Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Review
Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie plot and review
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘ is the definitive successor of ‘The Avengers’ as it is far superior to ‘Iron Man 3’ or ‘Thor: The Dark World”. As a standalone film, it is one of the finest comic-book films ever crafted as it boasts an intricate plot combined with humour in the midst of stunning action sequences. It’s tone wavers between that of Avengers and the realism of the Dark Knight franchise and thus achieves the perfect tone – necessary humour which is subsumed in the tense, alarming plot. This film in particular gives justice to Captain America and like Robert Downey, Chris Evans embodies this character. This film proves the Marvel franchise is not merely a cash generator, but a franchise which retains the ability to churn out exceptional films.
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ builds upon the pre-existing storyline that the Capt. is very much a man who is incompatible with modern society. This serves to produce some of the best character building seen in a Marvel movie as Steve Rogers is fighting for the future whilst fighting to let go off the past. ‘The Winter Soldier’ is this past that haunts Rogers and the film revolves around Steve’s dilemma. The plot extends beyond this and this is one aspect of the film which only builds on Steve’s character. Fury’s character undergoes progression through the challenges S.H.I.E.L.D. face and so does Black Widow. Without spoiling anything, certain events trigger all the protagonists to question their sense of security. It breaks away from the simplistic plot previously established in Marvel films such as ‘Thor: The Dark World” and the first “Captain America”. I mean to say that the ‘Winter Solider’ ignores the generic formula of their being one villain who controls everything, instead this film’s plot is broader and thus promotes character development. There is still one villain, but like the original ‘Iron Man’ the identity of the villain is mysterious and not black and white. ‘The Winter Soldier’ has the best plot ever encompassed in a Marvel movie, it superior to the plot of ‘The Avenger’s’. This is because the film delves into deep ethical issues which currently plague our society and America. For example, the much debated issue of monitoring individuals and thus restricting freedom is explored in this film. It’s brave of the directer’s to address such a topical issue and it deserves applause. The triumph of this film lies heavily in it’s intricate plot which makes it feel like a political thriller, driven by character development, without losing it’s comic-book nature.
As I said before, it is only up until this film that I truly recognised Chris Evans as the true Captain America. Before this film I didn’t care much about the Capt. and I suggests that this was because of the lacklustre action he was involved in. However, this film embraces the arrogance of the Capt. which is evident in the action and is delightful to watch. What I loved about this film was the use of the Captains signature shield, before this film there wasn’t much emphasis on the Captain’s shield. But this film changed this and turned it into a formidable weapon and it was gratifying to see the full devastation of Steve Rogers on the big screen. The action is not the only thing that made this rendition of the Captain superior to the others. The script for ‘The Winter Soldier’ ranks up amongst the top Marvel films – it allows for humour and essential character development that was missing in the previous Captain America movies. Black Widow was always intriguing, but I felt she was always underplayed – especially in Iron Man 2. However, once again this film changed things. Black Widow drives this film, her witticisms compliment the Captain and the chemistry between both actors is evident. This film warrants an independent Black Widow film that Scarlett Johansson has been lusting over. Surprisingly, Anthony Mackie as the ‘Falcon’ was one of my favourite things about the film. He’s provides witty repertoire with the Capt. and steals some of the action sequences, namely an incredible dogfight with the omnipotent Helicarriers. Bucky, or the ‘Winter Soldier’ is one of the deadliest foes seen in the Marvel universe and he asserts his dominance over the Capt. in some scenes with are truly stunning. The use of ‘shaky cam’ and speedy melee is reminiscent of the style of the ‘Bourne’ movies and served to boast the Winter Soldier’s physical dominance. The ‘Winter Soldier’ establishes Captain America as one of the finest heroes in the Marvel franchise, this presentation of the Capt. is far superior to anything presented before.
What makes this film stand out from other comic book films is its blend of action, humour and realism. Whilst Iron Man 3 was primarily a comedy, this film is primarily a drama overflowing with action that is accompanied by appropriate humour. It never feels lob-sided, it juggles all the tones cohesively and never strays from its storytelling – this is what it excels at.
With this being said, there are some faults with this movie. But perhaps the criticism is applicable to all of the phase two movies that have been released post-Avengers. Aside from the witty one liners, I feel this film neglects the events of the ‘Avengers’. However, this film acknowledges the Avengers more than the other phase two films. Despite this, I still feel that the films should have been linked better. I understand that these are independent movies, but linking everything together with a post-credit scene is lazy and unsatisfying. Furthermore, Marvel have dedicated their films to establishing a universe and therefore to neglect the universe in independent films is rather clumsy. Especially when the world is threatened and no other Avenger intervenes to provide aid – both the sequels to Iron Man, Thor and Captain America suffer from this. It is merely unrealistic to suggest that the other heroes wouldn’t intervene. So there should be a pressing concern for Marvel to provide a more cohesive crossover between the independent films and the Avenger series. Like I said, this is not just a criticism of ‘The Winter Soldier’, but the phase two movies in general. The linking between films needs to stem beyond clumsy one-liners and post-credit sequences.
Overall, this phase two movie does more than the others to link itself back to ‘The Avengers’ and this is promising, but it still needed more. Nevertheless, this could be my favourite Marvel film of all time as the plot is smart and the action is all relevant. Also, the fact that this movie didn’t rely heavily on CGI and opted to employ traditional filming techniques is promising. This film honours the essence of comic-books, a plot which is complimented by action and not the other way round. This is undoubtedly one of the strongest comic book films ever and only after seeing this film did I truly warm to the character of Captain America.