Friday, April 4, 2014

Movie Review: Captain America The Winter Soldier

As luck would have it, I got to see both Captain America movies back-to-back.  The first one was a primer, an introduction to Steve Rogers and the second movie picks up right where the Avengers movie stops.  Rogers is trying to assimilate back into the world, yet still not being a part of it.  Rogers is sent out on a mission early in the story, a hostage situation that he diffuses, but not without realizing that fellow Avenger, the Black Widow, was assigned to not just the strike team.  Her mission differed from his and when he confronts Fury about it, the latter doesn’t deny it, stating that he doesn’t trust anyone.

Rogers meets a fellow veteran of the army, Sam Wilson, who invites him to visit the VA to help others with their PTSD.  While Rogers is visiting Wilson, Nick Fury is being attacked and shot at by half of what appear to be the DC police.  A massive action sequence transpires and when the story returns to Rogers, he finds Fury in his apartment, half alive, getting shot as he tries to get up.  The neighbor he thought was a nurse turns out to be an agent of SHIELD and she calls an ambulance as Rogers pursues the shooter.  The attacker has the same strength as Rogers and easily escapes.  Back in the hospital, Fury dies and the jump drive he gives Rogers has to be hidden.  Rogers is cornered and questioned back at SHIELD, managing to escape and when he goes to retrieve the hidden file, the Black Widow has already gotten it.

The two go on a search to try and determine what is going on and find more than they expected.  With Fury unable to protect them, the two are hunted everywhere they go and have to enlist the help of Wilson to hide and mount a push back.  The masked attacker makes recurring appearances and Rogers soon discovers that he too is from his past.  The movie culminates with many competing elements and storylines crossing together, leaving the viewer wanting more, knowing there will be more.

Unlike the first Captain America movie, this one has a lot more going on and feels slightly more bloated in the story with quite a few different elements in the story.  The cast is bolstered with Robert Redford, who puts together quite the performance as Fury’s boss, so to speak.  If you’re a fan of the Marvel movies, this is nothing new.  While there is a lot going on, at no point did I feel overwhelmed by it.  All of the Marvel movies have these elements where there is a lot going on, but unlike the DC based movies, there are more explained with each passing movie.  After three Iron Man movies, two Thor movies, one Avengers movie and now two Captain America movies, the Marvel universe is very well stocked and very well written and acted.

Some fans might think that the concept of the Winter Soldier was minimized in favour of Fury’s storyline, but as the leader of SHIELD, and not having a movie of his own, it was nice to finally get to see more of his story and see more of some other minor characters.  I am still waiting for Marvel to make a Black Widow/Hawkeye movie of some sort, which would be amazing.

On the whole, I can’t give many, if any detractions for this movie.  At no point was I bored or uninterested.  The acting was superb, as per usual and the writing kept me engaged throughout.  I do worry that as they make more movies, each one will get heavier and heavier.  There seem to be few people who haven’t been following these movies, so it seems unlikely that a ‘new’ viewer would be lost, but that would be the only ‘bad’ thing I could say about this movie or series of movies.  Looking forward to the next Avengers movie even more.

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