Movie Review #777: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ deftly blends political commentary, dry humor, and amazing action scenes into one awesome movie.
By Red Stewart
|Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi|
|Rated PG-13 (contains sci-fi violence)|
Those of you who read my review of the first “Captain America” will know that my biggest problem with it was that it was trying to be something that isn’t relevant to this day; pulp fiction. In a time where the standard for World War II films has been set by the German “Das Boot”, Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”, and Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima”, “Captain America” felt dated and somewhat cheesy.
Now here is the film’s sequel, taking place approximately two years after the events of the Avengers, and headed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo. Steve Rogers has fully joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and works closely with the Black Widow and Nick Fury on various missions. During their latest one, Rogers discovers that Fury has been secretly tasking Widow to extract data from their targets, which soon leads to Fury revealing that he has grown suspicious with the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D’s management. When Fury is assaulted by a covert assassin known as the Winter Soldier, Rogers teams up with Widow and former pararescueman Sam Wilson to find out what exactly had Fury on the edge.
The Russo Brothers (or whoever is in charge of management) have learned from the mistakes of Johnston’s prequel and brought the hero up to speed in line with Christopher Nolan’s legacy of requiring modern superhero flicks to be realistic for critical success. Through a well-written script, “Captain America 2” touches upon many modern themes that haunt us every day, such as how much power we’re willing to give national security to secure our freedoms. It also does a surprisingly good job of tying back to events from “The First Avenger”, and the Russo Brothers pace everything nicely.
The cast remains phenomenal, with good chemistry flowing between both old and new additions. I was particularly impressed by Anthony Mackie, who brings a great amount of energy to the relatively unknown Falcon from the comics. Sam Jackson also gets a strong boost from his usual supporting roles in the previous MCU films, and he makes the most out of it.
I’ve long held a complaint that all Marvel films since the first “Iron Man” have been lackluster due to their need to have forced comedy and make up their own mythology rather than follow what’s written in the comics. “Captain America 2”, while avoiding most of the pitfalls of its predecessors, still contained some scenes that felt out of place, and it does mess with the flow of the film.
That is the only major complaint I can come up with though. After being disappointed with much of the MCU, here is a movie that returns back to the roots that made the first “Iron Man” a sleeper hit. I highly recommend you see it. ✴