Review: Captain America – The Winter Soldier
Marvel’s Star-Spangled Avenger keert terug… en hij is niet alleen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Lees hier de Brainfreeze-review, de eerste ter wereld!
Chris Evans is picking up the mighty shield of Marvel‘s Star-Spangled Avenger for the third time in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the sequel to both Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012) and the ninth movie overall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the first time a Marvel Studios film shares the title of a well-known storyline from the comics. The Winter Soldier saga (2005) is hailed as a modern classic and must-read Captain America-story. How will this adaptation directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (You, Me and Dupree) fare?
Two years after the battle of New York as shown in The Avengers, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Evans) is living quietly in Washington, D.C. and running several missions for S.H.I.E.L.D., together with – amongst others – fellow Avenger Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Steve’s personal life isn’t easy. He is, after all, a man out of time trying to cope with the modern world, S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets and the fact that the battle between good and evil isn’t as black and white as in his World War II days. Things do not get any easier when the corruption within S.H.I.E.L.D. is threatening to tear the defense organisation asunder. No one can be trusted, attempts are even made on director Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) life and a mysterious enemy known only as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) enters the scene. An enemy that, however, has a connection to Cap…
Captain America: The Winter Soldier certainly isn’t a direct adaptation of the comic, but it does hit all the right spots that made the story such a success. Very similar to the modern Captain America-comics, and certainly those written by Ed Brubaker, the movie is a mix between a political spy thriller and a superhero blockbuster. The plot is quite ingenious, but the movie perhaps runs a tad too long. It’s great though that the movie spends a lot of time on Steve Rogers’ personal life. In The Avengers several of those scenes were cut, but here we can really feel for Cap when he has to catch up on 70 years of history. Certainly is a very powerful scene between Steve and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), who by now has lived a full life and now sadly suffers from dementia.
The on-screen chemistry between the classic Captain America (Evans) and the more modern, ruthless and pragmatic Black Widow (Johansson) is great. Same goes for Evans and Sam Jackson as a much more vulnerable, yet therefore not less dangerous or secretive Nick Fury. The new hero on the scene is Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon (Anthony Mackie). It’s great to see Captain America move and fight, yet it’s probably the Falcon that gets the best action sequences in this movie. Mackie delivers a solid performance as Cap’s partner and one of the very first Afro-American superheroes in history. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for Emily VanCamp als Agent 13/Sharon Carter. Her character doesn’t get to do much here, despite playing a large role in Cap’s life in the comics.
Captain America villains galore in this sequel. HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola returns in a short cameo that will certainly please fans of the comic incarnation of the character. S.H.I.E.L.D.-agent Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) undergoes his transformation to Crossbones and we also get a short performance by Batroc the (not so quite) Leaper. Robert Redford is clearly having fun with his role as the corrupt Alexander Pierce, a member of the World Security Council.
The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) himself doesn’t get that much screen time at first and the movie takes its sweet time revealing who he really is, but the constant threat eminating from him is truly a sight to behold. His origin story may have changed slightly, yet fits better in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More screen time and character development would have been nice, but it’s great to see the Winter Soldier on screen in such a faithful adaptation. His story is definitely not over yet.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is probably the most serious and dark Marvel movie yet. There aren’t that many jokes flying around and most of the one-liners you already know from the trailers. The movie is, however, one of the most down-to-earth, character driven and realistic Marvel films. Of course, there’s a lot of action, but the movie isn’t an action-packed rollercoaster like The Avengers-, Iron Man- or Thor-movies. The great spectacle is reserved for the third act (not one, not two, but three S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers above the Triskelion, for instance). The other action scenes are more down-to-earth in the vein of classic action flicks. They’re still a lot of fun to see though, although the shaky cam isn’t always welcomed.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the most direct sequel to The Avengers and the most direct prequel to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s this movie that drives the Marvel movie universe forwards. There’s also a lot namedropping going on, from Iron Man to Hulk to even Dr. Strange. Also, be on the look-out for a funny reference to Sam Jackson’s role in Pulp Fiction.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier may be a lot more serious and slower moving than the previous Marvel films, the well-balanced mix between a political spy thriller and a typical superhero blockbuster and great character pieces make it the best Marvel Studios movie since The Avengers and certainly the highlight of Marvel’s Phase Two so far.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is coming to Belgian theatres on March 26th.
In the Mighty Marvel manner, Captain America: The Winter Soldier contains something extra after the credits. Two post-credits scenes in fact. You can find the description below by clicking the box, but beware of spoilers!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier post-credits scenes
After the fall of both S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA we see Baron Von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) in his underground lair. Loki’s scepter can be found here, as well as two special prisoners: the “twins”. These are of course Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Quicksilver is bouncing from one end in his cell to another while Scarlet Witch is stacking some building blocks with her magic. Watching them, Von Strucker announces “The Age of Miracles” is upon us. And with that we learn that which may very well become the new name for “mutants” in the Marvel movieverse…
The Winter Soldier is visiting the Captain America exhibit in the Smithsonian museum. Here he finds the information on James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, his real name. It appears the Winter Soldier now definitely knows who he really was, what HYDRA did to him and remembers that Captain America spoke the truth about him during their several confrontations in the movie.