If you read my review on Captain America: The First Avenger, you know that I’m not obsessed with Captain America. As I mentioned in that review, Captain America is just not a stellar, exceptional superhero. He’s a product of steroid testing and an indestructible shield. I appreciate his character and his moral compass though. It’s the type of integrity that more people should have today.
New directors this time around in Anthony and Joe Russo give every component of the sequel a significant upgrade. To start off, the screenplay and plot.
Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America is still doing his thing, working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and stopping terrorist attacks and protecting the red, white, and blue. He’s working with Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow, played by the beautiful Scarlett Johansson, and S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury is still on the scene, starring the gifted Samuel L. Jackson. During a mission to free hostages on a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel, Rogers loses contact with Romanoff, only to find her downloading S.H.I.E.L.D. files from the computers on board. Ends up that saving the hostages wasn’t the only mission. Rogers is pretty ticked when he goes to talk to Fury afterwards and I can’t blame him. He’s Captain America. He’s served his country for a long time and he deserves some respect. A conversation ensues where Rogers and Fury take two different sides. Fury believes that the world is corrupt, full of deceit and muck, and because of that he doesn’t believe that freedom is any more than a concept anymore. Don’t get me wrong, Fury’s not the bad guy (or is he?) here or anything, but this conversation gives us some more character building for Rogers. Rogers takes the high road, the road that superheroes and everyday heroes are meant to take, the road that says that even if there are only a few good people in the world, doing the right thing for those few is worth it.
The high points of the 2011 film were the character development, especially when it involved Captain America, and the Russo brothers don’t lose a step with that here. The character expansion is great. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic as Black Widow and there’s an abundance of chemistry between her and Captain America actor Chris Evans. At points, I can seem them becoming a couple. No Hawkeye in this one, which I was a little surprised by. He wasn’t in the trailer but I thought they might throw him in as a surprise. However, all is well in the mind of Tim because we get Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson a.k.a. The Falcon. He’s more a technological marvel then a superhero, but he’s still fun to watch and I hope he’s brought back in the next continuation. Samuel L. Jackson opens up the doors of Fury’s character and his charismatic self is alive and well on the screen. He plays a larger role in this then he’s gotten in past Marvel films which I was more than content with. Much of the film’s humor goes through him. The seasoned Robert Redford also makes an appearance on the big screen. He’s getting up there in the years but the talent is still there. I haven’t seen him in anything before, but I’m sure a film fanatic such as myself will be seeing more of him in the coming years. A notable performance from Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier works great opposite of Chris Evans.
Speaking of which, how about Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America? As in the previous one, Rogers’ soft-spoken and humble persona comes through loud and clear. Evans has really taken on the uniform of this character and has shown he’s truly a talent worth looking at if you’re about to make a big budget film. While watching Fantastic Four on tv about a month ago (because there was nothing else on), my roommate asked if I knew that Chris Evans played The Human Torch in the film. It never occurred to me. I’m very good when it comes to facial recognition, but it went unnoticed. The fact that it’s the same guy shocked me. Fantastic Four was a bad movie and I don’t know how a sequel was made. Chris Evans’ performance was forgettable, but he’s truly been reborn with Captain America. I’m really glad he was given another chance because he’s made Captain America an icon again.
The disappointing action scenes are nowhere to be found in this film. The Russo brothers probably read my review and thought they’d blow my mind with a visual spectacle that was on par with some of the best action scenes I’ve seen. The fight scenes on the boat in the opening are very well choreographed. You feel the pain being dished out and it’s pretty tender but oh, so tasty.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Non-Stop, Divergent, Spider-Man 3, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Young Guns)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Alien Resurrection, Full Metal Jacket, Thor, You’re Next, The Starving Games)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Alien, Serendipity, Cowboys and Aliens, 300: Rise of an Empire, A Haunted House)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight Cowboy, Dark Fury, Alien 3, Open Grave)
My score for Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 92.
Bolstered by a stellar cast and a new and improved directorial direction, Captain America: The Winter Soldier proves Captain America is a successful Marvel franchise where doubt may have lingered in the viewers of the first flick.