The first Captain America left audiences wanting, not telling a complete story and only serving as setup for the Avengers. The Winter Soldier had a lot to prove. Expectations for this was high. Aside from taking the name of one of the most popular Cap stories, this promised to move the universe forward in incredible ways while introducing new characters and fleshing out others. Marvel has succeed on all fronts, not only producing one of the best Cap movies, but Marvel movies to date. Note: Lite Spoilers
There is a lot happening in this movie, and surprisingly, it all works. We’ve seen from failures like Batman & Robin and Spider-Man 3 that less is more. The amount of characters and villains jammed into this subverts expectation while deftly keeping all the characters in play. Nearly a dozen Marvel mainstays make an appearance, either playing pivotal roles in the current conflict or being setup for future use. This is just as much a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie as it is a Captain America one.
Each performance was solid, embodying the characters as they’ve been represented in the comics. Anthony Mackie was a great addition as Sam Wilson (Falcon) while Scarlett Johanssen had her best turn as Black Widow. She showed off every aspect of the character, a smart, sexy woman, who is always outnumbered, but never outgunned. Marvel has said that she’s given enough setup in this movie to possibly have her own feature. That was readily apparent. Sam Jackson was his typical self as Nick Fury. The turns toward the end (which, duh) were fun, but there’s one particular moment at the end that screams Nick Fury. Well done all around. Chris Evans was Steve Rogers. What else needs to be said at this point?
There was some apprehension hearing UFC fighter George St. Pierre was cast as Batroc the Leaper. Fighters/wrestlers typically can’t act and Batroc has always a joke in the books. Surprisingly, GSP had a solid, though mostly silent, performance, and Batroc looked credible. Hearing Steve’s neighbor introduce herself as Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) was exciting (she’ Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter’s niece). She was given little to do, but that wasn’t a detraction. Her introduction here will surely pay off in later films. The best addition, aside from the surprise villain cameo (he’ll be back), was Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo). He’ll become a mercenary known as Crossbones, the man who killed Cap after Civil War. Robert Redford was a smart and fantastic addition. Marvel is smartly casting well known actors in smaller, but pivotal rolls. Redford’s performance has me excited for other such rolls in the future. While I didn’t care for Sebastian Stan as Bucky in the first Cap, he’s perfectly embodied the Winter Soldier.
Seeing S.H.I.E.L.D. fall was disheartening, but necessary. Sitwell’s betrayal in particular struck a cord. I enjoyed his character, but I suppose this explains his absence from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. Speaking of which, what does this mean for the show? Producers have said it will continue with the group acting as an independent cell, but that would explain why they’ve been spinning their gears all season.
Far and away the shining point of the film was the action sequences, easy to follow and smartly choreographed. Advertisers have barraged the public with clips highlighting these and rightfully so. They only get better. My only complaint is some of the green screen work, most of it stuck out sorely. For example, when Cap leaves Pierce’s office waiting for the elevator. One of a few moments that stuck out poorly amidst the other high points.
I do have a few questions. With this being such a S.H.I.E.L.D. oriented story, there were some things oddly missing. Where was Hawkeye? Not a mention? Hopefully something will be said in Avengers 2, like he quit beforehand. While the other films have done well without Clark Gregg’s Coulson, his presence was sorely missed here. Also, with such dire straights, why didn’t Cap call Tony? I understand these reasons logistically, but still, the unreasonable fanboy in me wants more, like a Doctor. Strange movie! (You know it’s coming).
Captain America: The Winter Soldier successfully tells a complete story while creating ramifications for the entire Marvel movie line. This has made me more excited for the future of Marvel. Also, how about that end tag?
What was your favorite inclusion? Miss Hawkeye or Coulson? Comment below!
I want to pause on the names the computer was targeting when the disc is released.