The first Marvel movie of 2014 has arrived, and not just with a bang, it comes in with a bang, boom, and pow! Captain America: The Winter Soldier is here. And not only did it deliver in every way a Marvel fan would want, it manages to make an already great movie universe even better and brighter. This is how you make a perfect comic book action movie.
We pick up Cap’s story some time after the events of The Avengers. Steve Rogers is struggling to embrace his role in the modern world; he’s trying and doing an ok job. He’s finding his rhythm and making the best of his situation, working for SHEILD and saving the day. But a new threat has been uncovered. A Soviet assassin, known only as The Winter Soldier, is going after SHIELD and places Cap right in the middle of the battle. He and the Black Widow are sent on a mission to change everything we know about SHIELD and the Marvel Universe.
The movie works on so many levels: Story, plot, action, fighting, special effects, etc. It is one of the most perfect comic book movies to date. Cap finds himself stuck between a rock and hard place for most of the movie. He wants to fight for what believes in, freedom and justice, but the world of SHIELD and Nick Fury aren’t always about what’s right and just. Cap is a black and white kind of a guy living in a world of grey. It’s what he does in that grey world that defines him and makes him a hero we all should strive to be.
Returning to the series as our hero is Chris Evens, bringing along Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. These actors have had time with these characters at this point. They know them inside and out, no need to continue to praise them on how good of a job they’re doing. They all do exceptionally well as expected.
The movie introduces us to some new faces to the Marvel Universe, who all turn in fantastic performances, making you want them in many future projects, such as Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon. He becomes an ally of Cap and really backs him up when Cap needs it most. He becomes what Cap needs in the new world, a friend. Not only is Mackie completely comfortable coming into an established series, but he also makes it looks effortless. He looks like a badass, fights just as well, and has some great scenes with Cap. We hope to see more of the Falcon, because he was great. Also new to the heroes side was Emily Van Camp as Agent 13. Her part is small, I mean, she could have been cut, and we wouldn’t have even noticed, but her being placed in the movie is a seed being planted for future stories. She is a strong force in the movie, that doesn’t get much, but when she does, she makes you believe. She’ll be an interesting character to watch for in the future.
The new bad guys for the flick are just as interesting, like Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow, who as comic fans know, becomes the villain Crossbones. They never call him that, but if you’re a fan of the comic, you see little nods here and there. He is one mean SOB. You see he isn’t a good guy by a lot of acting choices Grillo is making: a look here and there, a smug smile, etc. We’re watching the origin of a future villain for sure.
Also there’s The Winter Soldier himself. Returning to the series is Sebastian Stan. Spoiler, if you haven’t read the comic, seen the trailer, the poster, or any of millions of TV ads: Stan, who played Bucky Barnes in the first Captain America flick, is the Winter Soldier. He’s a very interesting character to have survived his “death” in part one, to be used by HYDRA for many evil deeds, and to return to find yourself fighting your best friend, long thought dead. This becomes the major conflict for Cap. Cap is fighting to save the world, but he’s also fighting to save his BFF. This is one of the best movie friendships pushed to the limit. It’s amazing how good Evens and Stan are in these scenes. We’re looking forward to the continuing story of Bucky and how he will fit unto the larger universe.
Everything blows up in this movie, and I mean everything. Not as bad as The Avengers, where a space fish took out half of New York, but everywhere Cap goes, destruction follows, and in a good way. This is a great action flick with plenty of gunplay and amazing fight choreography from all the stunt crew and actors. It is like watching a comic book come alive before your eyes. The special effects are amazing, each looks more real than the last. You know there aren’t three helicarriers in the sky shooting, but you swear there is! The use and technology of green/blue screen and CGI is amazing here, and it’s getting better with each one of the movies. The filmmakers are really making leaps and strides each year.
The team of brothers Anthony and Joe Russo direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They’re mostly known for their comedy, directing shows like Community and Arrested Development, so it was an odd choice for them to direct their first big budget blockbuster with Marvel. But as Marvel has done in the past, they see something we don’t, and they took a chance on these two fine gentlemen. And once again, Marvel proved to be right. These two dudes direct the crap out of this. It’s great! How they managed to craft a massive story, with several characters with different plots and themes, is a work of art. Other big budget directors need to look to these two guys for answers. They did such a good job, they have already signed on for Cap 3. That’s a good show of faith on Marvel, once more, making all the right decisions.
There’s not much more to be said about Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It’s one of the best comic book action movies we’ve seen. It has everything you would want in a flick of this magnitude. The movie has a strong start that never wavers once. It’s a shame all comic book action flicks can’t be this good or fun. In a perfect world, they would be, but for now, we can watch this and just enjoy.