Saturday, March 29, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, 2014) Review

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, in my opinion, can and has done no wrong. At worst, we have The Incredible Hulk which is still meaningful and enjoyable but has strong flaws and, at best, we have Avengers Assemble which needs no introduction. I mean, DC can barely get a film about Wonder Woman off the ground but Marvel's next film is Guardians of the Galaxy, a film which features a talking, gun-wielding raccoon and a giant tree person. They are on top and deserve it but let's take a look at their most recent entry into this widespread franchise; Captain America: The Winter Soldier

After rescuing SHIELD agents from Algerian pirates, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) muses with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) over the integrity of security after previous events. Security is attemped to be buffed by the addition of Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) who sets up 'project insight', which aims to isolate and take down threats before they even occur. However, a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) arrives and sets his sights on Fury while Rogers and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) discover a revelation that could change the entire perspective of SHIELD.

I know that many people were dissapointed with Captain America: The First Avenger but this is the Captain America film I bet they wanted. Between the amazing action, brilliant acting (thank you Sebastian Stan!), poignant political ties, strong character development and the feeling of not wanting it to end, this is easily the best solo film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you took away the Winter Soldier and added the rest of the Avengers, this would be perfectly satisfying as Avengers 2. One of the problems with previous Marvel films is that big characters like Nick Fury or Black Widow never got much development or any reason to care about them but this film deals with that issue nicely. If you didn't like Black Widow in Avengers Assemble, you should like her more after watching this. We are also introduced to Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie, for I welcome into the franchise with open embrace. Mackie and Evans clearly share excellent chemistry and Steve and Sam blossom as a strong duo as a result.

This feels like the most daring of the Marvel films. While Iron Man 3 did come out with the most twists, it only really affected Tony Stark and the people around him. Thor: The Dark World just felt like filler but Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the turning point of the entire franchise, more so than Avengers Assemble, and makes me really want to see how events will lead into Avengers: Age of Ultron. It's also the darkest and most edgy film in the series. However, what stops it from being a 10/10 like Avengers Assemble is that, and this is a common complaint, I just wish it took more risks. In the last half hour, I feel that they could've thrown in one last twist just to heighten the stakes even further.

If Iron Man is the equivalent of Batman Begins and Avengers Assemble is one of The Dark Knight Rises, then Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the Marvel Cinematic Universe's equivalent of The Dark Knight. This is the kind of escapade that the rest of the Avengers should be on during their down time. The new characters fit in with the rest of the established cast, the action is just brilliant to watch, it doubles as a strong political thriller and develops characters that were in need of attention. Spider-Man has a lot to live up to next month...

Everything a comic book movie should be. This could've been Avengers 2 if it wanted to be!

also, where was Hawkeye during all this?! Stark and Banner have good excuses but Hawkeye is in SHIELD!

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