As a follow up to my Frozen review, I thought it made sense to continue in that vein and review another Disney film! I mean, ol’ Cap is a Marvel character, but with Disney’s acquisition of Marvel back in 2009 it’s fun to joke. Plus, Cap’ was frozen for a cool minute, so I’m calling this a logical next step. I’m a huge fan of comic books, and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a big fanboy for Marvel Comics. Marvel has had a crazy successful run with their relatively new studio and their equally new cinematic universe. Phase One of putting this universe together was beautifully done, kicking off with Iron Man in 2008. Now, in Phase Two, Marvel is swiftly moving toward an even more ambitious project than before with Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I will say that I’ve felt Phase Two has been off to a rocky start. While Iron Man 3 was a fun ride and a good film, it had its fair share of problems. Thor 2 was enjoyable, but I regretfully have to say that was mostly because of Loki. Overall, the second installment in the Thor franchise was pretty forgettable. I’ve never been a big fan of Captain America, but I’ve understood his importance in the Marvel universe. The first film to showcase the hero was a good period piece war film, but was also quite forgettable. The same cannot be said for its sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This movie was intense from the beginning, and carried that intensity most of the way through this two-hour-and-fifteen-minute movie.
Unlike the first Captain America film, The Winter Soldier puts Cap’ in 2014. Instead of battling Nazis with magical abilities, he’s up against an even scarier enemy: the American government. Captain America discovers that the stars and stripes he’s sworn to protect might not have the best interest of their people in mind after all. Without going into too much detail, part of the reason this movie works so well is that the threat is one that we can relate to. We all know that our government keeps secrets and sometimes acts in ways that scare us. A power that big can be frightening at times, and that’s exemplified in this film. The Winter Soldier is a superhero film, but it is also an espionage film with the thrill of a suspenseful chase.
Before I get too entrenched in praising this film, I will say that it was not without its problems. The Winter Soldier is an ambitious film, with a few grand plot lines that become a bit muddled together in the last half of the film. Some intriguing plot lines, such as those dealing with PTSD and an old flame of Cap’s, get dropped in favor of the big action oriented story lines. The film also begins with a quick pace, then slows down a bit toward the middle. This middle portion still held my interest, though, so I can’t really complain too much.
The acting in the film was good for the most part, with Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon) being the standouts. Chris Evans portrayed Captain America in a way that will please fans of the comics, while Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow was more likable than in previous films. Sebastian Stan had very little screen time as the eponymous Winter Soldier, though his moments in the film tended to be captivating and quite intense.
Full of great comic book moments, great action flick scenes, and some awesome easter eggs, Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed that Marvel is finally getting their footing in the Phase Two of their massive cinematic universe. With Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, we can only hope Marvel can hold onto this momentum.
P.S. The scene with the weird A.I. threw me off a bit. It just seemed kind of out of place. Anyone else agree? Let me know in the comments!