Chris Evans and Scarlet Johansson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America is back in the title character’s second standalone film: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And I was surprised to see that this wasn’t a movie built off of the events that transpired in The Avengers. Iron Man 3 almost constantly brought up the events that happened in New York. This film, however, is unaffected by the events in that film. It stands on its own with its own story. It actually follows the story of the first Captain America film. But I ended up not being a huge fan of that one, mostly because of the abrupt and sped-up ending they produced in order to set things up for The Avengers. But how does this film compare to the first one?
So the story is set up with a first mission where Captain America Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) teams up with a S.H.I.E.L.D. strike team and Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) have to infiltrate a ship to rescue hostages and gather intel. This all sets up the main story, which is that Captain America is deemed a fugitive of SHIELD after an attack on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson); while being attacked by an immensely strong assassin, known as the Winter Soldier. Now this story doesn’t sound too extraordinary, but it really is. There is a lot going on in this movie and it never slows down.
They continue the story from the first movie with addressing the group known as “Hydra”. It deals with Rogers’ struggles to live in this modern world. There are a few twists and turns in this movie and it has you on the edge of your seat the whole way. A couple things that are done really well in this movie are the use of the secondary characters, and the acting all around. This is Captain America’s movie but it doesn’t stop Black Widow, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), and rookie Agent 13 (Emily Van Camp) from playing their parts. They aren’t just in the background. It is almost the exact opposite of Iron Man 2; the secondary female characters don’t feel thrown in. They play their parts in the actual story and actually have things to do. My god, who would’ve thought that was possible.
The acting is phenomenal. The chemistry is great. Chris Evans continues to be an awesome Steve Rogers, which I will admit that I was wrong about before seeing the first movie. I didn’t think he had the chops but I’ve never been happier to admit I was wrong. Scarlet Johansson steps up and is an ultimate badass in this movie. If you didn’t love her before, you will now. She talks more, and kicks even more ass. Her chemistry with Chris Evans is very good. They give her some comedic bits and numerous serious ones as well. And she steps up and crushes them all. The other on-screen duo that have really good chemistry is Chris Evans and newcomer Anthony Mackie, who plays Sam Wilson a.k.a. The Falcon. The supporting actors all do amazing work as well. Frank Grillo and Robert Redford are huge dicks in this movie and they play it well. Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson do great work too. Not much was needed from Emily Van Camp in this movie, but I am confident she will rock it in films to come.
The villain of the movie, the Winter Soldier, is legitimately terrifying. He doesn’t say a word until at least halfway through the movie and it adds to the violent nature of this guy. He is strong and fast like Captain America; he is a true threat who shouldn’t be fucked with. Once his identity is revealed (which I knew ahead of time), things get even better. That moment was awesome, by the way.
The end of the movie surprised me a little bit, with the shape everything and everyone are in. Some awesome things happen and they don’t need to fix them all by the end of the movie because obviously, more movies are going to be coming. But this movie is probably one of the most entertaining Marvel movies I’ve ever seen in the theaters. It doesn’t let up and never gets boring. It never drags. It is badass all the way through. In fact, it may be the best Marvel standalone movie they have made yet, with only the first Iron Man in competition. Also, if you’ve seen a single Marvel movie at all, by now you know to stick around through the end credits; even if you have absolutely no idea what the extra scene means.
Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rogers
Scarlet Johannson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Anthony Mackie as Falcon/Sam Wilson
Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce
Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Emily Van Camp as Agent 13
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Georges St-Pierre as Georges Batroc
Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola
WHAT I LIKED:
+: Fantastic acting performances all around. Everyone really stepped it up to the plate in this one. Chris Evans and Scarlet Johansson really shine.
+: “I’m on your left.” Loved this line. You’ll get it once you see it.
+: Terrifying villain really raises the stakes in this one, and the urgency is handled really well and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride.
+: Great supporting characters with plenty to do. Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, and Emily Van Camp all do extremely well.
+: Chemistry is fantastic between Evans and both Anthony Mackie and Scarlet Johansson.
+: Scarlet Johansson. Enough said. But seriously, she is a badass. Just made me love her more. Seeing a funnier and lighter side to her was a great idea.
+: Robert Redford is a DICK. And he plays it well.
+: Great action and fight scenes. Not a lot of emphasis on CGI and it all works really well.
+: Good story
+: Surprising twists and turns and the way things are left at the end make this an unpredictable and awesome standalone movie.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
-: Umm……I got nothing, guys. Maybe the flashback CGI’d skinny Chris Evans could’ve looked better. MAYBE.