Captain America and Winter Soldier Kick it in Cleveland (Movie Review)

Captain America Winter Soldier RetroLet’s be honest with each other.  Both Marvel and DC have their hands filled with tackling tricky properties on the big screen and showing off big, bold and ambitious new worlds to us all.  You would think on paper Captain America would be an easy property to formulaically develop proper, but you’d be wrong.  Captain America represents all things…well…American.  That kind of patriotism can bite you in the…um…foot when your biggest box office draw is the international audiences, don’t you think?  However, despite my past negative feelings on Captain America: The First Avenger, it was a huge success for Marvel and a springboard into something so much bigger…the onscreen debut of The Avengers.  Chris Evans came in, obviously reluctantly at first, and breathed much needed life and charisma into the star-spangled crusader and craftily Marvel wove the character into their already developed formula getting him ready for an even larger presence in The Avengers, which I am thankful for.  They kept the lines of continuity, despite the time shifts, very tight and harmonious in the new cinematic galaxy they began carving out with the first Iron Man film.

So sitting through this latest Phase 2 entry, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, kind of feels like a homecoming to me with all the numerous Cleveland, OH area backdrops.  Truth be told, it actually makes me miss the city and yearn for my August homecoming this year.  You never thought you would hear me say that, huh?  However, I digress.  Let’s get down to business here and announce all the major players so we can get that out of the way and talk story from here on out.  You’ll see all the familiar faces here again along with some new in this second voyage helmed by directors Joe and Anthony Russo.  The star-studded casts consists of Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Haley Atwell, Samuel L. Jackson and even Robert Redford.

Our story takes place some two years after the events of The Avengers and the Schawarma eating the team all partakes in afterwards.  However, things still are not all rainbows and flowers for Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, who is doing his best to adjust to present day after his long siesta.  He continues to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., but starts to rethink his position on taboo topics such as trust and what the espionage agency he works for real main goal is, invoking fear in people not providing freedom as seen through the Cap’s eyes.  There’s also his lack of a love life (from the girl in accounting…LOL…to the elder Peggy Carter) and his struggles with being an effective leader while wrestling with the moralities of it all especially when you can’t trust anyone.  That makes things hard.  Don’t you think?  And oh yeah!  There’s that pesky bionic lad named The Winter Soldier who kind of looks familiar to the Cap.  Can it be…?  Oh snap!  There will be no spoilers folks!  Don’t tempt me!

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty here.  If the directors’ main goal was that they wanted to make a film in Cap’s world drenched in a 1970’s-style conspiracy thriller tone, then I declare them an indisputable winner!  And what better character to use than Steve Rogers, a man who already has trust issues and is struggling with the ethics of everything going on in this new and confusing modern world?  It’s a perfect backdrop for the character and I couldn’t be happier about the decision to change things up in this gritty world rather than make a big, bright and boring comic book movie like so many have come before.  Heck, even just taking it all in at the press screening and letting the Zimmer-like score (music by Henry Jackman) infuse and wash over me made this film just feel raw and robust with almost hint of a Jason Bourne in-your-face mentality to it all.  What a refreshing take on a comic book tale, huh?  While Marvel may have dabbled with changes and something new in Iron Man 3 (except crafting an original title for it), I think this new direction they took here was not only necessary to reinvigorate things, but quite groundbreaking as well.  These Marvel outings just keep getting better and if all the positive feelings I have about Guardians of the Galaxy are right this summer, Disney is going to be one very valuable stock to own.  You can bank on that!

Without even going into the plot of the film, I think I armed you with enough ammunition to know that you should run, not walk, and get your a$$ into the theater this weekend.  From the massive battles, bumps and bruises fought out in the open streets in my hometown to the espionage thriller of the story about who can you really trust, Captain America: The Winter Solider had me from hello the minute Steve Rogers yelled out on your left while passing by Sam Wilson, aka Falcon (Mackie), along the walking/jogging trail in Washington, DC.  From Robert Redford to Scarlett Johansson’s tight…err fighting moves, the performances were paramount here.  Sure at the end of the day this will always be a comic book movie and not an Oscar drama, but so what?  It excels in so many other ways that all Marvel films are going to have to live up to now and I’m glad to see the Russo brothers returning for a third outing with Cap.  Who needs CG when you have stunt work like this?  The car chase through downtown Cleveland, doubling as Washington, DC, was simply one of the most intense moments so far in a Marvel film and I’m glad it happened in my hometown, if you can’t tell.  Secretly, I miss the place…not the weather…just the place.  You’re going to find flaws with the character of the Winter Soldier, rest assured, but again…so what?  So what if he’s not that integral to the overall story?  He’s still a pretty bad-a$$ henchman to go against the Cap and that’s all that matters here in my opinion.  From beginning to end, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is damn near perfect in my opinion as far as Marvel films go and I’m enthralled to see what lies ahead down the road for the Cap next (never thought I would ever say that after his first solo outing).

Long story short, Captain America: The Winter Soldier tells a tale of ethics, what’s right and what’s wrong in protecting the freedoms of others and by golly…who the hell can you trust in this world.  The one person Nicholas Fury (Jackson) thinks he can trust is Steve Rogers.  But that begs to question.  Who can Steve trust?  Aw!  Now you see how twisted and convoluted things are in Cap’s nightmarish new world.  Can he trust the Black Widow?  Or what about his new jogging friend, the Falcon?  And who is this senior leader in S.H.I.E.L.D., Alexander Pierce, played by Redford?  Why does he look so shady?  Or is that just his poker face he wears like Nick Fury does?  So many questions are here for the plucking and if you notice we haven’t really even scratched the surface with Sebastian Stan’s character, the Winter Soldier, as well as all the other various Marvel universe characters and Easter Eggs you’ll find in this one.  It’s a perfect stepping stone, in my opinion, to propel the story of Steve Rogers forward and obviously will eventually lead to something greater in the upcoming Avengers 2 feature.  Until then, make sure you get your butt to the theater and take in one of this year’s best action films-to-date.  And of course, stay after the credits.  That’s an order, soldier!

I’m sorry.  I know this poster below isn’t official, but I just couldn’t help myself from using it here.  I lub it!

Captain America Winter Soldier Retro TN


1 Response to “Captain America and Winter Soldier Kick it in Cleveland (Movie Review)”

  1. Serena

    Okay, I literally just got out of this movie and let me just tell you absolutely freaking awesome. I saw it in 3D and I’m not sure if it is a must for this movie, but I do agree with Brian. This is a must see movie!!!