Captain America: The Winter Soldier Thoughts
Captain America is an incredible hero that hasn’t gotten his due film wise. He was plagued by terrible direct to video movies in the early 90s and then his first big budget film had mixed results. As a huge fan of the character, I was severely let down by the first movie and thought it was an abomination. Joss Whedon brought some justice to Captain America by making him a smart character, a leader and the ultimate hero in the Avengers and let Chris Evans shine a little bit. Captain America The Winter Soldier is a huge stepping stone for the character and Marvel movies.
Like previously mentioned before, the first Captain America was a weak film. It wasn’t loyal to the character, it wasn’t a serious movie, had a bad romantic story, and terrible acting. It was a cheesy movie that felt like a prequel to the Avengers rather than a Captain America movie. Thankfully Joss Whedon brought some respect to Cap in in Avengers but Avengers wasn’t a character movie so we don’t a lot of development or time with him. Avengers is a good start for anyone who hasn’t seen any Captain America movies. CATWS takes that development and takes it further. Of course they do not ignore the continuity of The First Avenger (the first Captain America movie) by trying to recap it or pretend it never happened but enough information is supplied to make it a stand alone. I was a huge critic of Chris Evans when he was casted. Even though he’s a good actor, I felt he didn’t have the presence or charisma to bring Steve Rogers to life. The First Avenger didn’t do him any justice but Joss Whedon’s Avengers made me at ease with him as Rogers. Chris Evans nails the role in CATWS, he captures the sadness, charisma, & heroism of Captain America. He treats the film with sheer respect One of my favorite moments in the film is when you find out why he joined SHIELD and him reminiscing with Peggy Carter. It’s an emotional scene that shows how much the world has moved on without Rogers. The chemistry between the two is heartbreaking. At times I was gushing at seeing one of my favorite superheroes brought to life. Evans finally gets a chance to own the role he was criticized for.
As for the supporting cast, everyone brings out a good a performance. Samuel Jackson gets more screen time as Fury. I’ve always considered Nick Fury to be a boring character but Jackson brings a lot of entertainment to the character and in CATWS, he gets to be more involved. Nick Fury gets some action sequences and he’s great in them. It’s kind of like when Jackson was casted as Mace Windu and we don’t get to see how amazing he really is till Episode 3. Anthony Mackie’s Falcon is another fantastic addition to the Marvel Universe. Falcon is what Nightwing & Tim Drake were to Batman. Except he wasn’t as interesting but in CATWS, he’s quite a fun character and Mackie was the perfect choice. Falcon isn’t just an ordinary character, he’s a well developed individual with similar beliefs as Rogers. The chemistry between the two is impeccable. Their relationship gradually grows throughout the movie. Its not at all a terrible pairing or underdeveloped as Rhodes/Stark. The only character that was disappointing was Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. She’s severely mis casted in the role of Black Widow, and CATWS she comes off as a spoiled SHIELD brat. Its hard to accept that she’s a scarred KGB soldier. Her role in the movie takes the place of Sharon Carter, who’s pretty much ignored till the last half hour of the movie. I understand that Johansson’s film was brought in for appeal purposes but her character just wasn’t necessary and towards the end of the film we still don’t learn anything about her. It would have been more fun to just have Sharon Carter be in the role. The two are an entertaining couple in the comic series and a lot of Widow’s scenes could have been filled with Sharon. It’s great to not see a love story in a superhero movie for once but it would have been better than the brother & sister duo story that Rogers & Natasha had going on.
A lot of these improvements can be credited to the Russo brothers who only had comedies under their belt. The odds weren’t in their favor. They did a phenomenal job with no blockbuster experience. They captured the feel of Captain America, got marvelous performances from their actors and brought the right amount of suspense & action. They don’t opt for the explosions & massive destruction sequences used in most superhero movies. There’s actual choreography in the fight sequences. The fights between Winter Soldier & Cap are absolutely thrilling and realistic. Not only that other characters get to have entertaining moments as well. The Nick Fury chase scene was very enthralling. The Russos not only capture the action well, they balance a dramatic & comedic tone.
There quite a few flaws that hold the film from being perfect. The film was a bit to keen on humor but it’s not overly done like the Thor & Iron Man series.. It’s a decent amount for an action movie but it’s become a Marvel token so I can’t fault the directors for it. Villain wise, (It’s an early twist), it’s kind of predictable who it is. Twists aren’t a strong suit for the film as most of its very predictable. The character’s motivation makes sense for what’s going on, but given his honorable backstory, it just feels out of character. You don’t go from good guy to wretched bad guy. It was a tad frustrating. The actor portraying him did a good job and thus making it a suitable villain. Overall the villain just felt like a typical James Bond villain who was evil for the sake of being evil. It would have been better if the rumored twist of him being Red Skull happened. It would have made more sense. Unfortunately Skull is not seen or mentioned in the movie. In good news, we do get to see the beginning of Crossbones (Brock Rumlow) and Frank Grillo plays the character to perfection. It’s some clever casting. The biggest issue I had with the villains is the lack of the title character, Winter Soldier. He’s hardly in the film and a henchman for most of his screen time. Towards the end, there’s progress on the character but all the build up is saved for the sequel. The film leaves way too many doors open and too many unresolved plot arcs. All successful superhero movies get sequels but to wait till the sequel to answer some of those questions was aggravating. It gives them material but it also leaves the door of repetition open. It feels like an insult to the audience by forcing them to come back in 2 years to see the conclusion. The audience will come if it’s a good movie.
Would I recommend?
Captain America The Winter Soldier has its flaws but all comic book movies have their flaws. CATWS just happens to do more right than wrong. A majority of the performances are strong and Chris Evans has finally made the role his. CATWS is a different take on the genre going for an espionage story and it’s fantastic for a character like Captain America. It’s a well directed film that’s constantly captivating. CATWS is the answer to DC’s Batman. Even though it isn’t as dark as the Batman films, it’s at a point where it could be. Action wise it’s very comparable. CATWS leaves a lot of potential in its sequel and could head in many exciting directions. Marvel has finally got another exciting franchise in their catalog. Yes I would recommend this without a doubt.