Saturday, April 12, 2014

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

With Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe already underway, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the next chapter in the story of "The Star-Spangled Man". In this politically-charged comic book/superhero movie from the studio that brought The Avengers (2012) together in THE Ultimate comic book movie team-up, Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) must fight for his country like never before as he questions his purpose and the meaning of freedom. Meanwhile, Cap continues to deal with being a man out of time in an ever-changing world. Now working directly with S.H.I.E.L.D. under Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Cap is sent on assignment with Agent Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), to rescue hostages taken by foreign pirates at sea. What begins as a simple hostage situation, literally "blows up" into a world-wide crisis with S.H.I.E.L.D. as the target of the mysterious "Winter Soldier" and Captain America is branded a fugitive. Cap and Black Widow now must fight this new threat and avoid capture, along with a new sidekick Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon (Anthony Mackie). A surprising added character in this film is Senator Alexander Pierce played by Hollywood veteran Robert Redford, who adds an interesting yet dull addition to the story and a weird twist to the plot. This sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) is a fast-paced and much more violent movie with an added darker tone combined with the military/political intrigue of a Tom Clancy story along with James Bond-like action. It's a much more exciting and intense film than the first movie, which was plagued by a slow-moving plot and slightly over-the-top comic book-style storytelling from director Joe Johnston. As a fan of both Marvel Comics and Marvel movies I always feel there have been some hits and misses since Marvel started this cinematic franchise with Iron Man (2008), while almost all of them have been huge box-office success it often leaves fans wanting particularly within the sequels (i.e. Iron Man 2 (2010). The Winter Soldier however, does not disappoint, with a much needed realism and tension within the story and also growing chemistry between the characters, namely Cap and Widow. This movie also brings audiences just one-step closer to Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015, as we are treated to an end-credits stinger (No Spoilers!) which reveals two new major characters! The Winter Soldier is a great experience, not only as a Marvel movie, but also as a stand-alone action movie itself and a must see for fans and action-lovers alike!
"...It's more about his [Captain America] discourse with the way society is and current political climate...given the technological advancements we have today, it brings up the question of how far are we willing to sacrifice our civil liberties and our privacy in the name of security."
- Chris Evans from a D23 interview