Thankfully, The Winter Soldier seemed to fix a lot of the problems that I had with the first one. It definitely looked a lot "darker" than the first movie, and like it was riding the momentum that had been established since The Avengers dropped. However, I didn't want to become too excited. After all, I remember going into Iron Man 3 expecting to see something somewhere near as enjoyable as the first one, and instead, they delivered something that was barely on-par with the second. I eased up when I was in the theater, and I can definitely say that it's an improvement over Iron Man 3.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a 2014 American superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film serves as a sequel to 2011's Captain America film, and is the ninth installment in the franchise. It was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, other-wise known for their directing work on television shows like Arrested Development. The film stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Similar to Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, it works off various aftermaths established in The Avengers film, and unlike both other films, it does so with the help of Black Widow and Nick Fury. The story takes place two years after The Avengers, and Steve Rogers works in Washing D.C. for S.H.I.E.L.D. Meanwhile, he continues to adjust to his new living situation in contemporary society. Soon, a Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier starts appearing throughout and causing trouble and it is apparent that the character is an important figure in Captain America's past. This, along with conspiracies, propaganda, and plotting from governmental agencies help set the stage for the rest of the film.
Everything felt like an improvement over the first movie. For starters, the story definitely had a lot more ambition. It felt more like a sequel to The Avengers than either Iron Man 3 or Thor 2. All three of them carry off from the aftermath of what happened in New York, but Captain America has everybody else in the universe more involved. It feels like a movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, and not a standalone movie for the character. This could have either been hit or miss, depending on where they wanted to go with the film, but I ended up liking the results. The film brings elements of terrorism and fear into the mix in a way that hasn't been seen since The Dark Knight.
Although, comparing it to the Nolan film isn't the best comparison.
There are moments of tragedy and emotion, but it definitely feels like a Marvel film. I think it can easily be compared to the first Iron Man film. It has serious elements, but it doesn't feel like something that I would call a "dark" film. It doesn't feel like I am watching a superhero film, and the development of the characters is at an immense amount, meanwhile, computer-generated imagery takes a backseat to more hard-driving action.
The Winter Soldier's appearance is what made me want to see this movie. Ultimately, I was disappointed with his character. He brought a presence with him when he was on the screen, but similar to Godzilla (2014) when they brought him out, it always felt like it was supposed to be a culmination of all this suspense. And I find myself thinking, "Suspenseful music? I saw you five minutes ago!"
I also wish that he wouldn't have said anything throughout the movie except for one particular line. Every other time he spoke, like when Cap recognized him, it just felt weird.
The chemistry between Chris Evans and Scarlet Johanson is there. And Samuel L. Jackson does his best with the Nick Fury character yet in this film. It has a lot more ambition than I ever would have expected out of it. A lot of larger than life feelings toward the end leave it on a very strong cliffhanger. While I think it might have started to lose steam toward the end, (it all became a little too much. Good, but excessive and sporadic) Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a very entertaining movie. I would probably say that it's my third favorite movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind Iron Man and The Avengers, and in-front of Thor: The Dark World. If you have the opportunity to pick this one up on disk, I think that it is a worthy one to have in your collection.
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Rating: Very Good