Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America might not be the most flashy superhero on paper, but he delivers the most grounded and intense Marvel movie yet.

August 19 2014

By Matthew Whitesides


To celebrate the Release of Cap 2 on Digital/Blu Ray it obviously needed to be revisited. Surprisingly I was even more impressed the second time around.

Captain America/Steve Rogers is an interesting character in the superhero world, like Superman his distinctive character traits revolve around being serious and moral. On top of the he has the least "power" in his super powers, merely being increased strength and toughness.This could come off as boring when compared to the likes of Tony Stark or the more recent Guardians of the Galaxy cast. Where Cap 2 finds its voice however is not in trying to hide these things but embrace them fully by combining a fun spy thriller with brutal action scenes.

All these people are dead not knocked out.

Cap 2 is a very different movie than the first, the cartoony and stylish 50's era themes have been replaced with cold dark settings of the 2000's (sick burn). We meet back up with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans of Fantastic Four fame) where after the events of The Avengers he is back in service of the CIA/SHIELD helping out in standard black ops missions. This first mission shows just how badass Cap can be, savagely taking out pirates on a ship with ruthless efficiency he shoots, stabs and shields without any hesitation. It's really cool and extremely well choreographed giving fights that no other Marvel hero can give. Unlike Iron Man, Thor, Hulk ... ect Cap actually fights like a human and that gives the action direction freedom to make believable fights with real humans actually holding their own. Also this scene shows another running theme in the action and thats efficiency. As you would expect people would do in real life all their movements seem like they are for a purpose and strikes a good balance between looking cool on camera and getting the job done.

"Unlike Iron Man, Thor, Hulk ... ect Cap actually fights like a human"

Even compared to The Avengers I would probably say out of any Marvel movie this one actually has the most "action" in it. Building from a more realistic smaller scale car chase featuring Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson of Jumper fame) that would fit right in with the likes of The Dark Knight films. To the over the top climax featuring hundreds of soldiers and flying aircraft carriers falling crashing into Washington DC. The "villain" (whoa those quotes are kinda spoilers) holds true to the themes as well. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan of Hot Tub Time Machine fame) is a largely voiceless killing machine that doesn't know or care who Captain America is, to him he is just another person in his way and doesn't stop to give a speech or waste time he just starts shooting. Also to boot he sports pretty sweet knife skillz.

"We got this Tony, you just stay home."

Of course what makes this a Marvel movie is more the fun and comedic side of things, and Cap 2 delivers just as much on that end as well. There are very fun moments featuring Falcon (Anthony Mackie of 8 Mile fame) banter and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson of Ryan Reynolds fame) at a Mac store. These moments are broken up well by political thriller fare and some pretty neat revelations about the greater universe they are in (you would think people would be all kumbaya after the aliens). Frank Grillo also stands out as a cool character doing what he does best as a badass special forces guy. 

Nothing is perfect of course and there are some oddities in the film. Some of the events that happen are obvious bait and switch stuff that would play fine in a stand alone film but knowing that this is part of a larger whole makes it a bit redundant. Like all movies you could nit pick at the plan they have for the final attack as it has some Star Trek like tech, and odd design choices in building these trillion dollar super ships. Can't be too overly critical though because it works for the film and stays believable.

Cap 2 stands up as one of my favorite superhero films of recent memory, combining the fun of the Marvel universe with intense practical action set pieces. A bit part is due to the fact that Chris Evans makes what could be a dull character fun. Just knowing that the actor playing Cap is probably not nearly as serious and stern makes the humorous parts seem earned. Disney is doing a great job of keeping the quality high with no signs of letting up.

This looks like a dark comic...