Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Capt. America (Chris Evans), lives in the nation’s capital as he tries to adjust to modern times. An attack on a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague throws Rogers into a web of intrigue that places the whole world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a new ally, the Falcon, Rogers struggles to expose an ever-widening conspiracy, but he and his team soon come up against an unexpected enemy.
Release Date: April 4, 2014 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Fantasy
For years past, and in the years ahead, the characters of The Avengers present themselves in stand-alone character films. There was Iron Man, Thor, the first Captain America, and there will soon be yet another movie for the Hulk. Each individual character film proves necessary for The Avengers franchise as a whole; lending themselves to plotlines that can be later developed or drawn upon for future installments. A grand mistake of sorts has been made with Captain America: The Winter Soldier in that a great deal of change occurs, a shift in the universe all of the characters exist within, and it has been done with a character in the lead that cannot manage the burden of carrying a movie all on his own.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), aka Captain America, finds himself in Captain America: The Winter Soldier living in Washington D.C. post-Avengers and working for S.H.I.E.L.D. He is still the ultimate soldier, a fact proven by his ever-broadening shoulders and capability to run circles around other soldiers, literally–namely, Sam Wilson (Pain & Gain‘s Anthony Mackie), in the beginning of the movie. Subtlety is not a factor in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but the meeting of Rogers and Wilson does prove to be the best part of the movie given the events that transpire later. Captain America’s work at S.H.I.E.L.D. sends him on a mission dealing with pirates, in the modern sense of the word, and to the discovery of sensitive information. It is this information, combined with the antics of a multi-government committee headed by Alexander Pierce (All Is Lost‘s Robert Redford) that wants to deploy gun-laden air ships to protect society, that everything changes for Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D., and everyone else that makes an appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier from previous franchise films. There is one new face you will not soon forget, and it all dates back to the Captain’s days battling the Nazi’s. The Winter Soldier is the new villain, a shy choice as besides being a great shot and worthy adversary there is little to The Winter Soldier other than a very cool metal arm. His back story does get your interest peaked on multiple levels as it will influence Captain America’s choices on the battlefield, as well as the resurgence of Hydra. Oh yes, Hydra is back–in case you were worried that future Avengers movies would never feature Hydra again. The desire to yawn at the development in the story wherein Hydra reappears is completely allowable should you have been hoping for a more unique story to develop for the next Avengers movie from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There is hope since Hydra is taken to a new modern level in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but one scene featuring a “hail” will have you cringing at the lack of evolution with Hydra.
Amidst the plotline of Captain America vs. The Winter Soldier, there is the burden of watching Steve Rogers reconcile his fate; a recurring theme for the character as a man lost in the future still grasping to the past. Rogers is consistently brooding, forlorn, and downright apathetic. As Captain America he is root worthy in a fight; as the man behind the mask he is nothing more than solemnly pathetic. The time has come for Rogers to let go of his past and realize he has been given the opportunity for a future. The minutes spent in Captain America: The Winter Soldier allowing Rogers to sulk and/or reminisce comprise of far too many. Each character deserves a backstory, but one that continues to plague a character without any sign of relief, of acceptance and letting go, is simply torturous for the viewer who solely wants to revel in the excitement that is, or could be, Captain America. Every hero has his demons, Captain America looks like he is about to cry far too often–a trait unsuitable for the ultimate soldier.
As Captain America: The Winter Soldier fumbles between being a superhero action movie and woe-is-me character piece, it is peppered with entertainment. Nick Fury has a very large part in the story, and one scene in particular involving a heavily armored car and ambush will surely excite. The new character Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon, is a dream come true for fans of the average man becoming grand. Watching him fly through the air on his mechanical wings is the greatest highlight of the entire movie. He even gives hope to Steve Rogers developing a personality as their chemistry together promises greatness in the future. The greater story, where everything you know comes crashing resulting in a fury of change does have its merits. S.H.I.E.L.D. will never be the same, and the future is a huge question mark after all is revealed in the movie. The downside is that Captain America is the one leading the charge. He is not strong enough as a character to guide a viewer through the massive changes, revelations, and foreboding the film presents. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a middle piece of the puzzle that will become The Avengers sequel. It does not stand on its own because it is littered with subplots involving other characters, and a lead character that cannot reconcile himself let alone world change. Captain America: The Winter Soldier may not be the best movie to come of out of the Avengers universe but it is an adequate action flick. It’s main fault is giving the least interesting character, the weak link in the franchise, a great deal of material at which to influence the future. The future holds promise, so long as the rest of the Avengers are there to help carry the load.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier may fumble along the way of plotlines but it definitely provides plenty of action. Captain America has become quite good with his shield, and many of the action-fight scenes display as much. Combining his knack for running, fighting with his shield, and more hand-to-hand fighting skills make for great action pieces within the movie. The action is not only left for Captain America. Black Widow gets her hands dirty, too. The highlight of the action scenes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes at the end. The final battle, albeit not very original as it is a battle against a large floating ship that consistently looks very familiar to a host of other movies climactic moments, but there is one thing Captain America: The Winter Soldier has that no other movie has had before: The Falcon. Anthony Mackie’s The Falcon is the standout in the final battle scene simply because his attached wings are incredible to behold. He has to manipulate his body to fly with them, and they adjust depending on what he is doing. The shear genius in the creation of his wings, the small intricacies that exist, are worth the price of admission alone to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Explosions, fist fights, gun fire, epic disaster moments–they are all inside of Captain America: The Winter Soldier; if you go simply for the action, you’ll find little that disappoint’s.
To compare the provided humor in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the other individual character-driven movies of The Avengers feels unfair, albeit necessary. Iron Man, Thor, and The Avengers, were each bursting with comedic flare. The banter between characters of The Avengers gave way to plenty of laughs. Thor had an undeniable campy humor mingled with the fish-out-of-water motif that provided comedic instances throughout the film; the sequel did not fare as well. Captain America: The Winter Soldier tries desperately to be funny–to the point of embarrassment. Captain America, the character, is not a born comedian. His brooding and lack of personality makes sure of that. There are plenty of instances in the film wherein he tries to deliver a line soaked in sarcasm, begging to be absorbed by the viewer as a light comedic moment. These moments fail, time and again.
The exercise in trying to make Captain America: The Winter Soldier funny does not stop with the Captain. Black Widow and Nick Fury are also chosen to try and muster their way through poorly written jokes and cartoonish circumstances. Fury fares better, solely because of the manner in which Samuel L. Jackson can provide inflection to a line of stale, manufactured dialogue. Jackson has a habit in films of taking what would normally be seen as a serious line of dialogue and adding a certain panache to the delivery that gives way to laughter. That skill comes in handy in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Black Widow could not be further from having this capability. Her existence in the movie appears to be solely to suggest dating prospects for the Captain. These scenes, just like the host of others in the film, fail miserably at being anything more than a crutch at which to give these two characters something to talk about. What could be construed as fun banter between friends is instead seen as a pathetic device to grow something of a romantic comedy in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is neither romantic, or comedic. Perhaps if Black Widow or Captain America smiled once in a while we, as viewers, may feel the need to do so also. It is not meant to be, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier concludes as being a stiff action picture lacking in any of the comedic sensibilities of other movies in the same universe.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Anthony Russo
- Screenwriter(s): Christopher MarkusStephen McFeely
- Cast: Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America)Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow)Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill)Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark)Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter)Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce)Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow/Crossbones)Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/The Falcon)
- Editor(s): Jeffrey Ford
- Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Henry Jackman
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA