Oh my stars and stripes, THIS is the Captain America we’ve all been waiting for. With the disappointment that was the first installment, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Marvel’s peace offering to any sub-par movies they made throughout the franchise (I’m looking at you, Iron Man 3). Yes, it’s that good, and yes you should watch it. Like, right now.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Marvel’s centerpiece for phase 2 and a clear game changer. After this, the whole of MCU or Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same.
The story thus far
Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) after the events of the Avengers. He’s trying to settle in the current world but his ideals and values often clash with this generation’s perception of right and wrong. This is amplified further with S.H.I.E.L.D. in play, the secret organization that’s being run by Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) with Secretary Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) who most of the time plays opposite Cap’s sensibilities. But when S.H.I.E.L.D. comes into an attack initiated by the rogue assassin Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Captain America has to determine friend from foe. Also included in this sequel is new comer Falcon (Anthony Mackie) who lends a strong shoulder to Cap when he needed it. Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) makes a comeback along with other few surprises from the first installment (and I’m not just talking about the Winter Soldier).
What makes the second installment of the Captain America film franchise a rousing success is that the elements fit perfectly well with each other. From a very crisp and precise script to its gripping pacing, the technical proficiency of the cinema is to be marveled at (no pun intended). The actors all brought their A-game and everyone was given a fair amount of lines and character to maximize their acting prowess. At the heart of it, Chris Evans displayed a whole different layer and believable characterization of Cap/ Steve Rogers that we haven’t seen before. The scene between Steve and an aged Peggy (Hayley Atwell) was heart-wrenchingly good, even if it was just a quick scene; Samuel L. Jackson reinforces why Nick Fury is one bad-ass M*therf*cker; and Robert Redford gives a whole lot of credence to his role which makes his performance draw you in instantly. The actors, whether given a big role or a supporting role, played their performances so straight that you’ll just have to believe in them. You don’t see Sam Jackson playing Nick Fury, you see Nick Fury through and through. Heck, GSP (George St-Pierre), famed UFC competitor, showed some pretty convincing acting chops as Batroc the Leaper, a B-level super villain from the Marvel Comic roster.
It’s the grandness and smallness of the film that makes it ultimately amazing. It’s a concise story with a believable premise and a natural complement to the whole MCU plot. In fact, there are certain nuances within the story (and storyline) that may lead to Avengers 2: Age of Ultron – like how technology can be vastly dangerous under the wrong hands. It’s nothing new, mind you, but it helps presents possible ground works to the 2nd Avengers film. More than that, it’s the attention to details that makes this film amazingly great. It’s the little nods to pop culture and current events that makes it all the while more inspired…like that Bible verse at the end of the movie (in case you need to know, do a Google on Ezekiel 25:17 and Samuel L. Jackson). 😉
From a plot-continuity perspective, Captain America: The Winter Soldier brings everything to the center of things. Things both from the past franchises (and some tidbits of cameo from Iron Man 2) and mentions of future franchises (wait for when they mention the name: Stephen Strange) clearly establishes this film as the midpoint of the whole MCU. After this, things will be set in motion that will affect each and every other franchise there is—from the various movies to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. T.V. Series.
And yet, even with a herculean task such as this, the movie never loses its footing. It understood what it has to do and what the audience wants and they did it with such grace and gusto that you can’t ask for anything more.
The action is plenty but it is never busy
This is Captain America as he ought to be: agile, graceful and exceedingly powerful. The stunts are one of the best I’ve seen in a Marvel Franchise. The fight choreograph is gripping that you see every punch thrown or every knife dodged or bullet shot all without using the typical slow-mo cheat. The angles and quirky shield throws will make you want to pick up Marvel vs Capcom again. Seriously, there was a part where he did a sort of shield-dash and it was amazing! Coincidentally, we see a lot of MMA moves in this film. One could only fondly imagine if GSP had some hand in its inclusion. 😉
The guys at Marvel are doing a wonderful job of making sure the action is part of the story and not a standalone tent-pole sequence. Every big action sequence is well thought of and doesn’t come off as tired and confusing. Props to the Director of Photography (Trent Opaloch of District 9 and Elysium)! If you’ve watched it, sound off below on your favorite one (but please no spoilers).
Hungry for more
In the end, Captain America: The Winter Soldier sells you on a couple of things. 1) It makes you excited for Guardians of the Galaxies, 2) it makes you equally excited for Avengers 2: Age of Ultron and 3) it makes you curious as how this film will affect the quickly dwindling Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E. L. D.
This is such an enjoyable film that I didn’t mind watching it for a third time. There’s hardly any fatigue in watching it. Currently, I’m ranking this alongside the first Avengers movie and probably a notch above or below Thor 1 (which is my current Marvel favorite). We hope that this will give Marvel its much needed second wind for phase 2 and becomes a standard of measurement for the upcoming films.
Oh, before I forget, as with films in the franchise, you’d want to stay after the credits for some bonus materials. If you really have to pee, do it during the actual credits (black background) and run back after, there’s another scene after everything else.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier blazed into Philippine cinema last March 26, 2014. The film is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and stars Chris Evan, Scarlet Johannson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, and Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury and Robert Redford as Secretary Alexander Pierce.