Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Starring: Cris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L.. Jackson and Robert Redford
They did it, they finally did it.
After six years, Marvel Studios has finally produced a film that delivers in more ways than just the action value and it comes in the name of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
You see, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Marvel studios lately.
Their Avengers films have always been entertaining and fun family-friendly action flicks but I always felt they were holding out on us in terms of the story.
Too often the films have devolved into simple action comedies that don’t try to hit the viewer on an emotional level.
Well, finally, Marvel Studios made a complete movie with story, exposition and even character development and it puts the other films to shame.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is the film fans (At least fans like me) have been deserving for years, as it plucks all the right emotional heart strings and even hits at some very relevant social themes in today’s world.
The film continues the story of the hugely popular Avengers film cannon with Steve Rodgers aka Captain America continuing his duties for SHIELD. This time he finds himself in the middle of an international conspiracy that could threaten the lives of every person on the planet.
The problem is his enemy may be the very people he’s working for.
To think that “Thor: The Dark World” is the film that preceded this is almost laughable when you look at it after this movie.
To say this movie is an improvement upon the previous films would be an understatement.
While it may not have the same CGI value of November’s “Thor: The Dark World” or the quips of “Iron Man 3,” this film more than makes up for it with grittiness and an unapologetic approach to its subject matter.
The film resembles closer to the tone of films such as “X-men 2” and to a certain extent even “The Dark Knight” as we finally get a darker take on Avengers films.
No longer do helpless bystanders die off screen and second tier characters get off easy; people die in cold blood and it’s scary (in a good way).
Captain America is put in a difficult situation where the audience has to question the merits of the surveillance state and the price of freedom for safety.
Meanwhile, we are treated to one of the series’ darker villains in The Winter Soldier and the film is all the more exciting when he and the Cap are locking horns.
Gone is the cheesiness of villains such as Loki and even the Red Skull from the first Captain America film.
They have now been replaced by a more sinister force that makes even the alien invasion in “The Avengers” feel less terrifying.
Chris Evans delivers another solid performance as Captain America and shows once again why he was the right cast for the character.
Evans portrays the Cap with a quiet, uncompromising dignity that some of the other Avengers characters lack and really does represent the best values this country has to offer.
In a time where questions about the NSA and homeland security are rampant in society, Captain America looks it dead in the eye and defiantly says “This isn’t freedom.”
No matter where you stand on these issues the film makes a good point relaying this theme across the movie and asks us all “What is worth our freedom?”
It’s a tremendously deep message for a series that has largely stayed away from the more difficult subjects in today’s world.
But if you’re worried that this film may be too cerebral then fear not; this film also delivers plenty of punch in the visuals. The film sports some of the best action scenes of the series and the fight choreography is top notch.
There are more than enough gun fights, punches, kicks, car chases and explosions to please even the most hardcore of action junkies.
Even the former UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre, makes a short appearance as the French kick-boxing mercenary, Georges Batroc, and has a fun fight scene with Chris Evans at the beginning of the movie.
(It’s a good thing they didn’t let GSP actually fight Chris…)
So whether you fall on one side or the other in the audience, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” delivers on all fronts.
It’s the best film of the series so far and it’ll be hard to top it considering it’s so starkly different in tone and theme compared to the other films.
In any case, the summer movie season has kicked off a month early this year and this film will not only whet your action film appetite but satisfy it as well.
It’s a rare thing to watch a movie that delivers on both an entertainment and emotional level but “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” does this and with flying red, white and blue colors.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Haters gunna hate