must get to the bottom of the conspiracy in S.H.I.E.L.D., while dealing with The Winter Soldier.
I have to give it to Marvel, the directors, Chris Evans and everyone in the movie. They have done it again–another great superhero movie. While the story was fairly predictable 20 minutes into the film, the ride the movie takes you on is one of suspense, excitement, with a sprinkle of humor the whole way. Samuel L. Jackson as usual plays a remarkable Nick Fury. Chris Evans and Scarlet Johansson play their polar opposite parts well–the All-American Boy Scout with the deceptive Russian spy. Anthony Mackie was a great addition as the Falcon as well.
Marvel has mastered the art of getting a lot of good actors in one film. They have figured out how to make stories work so that each character isn’t on the screen for the whole movie, which likely makes it possible to squeeze all of these actors into the film. In this movie, Nick Fury disappears for a good chunk of the movie, yet the way it is done, works.
The action scenes in the film were great as well. The hand to hand combat scenes between Rogers and Barnes were amazing. The fight choreographer definitely deserves some kudos.
Another thing that Marvel has learned to do with its films is sneak in characters that you either have seen in the past, or make new ones that you become intrigued with right away. Agent Hill makes a return this movie, and we are introduced to “Agent 13”, who I immediately want to know about.
And while mostly praise is deserved for this movie, there are a couple of things I wish were done better in the film. One, the film seemed marketed as a “political thriller”, which should spark some morality issues, and where determining who the “bad guys” and “good guys” are isn’t cut and dry. Unfortunately, Marvel made it quite cut and dry once the true villain is revealed, turning the film very “black and white”, rather than getting into the gray area.
As a kind of following to the above, as I touched on above, the movie became very predictable at a certain point in the film. The bad guys were easily determined, and how the story would play out was pretty obvious.
All in all though, the amount of fun this movie provides, the “issues” with the film fade into the background for the most part. On our 1 to 10 scale, this film deserves an 8.5 out of 10. The film ends with a great ending, but leaves the door open just enough to salivate for the next Captain America film, and curious about what the next Avengers would be about.
Her Review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
Our Twitter feed has been blowing up the past couple of weeks with people who got to see early screenings of Captain America: The Winter Soldier raving about how amazing it was, so I had been really looking forward to seeing it. If you haven’t seen it yet, let me tell you, believe the hype. Yes, it’s that good. Definitely better than the first. Combining the hype with the recent success of other Marvel Studios movies, and the all-star cast consisting of Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, and Cobie Smulders, it’s no surprise that Winter Soldier raked in $96.2 million this weekend, breaking the record for largest April debut.
Captain America 2 begins with Steve Rogers/Captain America meeting Sam Wilson, who will become Falcon, while on a run. His character comes into play much later in the film. We soon see that Captain America and Black Widow have been working together for S.H.I.E.L.D., and they are sent on a mission. However, although they are sent to the same location, Steve discovers that Natasha had a different mission than he was given, which raises his suspicions. He makes sure to let Agent Fury know he’s unhappy about that as soon as he gets back.
After Agent Fury finds himself under attack, which is where we first meet the Winter Soldier, Fury narrowly escapes, and warns Captain America to “Trust no one.” Soon after, Captain America finds himself a fugitive on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D., which has been compromised. Steve and Natasha join forces to try to figure out what’s going on, being hunted at every turn by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Winter Soldier, and when they feel like they have no friends left to turn to, they enlist the help of Sam Wilson/Falcon. Together, Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon work as a team to fight the bad guys.
To say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier was action-packed would be an understatement. Although the movie feels like it gets off to a bit of a slow start while setting up the story, once the action starts, there are few scenes where there’s not any action. Once things get going, it’s a very thrilling, fast paced movie that’s fun to watch and become immersed in. I think seeing it in IMAX was definitely the way to go. It grabs your attention and doesn’t let go the whole way through. Although it is a “superhero” movie, it definitely has other elements to it as well, having a conspiracy theory/political spy thriller plot and feel to it, so that even those who are not fans of the superhero “genre” can still enjoy it. This, along with having Robert Redford in it, might help draw in the older crowd that tends to avoid “popcorn” movies.
Captain America 2 is not just another popcorn movie, as there are a lot of things going on in it that make you think. Granted, some of the events are predictable, such as who the “bad guy” is, which is actually revealed pretty early on, but you have to remember that Marvel is trying to appeal to all ages, so they can’t make it too complicated for its teen or pre-teen audience to understand. But even if it does happen to go over their heads, there’s still all that fun action to fall back on, so there’s something for everyone!
Regarding the action, not only were the effects and explosions pretty awesome, but the physical action was amazing as well. Black Widow can really kick some butt! It’s great to have a female character who can really hold her own, actually not only hold her own, but take charge of a situation – and she doesn’t even have superpowers! But even though she’s tough, she can still be feminine at the same time.
This movie did a great job of introducing new characters, especially Falcon, who I really liked, and revisiting old characters, such as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, and others that I don’t want to spoil in case you haven’t seen the movie yet. You don’t realize that you’re ever going to see those characters again, so it’s an interesting surprise when you do, although very sad in one situation.
Something else that Marvel does a great job at is connecting all their properties, including the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Like many others, we were having a hard time getting into the show, and almost wanted to give up, but felt obligated to continue watching because “everything is connected.” After a rocky start at the beginning of the season, it actually has gotten better the past few episodes, and I’m really curious to see what happens on the show in light of everything that went down with S.H.I.E.L.D. in Winter Soldier. So to those who did stop watching, I would advise you to go back and catch up, so you can see the connection with Captain America 2, which looks to be a lot more significant than the tenuous connection that the show had with Thor 2 last year.
Going into the movie, I thought it would be a lot more about the Winter Soldier, considering that’s the subtitle of the movie, but I felt he was just a secondary character, always in the background, and merely there as an additional obstacle. I wanted to know more about him, and was disappointed by the lack of presence by the Winter Soldier. However, it looks like they have set up things perfectly for Captain America 3, which I am definitely looking forward to.
I think it goes without saying that you need to stay until the very end of the credits. The first gives us a good setup for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will be released on May 1, 2015, and the second sets things up for Captain America 3, to be released May 1, 2016.
My rating: 8.5/10