It’s official: summer has come early this year. The snow hasn’t completely melted and spring is not even two weeks underway yet thanks to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, the summer movie season has begun and we can all feel a little bit warmer (which is ironic, seeing as the film has the word ‘winter’ in the title…).
Once again starring Chris Evans as the man in red, white and blue spandex, this sequel follows Captain America trying to adjust to the present day. When a new enemy known only as the Winter Soldier poses a threat to the world, the Cap teams up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johanson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to save the day. Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo direct.
The first “Captain America” film was alright, although it was certainly the weakest entry of the initial Marvel Avenger films. And after the fun “Iron Man 3” and the disappointing (and forced) “Thor 2”, it really was anyone’s guess as to how this “America” sequel would be. What we end up getting is an immensely entertaining popcorn flick that is the best Avenger movie since the original “Iron Man”.
There are just so many things that “Winter Soldier” does right. First things first, the action is well-shot. The film uses wide-shots instead of the close-ups that hinder many PG-13 action films, making the action clear and comprehensible. The Russo brothers seemed to be an interesting choice to direct a big budget superhero film as they’re known for directing TV comedies like “Arrested Development” and “Community”, but the two have a steady hand with the gunplay sequences, and keep things moving at a solid pace when the guns aren’t going off.
When the film isn’t being an entertaining action film, it is a very well-done political thriller. There are numerous whodunit moments, and it keeps you guessing for a while. Much like Captain America you are not sure who to trust or who may be behind the plot. Film legend Robert Redford steps in to play the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D, and he brilliantly blends taking the role seriously while at the same time knowing he is in a comic book movie, so he hams it up just a tad. It is a solid performance that gives the film some real credibility.
The one thing I can think to knock “Winter Soldier” for is that it does feel a bit overlong; let’s just say it won’t be taking home the Oscar for best editing. That doesn’t mean the film is ever boring, it just feels like it could have been about 15 minutes shorter. But hey, as Samuel L. Jackson says in the movie, we don’t live in a perfect world.
I loved most every minute of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. It is made for comic book fans and casual moviegoers alike. Do you love gun battles? Good, see this movie! Do you enjoy superhero fist fights? Good, see this movie! Are you a fan of intense political thrillers? Good, see this movie (I can’t help but think of that DiCaprio “Wolf of Wall Street” speech as I just reread that).
Critics Rating: 9/10