There will be spoilers but they will be at the end of the post. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when to look away if you’re anal about spoilers. Now let’s talk about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Super Political Action Thriller
While the movie has a lot of moving parts in terms of characters and twists, the plot is fairly simple. We’ve seen this story dozens of times already in action thriller, political thriller, and espionage movies: somebody finds out something that’s supposed to be a big secret so everybody else tries to kill them. Also, it involves car chases and insane parkour Jason Bourne type of shit action sequences.
This is not a problem, though, since this whole “Don’t trust anyone! They’re going to kill you! OMG HERE THEY COME! [insane parkour Jason Bourne type of shit]” bit is simple enough to let characters breathe and develop. The generic plot basically provides a backdrop for characters like Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Steve Rogers to be fleshed out. Even Agent 13 and Falcon, new characters in the MCU, are not two-dimensional.
Fleshing Out Cap
Captain America: The First Avenger was one big prologue to Marvel’s The Avengers disguised as an origin story set 7 decades ago, which is why it’s my least favorite Marvel movie. I liked it, but I think it’s the weakest link in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, I’m still not convinced that Chris Evans is the best choice for Cap. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deliver a great performance here because he totally did.
While CA: The Winter Soldier gives hints about Avengers: Age of Ultron and a load of references to other MCU characters both past and future, it stands alone as a solid Captain America story which mostly focuses on Steve Rogers’ struggle to let go of the past, deal with the present, and figure out the future.
It may have shadowy government agencies, secret evil organizations, and lots of insane parkour Jason Bourne type of shit, but it’s really just about a man out of time trying to figure out his place in this dark, modern world.
Man, from being the punchline to the joke that is death in comics, Bucky Barnes has come a long way. I was concerned about how the cybernetic arm thing would work on screen, but it actually did. I didn’t think they could make the Winter Soldier intimidating enough onscreen, but Sebastian Stan totally pulls off the whole Bad Ass Cyborg Assassin from the Past thing.
It’s a lot less cartoon-y than CA: The First Avenger. It’s darker, more grounded. There’s less humor but there are still some funny moments in there — no LOL moments for me, though. It’s relatively heavy, bros, at least compared to the other MCU movies. That’s what makes it special.
My favorite thing about it, though, is that they got Steve Rogers right. I know that sounds extremely annoying coming from a person who lives and breathes comic books, but I can’t help it. Steve Rogers is a leader of men with an unbreakable moral compass who is thrust into a corrupt modern world where most of the people he knows are either dead, dying, or trying to kill him with a gunshot TO THE FACE. That’s the Captain America from the comics and that’s exactly who we get in CA: The Winter Soldier.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier feels new and fresh, which you can rarely say about most sequels. With CA: The First Avenger being mostly set in the ’40s, this follow-up almost feels like an entirely new franchise. It also leaves a bunch of interesting dangling plot threads that I can’t wait to see resolved in the next Cap or Avengers movie. I give it 4 out of 5 SHIELDS TO THE FACE. It would’ve been a perfect 5 out of 5 if we were given more Batroc.
HERE BE SPOILERS!
Now let’s talk about the juicy details! Last chance, people. If you don’t want spoilers, get out now.
Still here? Good. Let’s roll.
1. I’m glad they held off on the whole Agent 13 thing. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve loved to see a lot more of Emily VanCamp kicking ass, but that would make the film too crowded. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of Sharon Carter in the next one.
2. I almost let out a loud “FUCK YES!” when Agent Sitwell mentioned Stephen Strange.
3. The reveal of Robert Redford being the big baddie didn’t really work for me because in this type of story where you’re guessing who’s behind all of the evil machinations, you would want the final boss to be as less obvious as possible. Also, I was secretly hoping for Redford to peel away his face to reveal that he’s Hugo Weaving all along.
4. Speaking of my secret hopes and dreams, I was disappointed that a Nick Fury LMD didn’t die. Instead, we got a fake Nick Fury death thanks to Bruce Banner’s SCIENCE!
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA FIGHTS BATROC THE LEAPER WHO IS ALSO A PIRATE. I MEAN, RIGHT?!
6. Stan Lee’s cameo here is possibly the worst of them all. Still amusing, though. And I can’t think of anywhere else in the movie he could fit in. I guess Inept Security Guard at the Captain America Museum is the only choice.
7. When Arnim Zola showed up, I could almost hear crickets in the cinema. But in my head, I was shrieking like a One Direction fan. While all the insane parkour Jason Bourne type of shit give the movie a certain level of gritty realism, the appearance of a Nazi scientist living as a digital consciousness in a bunch of old computers reminds you that this is still a comic book movie.
8. The general consensus about Ultron in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron is that he will be created by Tony Stark. I was still hoping that Hank Pym would be involved somehow, but this movie just straight up crushed my last sliver of hope. The algorithm created by Arnim Zola, which Hydra was supposed to use to kill millions of people, will probably evolve into the Ultron A.I. to tie it all together. I love and hate you, Marvel.
9. The scene after the credits was just Sebastian Stan looking like he’s about to cry in anger while staring at a picture of himself from WWII. Meh. The scene in the middle of the credits is what you should pay attention to.
10. The mid credits scene shows us Baron Strucker with Loki’s scepter. Also in his possession is a pair of twins with superpowers: a man who seems to have difficulty in controlling his super speed and a woman who is moving things without touching them. Yes, this is our first glimpse of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch! It’s definitely better than the horrible set photos they’ve unleashed on the Internet.
11. So S.H.I.E.L.D. is no more. It would be interesting to see how they address this issue on the TV show.
12. I will definitely watch it again at least one more time because CAPTAIN AMERICA FIGHTS BATROC THE LEAPER WHO IS ALSO A PIRATE.