Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Cast: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo
Producer: Kevin Feige
Studio: Marvel Studions
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Genre(s): Action, Superheroes, Comic Book Adaptation
Based On the Captain America character and comics
I just got back from seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the second time just more than half an hour ago and let me just say that while I wouldn’t say this was the best Marvel movie to date it’s certainly up there. But even if it’s not the best it’s certainly the most impactful. The Avengers may have knitted the cinematic universe together but the repercussions of The Winter Soldier are going to likely tear it apart – at least to some extent. The neat little world of superhero teams and SHIELD operatives we saw in the Avengers is unlikely to be the same once Avengers: Age of Ultron roles around. And if Agents of SHIELD doesn’t get renewed for a second season this movie could easily give them a reason why and if it does, well, there is easily half a season if not of fallout they could deal with.
Not matter what happens with Agents of SHIELD, though, you’ll never be able to watch it the same again.
But that discussion is probably best suited for another article. One that Ashley is currently writing.
So let’s talk Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The first five minutes of the film have been available online for a week or so now and they really do set the tone for the film. It’s a very fast paced, action oriented movie with enough explosions to make Michael Bay proud. At it’s core, though, it’s almost more of a political spy thriller. Nick Fury is a man of secrets and SHIELD was founded on it’s own series of secrets. It’s full of new and familiar faces – some of them wholly unexpected – and some characters you thought you knew once aren’t going to be the people you think they are after you’ve seen this.
Picking up some time after the Avengers, The Winter Soldier sees Steve Rogers living in Washington, DC and officially working for SHIELD now. After New York things escalated quickly and SHIELD has become a much more visible organization. Steve plays along because he doesn’t really know what else to do. He’s not cut off from the world in the same way he was when Fury found him in the beginning of the Avengers but while he’s accepting his new world and catching up still he’s not quite accepted it. Nor has he quite accepted SHIELD’s overall purpose.
Luckily for him that hesitancy gets validated pretty early on and he and Natasha are forced out into the cold to figure out what’s really going on with SHIELD. Meanwhile their enemies are barely one step behind them the whole time. It’s practically a superhero version of the Bourne series – moments of intense, balls-to-the-wall action broken up by plot and backstory. Except unlike the Bourne series Captain America: The Winter Soldier has, well, the mysterious Winter Soldier on their tail, too.
I say “mysterious” but if anyone doesn’t know who is who are you? The number of people in the theatre at the early screening Therese and I attended was kind of astounding.
Honestly, though, there wasn’t nearly enough of him.
For a film called The Winter Soldier I could have done with a bit more Winter Soldiering is all I’m saying. Especially because the character is going to have a much more far reaching impact on the Captain America brand down the line. I mean, there was tons of him in it. I just have a thing for Sebastian Stan. So, you know, if he’s not in ever waking moment of my life I’m disappointed. Prepare yourself for the outpouring of #feels in his scenes with Steve, too. I just wanted to cry all the tears.
That said, I also would have liked to have seen more of Emily Vancamp’s Agent 13 but I suppose we’ll hopefully see more of her, too, later in the series.
One of the truly great things that The Winter Soldier does give us is some real Black Widow character development. One of the few Avengers at the moment who hasn’t had a movie of their own we are forced to rely on seeing Natasha in her role as the perpetual secondary character. This movie brings he much more front and center than either Iron Man 2 or even the Avengers. She and Steve have a budding relationship that at last shows us more of who she is than seeing her undercover in Iron Man 2 did. It’s like an extended series of scenes like her more touching moments with Clint. It’s still not much but it’s at least something.
This film also gave us Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson (later designated Falcom) who was pretty much perfect. He’s pretty much what I would expect any one of us to be like if we were just a regular person in the MCU. Steve Rogers wants to be your casual acquaintance? Hell, yeah. Captain America needs your help? Obviously you’re going to do it. Okay, so, maybe he’s way more together than any of us would be like. There’s a scene where Steve’s out in public trying to be all incognito and some little kid recognizes him and is just stunned to silence. Which Steve, you know, encourages by raising a finger to his lips like it’s their little secret.
That would be all of us in the MCU if we ever met Steve Rogers in person. Who am I even kidding?
Like other later entries into Marvel’s individual hero franchises, The Winter Soldier got to really branch out from the Captain America origin story and make a mark of it’s own. With Captain America 3 already on the books it’s nice to see that – unlike the Iron Man series with Iron Man 2 – we’ve so far been spared any sort of slump with this particular property.
It’s going to be fun to see how the ramifications of this film affect the MCU because unlike Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World which remained sort of in their own little worlds The Winter Soldier goes big.
And it honestly couldn’t have been any better.
The Winter Soldier did a great job, too, of reminding us once again that the MCU is one giant, interconnected storyline and that’s here to stay. Characters from the first Captain America film show up in photographs and conversations. The Starks and Stark Industries pop up a few times. Even Bruce Banner gets mentioned at least twice. And OMFG THEY MENTION STEPHEN STRANGE. ONE TIME. WITHOUT EXPLAINING WHO HE IS IN THIS WORLD. It frustrates me to no end. I need to know. (But, seriously, this this one scene – and you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it – with tons of faces moving across the screen and I need to see this movie like twenty times more to see if maybe they didn’t hide an Ant-Man reference in it or something.) Also: watch out for Danny Pudi’s cameo! And, of course, Stan Lee.
I still think I enjoyed Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World better than Captain America: The Winter Soldier but every time I watch it again my opinion starts to change. One or two more times and The Winter Soldier may just be my favorite. We’ll have to wait and see.
But when you do go see it do yourself a favor: wait until the VERY end. There are two after-credits scenes and you don’t want to miss either.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was really everything I hoped it would be. It was fun and action packed. There wasn’t a boring moment in the whole freakin’ movie and there were very, very few things I could nitpick about. It did a great job of introducing us to Bucky as the Winter Soldier and set the stage for future character development. Anthony Mackie was fantastic and it was great to see a lot of the returning characters.
But really, for me, one of the best things about the film was the MCU continuity and that reminder that everything is connected. See this movie. Seriously. This weekend if you can. Because you’re going to enjoy it so much. And if you don’t you can blame me for making you waste $10! But, really, you won’t be disappointed. The cast and story are phenomenal. This is Marvel at it’s best, folks.
If you saw my latest recap of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, you know that the latest episode drove me to drinking just for how intense and stressful it was. In a good way, of course. After seeing The Winter Soldier, I felt like I needed a bigger flask. Not just to help me deal with the movie, but for what’s going to happen for everyone in the next six weeks. Turn, turn, turn indeed. I’ll cover this all in my article. For now, it’s fair to say that The Winter Soldier is definitely one of the most suspenseful, action-packed movies I’ve seen in a while.
Whether you’re emotionally invested in the MCU or a casual watcher, the movie delivers on action and character development on all fronts. Like Sam, I wish there had been more of the actual Winter Soldier, but at least there is a door open for more of the character in the future. Which is exciting because Sebastian Stan was acting the hell out of this movie.
And so was Anthony Mackie. Oh my God, from the first five minutes to the last frame of the film, I was in total love with Sam Wilson. I’m campaigning for a solo Falcon feature post-Captain America 3 right now just so I can get a whole movie of Falcon awesomeness. This movie may be the reason I will not be emotionally stable in terms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe until Guardians of the Galaxy, but oh man, is it worth the money.
Oh, and one final note: IF CLINT BARTON’S EXCUSE FOR BEING AWAY DURING ALL OF THIS DOESN’T INVOLVE PIZZA DOG, IT WILL BE COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.