Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Movie Review
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 04 Apr 2014
Chris Evans returns as Captain America in the sequel to both the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger and 2012’s The Avengers. The Marvel movies continue a trajectory of making fantastic superhero movies. Where the first Captain America movie did the job of giving the character an origin story and some demons to face, The Avengers let the character breathe as part of the larger team. Steve Rogers’ perspective as a World War II-era superhero cryogenically frozen until the present continues to provide a few genuine fish-out-of-water laughs in the latest film as he’s catching up on pop culture touchstones he missed out on from the 70’s and 80’s. It’s also where the titular Winter Soldier comes into play, as there’s a few new wrinkles in the Captain’s past.
The funniest Marvel movie not starring Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Captain America: Winter Soldier is also one of its darkest. The opening set piece is quite literally dark, where Captain America and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lead an almost ninja-like fight across ship taken hostage by pirates. Pairing Captain America and Black Widow works well, with this being very much a movie about the secrets of Rogers’ past, and Black Widow’s jaded ex-KGB-turned-S.H.I.E.L.D secret agent is a perfect foil and accomplice in one. The movie smartly steers clear of making the a romantic pairing, with a believable amount of respect between the characters as well as emotional insulation. It’s important that we never truly know Black Widow’s endgame, and this movie does not take that question away from us.
Instead, we get to dig deeper into Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s history, Robert Redford’s Pierce and the Winter Soldier himself, who is revealed as a big part of the future story. Whether we will see him next in Avengers: Age of Ultron or a third Captain America movie, his story has more to it.
The movie’s central plot involves a fairly well-explored idea of developing a weapon that can prevent crime being turned against the good guys. We haven’t seen it this directly in The Avengers movie universe, but it works well to give the movie more of a spy-thriller feel with Robert Redford being perfectly pitched as the government man we’re not sure we can trust. The humor in the dialogue and the interruption-style most seen in The Avengers is very much alive here and is welcome. Like Thor: The Dark World, the second installment lets its hair down a little more and lets us laugh with the characters being funny. There are some disappointing cliches and logical gaps, but nothing too distracting when you remember you’re watching a superhero movie. Evans and Johnansson are excellent here, and if you liked them in The Avengers, chances are you’ll enjoy this movie with a large popcorn.
Cal, John A. and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car: