Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Film Pulse Score: 8.5/10
With nine films under their belt, one would think the momentum of Marvel Studios would be slowing down soon, however their latest entry, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, shows no evidence of that whatsoever. Part political thriller part visceral action fest, Marvel has once again set the bar very high for comic book movies in what could be their best offering yet.
America’s favorite 95-year-old hero is back and better than ever with Chris Evans reprising his role as Captain America. Also in this entry we have the return of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in a much meatier role and of course it wouldn’t be a Marvel film without Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. This film introduces Anthony Mackie as Falcon, the newest hero to join the Marvel cinematic canon, and while he may seem like a downgraded version of Iron Man, he adds more personality to the group and is a welcome addition.
The Winter Soldier brings the series from the war bond selling Americana loving ‘40s to a modern time where our freedom is being compromised by the very government that is sworn to protect it. The bleak tone acts as an exaggerated Orwellian-style reality much like our own, and travels very closely to the Civil War storyline in the comic books. Captain America is torn between his devotion to his country and the slightly immoral methods that S.H.I.E.L.D is using to protect its people.
The film begins with an incredibly awesome action scene involving a rescue operation on a large shipping vessel. This scene sets the stage for what will be an almost non-stop series of action set pieces, each more elaborate than the previous. Normally, this much action crammed into a film that runs just under two and half hours would become tiresome, but the intriguing political aspect and the extremely fun story keep things moving at a rewarding and breakneck pace.
For a moment, I believed that Marvel has finally made a comic book movie that doesn’t involve leveling an entire city, and for the most part that’s true, however things get fairly grandiose by the finale. Other than this scene, the action is fairly contained and extremely well done. Cap is a bigger badass than ever in this film, and watching him fight the baddies instantly makes me turn into a giggling twelve year old. The overused shaky cam proves to be daunting however, especially if you’re watching it in 3D at the IMAX.
Aside from a few quibbles about certain uses of CG and some slightly cheesy moments, Captain America: The Winter Solider is an extremely fun ride that outshines the original in nearly every regard. It’s a near perfect blending of action and political thriller, with plenty of comedic relief injected for good measure. Someday Marvel may have a misstep in their lineup, but if this is any indication, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.