I loved the first Captain America movie. It was thrilling, filled with great action sequences, had comedy bits that worked and characters I really cared about. It’s my second favorite Marvel Studios movie (the first one being the first Iron Man) before The Avengers. So, when I got word they were making a sequel to it, I was incredibly stoked!
The trailer showed a lot of potential. The trailer showed off some great action teasers and funny bits. But the thing I really wanted to see was the introduction of Steve Roger’s best bud, The Falcon, and the titular Winter Soldier. These characters are an integral part of Captain America and his stories from the comics and I was hyped to see them adapted to the big screen.
Today, I went out and watched it. Was I disappointed? I hate to say it but I was let down a bit by Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not because it was a bad film but because it didn’t meet the lofty expectations I set for it. To learn more as to why I say this, continue reading this SPOILER-FREE review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The movie takes place a couple of years after the events of The Avengers. Captain America/Steve Rogers is finally starting to adapt to the modern world. However, his black and white view of the world conflicts with the different shades of gray SHIELD perceives. Captain America gets involved in a conspiracy that threatens the world and, together with fellow SHIELD agent, Black Widow, and new friend, The Falcon, they attempt to thwart the plans of a hidden enemy. But, in order to do that, Cap must square off against someone who may be more skilled than him: The Winter Soldier.
First, let me mention the things I didn’t like about the movie…
Now, I’m definitely not against political thrillers or conspiracy films. I actually love watching them. I can’t say I didn’t like the “conspiracy” presented here. It was a comic book-like conspiracy, alright. But it lead to numerous twists and turns which affected the characters of the movie. And I mean they were radically affected by these twists! It reached a point where I actually got distracted by these changes. I felt some of these character changes were wrong. There are also a ton of characters in the movie and it’s a shame they couldn’t find time to focus on all of them. Some of them definitely fall through the cracks and only make brief appearances.
There’s a ton of fight sequences in the film. But, because of shaky cam, quick cuts and how close they seem to zoom in, I didn’t really appreciate them to their fullest. Sure, they make the action look for frantic but I would’ve preferred to see a couple of set shots as well. These choices were really odd since most of the fighting scenes looked like they were really choreographed well.
Finally, the last bad point I would have to mention is the film was a smidge too long. It’s approximately two hours and 16 minutes (136 minutes) long. This makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier the second longest entry in the Marvel cinematic universe, only behind The Avengers (which had a plethora of heroes, by the way) at two hours and twenty-two minutes (142 minutes in total). While I couldn’t say what parts I would cut out, there should’ve been a way to shorten it a bit.
Now that I got those out of they way, let me talk about the good things!
The film is written in such a way that it revolves around the characters. I’ll try to explain what I mean. The Dark Knight is a great movie by itself but, with a few clever rewrites, you could replace Batman and the Joker with different characters and the film would still work. I can’t say the same thing for Winter Soldier. You need Captain America, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Winter Soldier and the rest of the cast in their roles! There’s no replacing them and, if you do try to so, the movie will suffer.
It definitely helps that all characters are really fleshed out. Each of them have defining personality traits you can identify quickly so it becomes very easy to understand their motivations when they make decisions and do something. Even the characters I felt were altered too much by the twists in the story, I could still get why they were doing it (even if I didn’t agree with them).
The acting of the main players is pretty good, too! This is to be expected of Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Cobie Smulders (who’ve been portraying their respective characters for a couple of films now). But newcomer Anthony Mackie was phenomenal as The Falcon and Robert Redford is right at home as SHIELD bureaucrat Alexander Pierce. I also have to mention Sebastian Stan made The Winter Soldier a really enigmatic character and a joy to watch.
Overall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a fine movie. Yes, I was a little disappointed with it but I would say it’s the best of the Phase Two movies (which include Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World). It’s definitely not a flawless movie but I will still recommend everyone, geek and non-geek alike, to watch it.
Oh, and by the way, there are two after credits scenes. So, don’t run off after you see the first one, okay?
Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What did you think about it? Whatever your thoughts are, please put them in the comments section below!