Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Hey guys, I promised you an early review and here it is! Just saw this tonight (Wednesday) and it was amazing, so check out my review, free of any spoilers, but not free of random rants (sorry). P.S. I was up to about 3 writing this, so it's a good thing it's spring break...for me, anyway.

Sequel to the World War II set Captain America: The First Avenger, Winter Soldier brings thrills and espionage to the superhero genre with Cap facing an unknown enemy part of a much larger scheme. Continuing from 2012's blockbuster hit The Avengers, we find Steve Rogers facing a more advanced world of intelligence, where secrets and betrayal hide in all shapes and forms.


Set two years after the events in New York, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) lives in Washington, D.C., working under the command of espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. After S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) becomes a target to unknown assailants, the agency is quickly compromised, forcing Steve and  Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) into hiding. When the truth behind the conspiracy begins to come to light, and a mysterious, highly trained mercenary known as The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is revealed, Steve and Natasha must suit up to face a massive threat to humanity. Aided by Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), code-named "Falcon", Steve must use his wits and strength to take down a brooding scheme, and also face his most fearsome and defining enemy.

As I expected, Cap did not disappoint. Sequel to one of my favorite superhero movies, and continuing from one of my other favorite superhero movies, Winter Soldier was strong enough competition to go up against the top-sellers of The Avengers and even last year's Thor: The Dark World. Exceeding my expectations by a long-shot, Winter Soldier delivered all a movie fan could ever want: Comical characters, explosive action, and just the right amount of conspiracy and espionage to send you back to the 1970's. With an amazing cast of butt-kicking stars, some pretty bad-ass fighting scenes, and a villain to squeal for, Winter Soldier definitely upped the game plan for the massively popular Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Beginning with the smash-hit Iron Man in 2008, and growing ever-so-greatly into something more massive, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is cinema's top money-maker these days. Going from the Armored Avenger himself to green rage monsters and thunder gods of Asgard, the MCU has become one of the most top-billing film franchises on the big screens. With their recent hits, including Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, and of course Winter Soldier, the MCU plans to expand the universe of their films even further, even into the far reaches of outer space. While us fans have only just seen what's going on on Earth and in Asgard, around August of this year, we'll travel to the reaches of space to meet the intergalactic team of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Studios, who still continues to amaze me with their films, does an amazing job at setting up for future films by offering the slightest peek into their next project in their recent films. With Iron Man hinting at an Avengers film back in 2008, and audiences going crazy after the credits of Captain America: The First Avenger, the guys at Marvel never cease to tease their fans with one simple glimpse. With Winter Soldier, Marvel preps fans for their next big project...something called Avengers: Age of Ultron. Without giving anything away, I'll just give the advice to stay after all the end credits for something amazing...and something a little less amazing, but still awesome. Either way, the MCU continues to expand and expand as Marvel teases films from Ant-Man next year to a 3rd Cap film in 2016. I'm guessing next time we'll see Cap is in 2015, facing off against James Spader aka Ultron with an even bigger team than in 2012.

Back to the topic at hand: With a number of trailers and TV spots full of action and fist-to-fist combat, Winter Soldier promised an action-packed thrill-ride. But that is not what you get. What you get, is an explosive, shield-to-the-face hard-hitter with non-stop thrills...yes, there's a difference between the two. From expertly filmed car-chases featuring Nick Fury's indestructible SUV to knife-to-shield fast-paced combat, the action in the film is something indescribable. The thrills never stop as we witness a conspiracy unfold, and a ruthless masked mercenary blow up nearly everything in his path. One of the great things about the film, as it should be, is even more Cap fighting. Taking on baddies from kickboxing leapers to metal-armed mercenaries, Cap has become a more skilled fighter and utilizes his shield more strategically in combat. This makes for good cinema too, Cap kicking ass as the audience cringes and cheers. However, the real action doesn't start until our mysterious villain, The Winter Soldier, appears. Wielding weapons from knifes to grenade-launchers to even Cap's shield, this bad-ass merc isn't one to mess with. The film did amazing on their action scenes, making it appear as real and explosive as possible.

The cast of the film was extraordinary, bringing elements of comedy, drama, and bad-assery to the big screen. Our lead star, Chris Evans, returns as the star-spangled man with a plan, kicking even more ass and still learning about the modern world after 70 years as a Capsicle. Evans, who has played both the Human Torch and Captain America on-screen, is an amazing actor, bringing charisma and fierceness to the role of a strong patriotic leader. His struggle to adjust to the modern world is further discovered in this film, the true intentions of his agency bringing out his societal beliefs on privacy and liberty. Evans delivers another great performance as his faith is tested and he must decide between what is right and what is wrong. Accompanying Evans are his trusty allies: Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, and Sam Wilson, played by newcomer to superhero films Anthony Mackie. Johansson was once again a bad-ass as she kicked ass and flirted her way through every scene. Mackie was a great addition to the cast, bringing in a new funny character and also introducing Falcon to the MCU. I loved Mackie's character, one because he was a funny friend for Cap, and two because the film did an awesome job at revealing him with the code-name "Falcon", giving him a purpose, and one hell of a suit. Of course, the biggest star of the film, besides Cap, was the mysterious Winter Soldier. Played by Sebastian Stan (you may remember who he played in the first Cap), the Winter Soldier (aka that guy from the first one *cough* *cough*) was a complete bad-ass from the very beginning, maybe even more bad-ass than Black Widow, as he shot, blew up, and knifed his way to hunt down Cap. Once Cap finds out that the Winter Soldier is really...(you probably already know, but I'll keep the secret anyway), he struggles to make the right decision in order to get his friend back, and also stay alive. The Winter Soldier was an excellent antagonist, offering the audience a glimpse into his true identity, and being the most bad-ass cover-up for the brooding conspiracy hidden within S.H.I.E.L.D. The rest of the cast, from the incomparable Sam L. Jackson to the legendary Robert Redford, was fantastic as ever and did not disappoint in the slightest. The best surprises in the film were the reprising of First Avenger cast like Toby Jones and Hayley Atwell, as well as Maria Hill aka Aunt Robin aka Cobie Smulders from Avengers. 

Overall, Winter Soldier definitely beat out its predecessor and may have even beaten out The Avengers (but maybe not). The film was an action-packed, fun-filled, squeal-inducing thrill-ride of epic proportions...and no, I am not over-exaggerating that. Any Marvel fan, comic fan, thriller fan, Scarlett Johansson fan, explosion fan will love this movie. It has everything: comedy, action, romance(?), thrills, superhero fun, and all the easter eggs (references) you can ask for. Oh, and for all those people who get up and leave after the movie ends, you better sit down for this one til after ALL the credits!

I gave the film a 9 out of 10 because it was a great superhero film to start off the year, with an amazing cast, one awesome villain/anti-hero, and one curious mid-credit scene that gets my hyped for 2015!                       

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