Thursday, September 18, 2014

Captain America: Winter Soldier Review

Captain America: Winter Soldier
Rob Jefchak

“Iron Man” scores sequels, “Thor” did too so it’s only natural that Marvel’s movie juggernaut forces continue to march on to their next costumed crime fighter’s continuum with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Marvel’s been trying new things with their sequels and the same was said about “Winter soldier”; did it pay off to is this a movie you should blow off? You’re about to find out. The story picks up after the events of “The Avengers” where Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) finds himself disliking Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) and SHIELD’s tactics more and more; even distrusting his partner and fellow Avenger Black Widow/Natasha (Scarlett Johansson). The Cap soon finds himself plunged into a dark world of conspiracies, secrets and danger and at the center is the mysterious “Winter Soldier” assassin.

The first “Captain” movie was a WW2 period piece and a superhero flick rolled into one. If one was to process this sequel by the same calibration; then “Winter Soldier” is a superhero flick, a political thriller and a spy drama all mixed and mashed into one supremely satisfying story. This film mixes traditional masks and mad man with realistic politics and crimes so shady and morally gray; that even non comic book fans will be pleasantly surprised to see how much intelligence lies behind that star spangled shield. Cap may be a simple guy but this film and his performer are anything but. Evans blends beautifully into this deeper, darker side of spies and secrets; creating charming chemistry with Johansson’s Widow and working into this new age world seamlessly without the reliance of “future shock” humor.

Our hero and story never forget or force out the traditional sense of good vs. evil; instead they both wisely integrated the gray middle and expand it to the point even the sharpest of viewers won’t be able to tell who is good, who is bad or even whose alive or dead. While failing to give him sufficient screen time considering his titular tagline, the Winter Soldier character introduces conflict and chaos that excellently balance together smarts with smashing fists. I knew this film was supposed to be more political driven but I had no idea it would pack this powerful a punch; I don’t think anyone that has seen the first Cap movie would expect this one to turn out the way it did…and that’s a GOOD thing.

The music was phenomenal; I can still hear the theme song of Winter Soldier hammering my memory banks over and over again. I've been keeping up to date with every Marvel movie and I have to say; “Winter Soldier” has the best soundtrack if you ask me. Despite all the strength of the main stars, I can’t avoid talking about the talent of the supporting cast. Anthony Mackie and acting legend Robert Redford make splashing debuts into the Marvel universe. Admittedly, I had a few small problems during the film but they are problems of note none the less. As I mentioned before, for a film that’s named after him; you really think you’d see the Winter Soldier” earlier and more often than half way into the movie. Even ghostly assassins need exposure once in a while; especially if YOU ARE the titular villain/storyline.

Another problem is the film’s need to sacrifice or “modernize” traditional costumes into more war designed uniforms. Average viewers may not realize how colorfully costumed Falcon and Batroc the leaper were based on their appearances in the film; I admit it’s a nitpick but it would have been nice is all I am saying. Overall, “Captain America: Winter Soldier” takes the period piece powerhouse into a whole new world and what a compelling world it is. The story is complex and the action is intense; old and new comer actors all serve their super hero and super villain roles very well and the film’s soundtrack is the most impressive Marvel melody yet.

I give “Captain America: Winter Soldier” 3 and a half stars out of 4.