Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Captain America - The Winter Soldier

"Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?"

Fan Art poster taken from here
Background:
Release Date: 27 March 2014 (Malaysia), 4 April 2014 (USA)
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Written By: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Ed Brubaker
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp
Duration: 136 minutes


In A Nutshell:
Captain America/Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) continues trying to adapt in the modern-day world, while at the same time still working with S.H.E.I.L.D.  But something is not well inside the agency, and the problem is on a very large scale too. Not knowing who to trust, he seeks the help of Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (played by Scarlett Johansson) and an ex-military paratrooper, Sam Wilson (played by Anthony Mackie).


Thumbs Up:
+ The movie hits the ground running. I love it when movies open with great scenes right away (okay, not in the very first scene here, but the second scene if you insist on being that picky)
+ The action scenes and fight sequences are up there with the very best you'll ever see on screen.
+ The conspiracy plot lends a sophisticated feel to the movie.
+ Plenty of twists, shocks, and surprises
+ Lots of screen time is given to various characters, yet each are well developed and manages NOT to make the movie feel bloated.
+ Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff is in a supporting role here and she kicks some serious ass! (ehem.. her actually ass isn't bad too). The female assassin shows exactly why she'll be getting a stand-alone movie soon.
+ Finally, yes finally, we get to see Nick Fury (played by Lawrence Fishburn Samuel L. Jackson) being in full-length action!

+ The Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan) - Marvel Studios at long last serves us a worthy villain other than Loki. And my, oh my, is he indeed menacing!
+ The score (by Henry Jackman) perfectly complements the bucket load of tense and exciting scenes on display.
+ The mention of Dr. Strange!!
+ The mid-credits scene. Gave me full blown nerdgasm! Bring on Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron [2015]! *spoiler alert (minimum): Expanded superhero universe! This is why we want movie studios that hold rights to different Marvel characters to work together on a project! Thank God the characters revealed in this scene can appear in to two different franchises owned by two different studios!
Thumbs Down:
- May need knowledge of previous Marvel movies to fully appreciate this one (this was the case for the couple sitting next to me... the boyfriend needed to constantly explain the backstory to the girlfriend. Extremely annoying).
- Stan Lee's cameo wasn't as good as his previous ones (list of his cameos here).
- Patriotic speech by Captain America just before the movie's climax. Sounded cheesy to me.


The Verdict Is In:
Ever since Marvel Studios started producing movies with the release of Iron Man [2008], I have enjoyed every single film from the studio with the exception of one. And that odd movie out is Captain America: The First Avenger [2011]. So, when added with the fact the "The Greatest Soldier In History" is no one's favorite superhero, my expectations wasn't very high for this second installment.

But man, was I mistaken. This movie was all sorts of awesome!! The action, characters and the story makes it an extremely solid and exciting movie. As much as I like dark and gritty superhero movies, it's getting somewhat tiresome as everyone seems to be following the trend. We need more variety. The conspiracy plot here gives this movie some level of sophistication, but it doesn't lose it's fun and vibrant feel. In fact I love the fact that all Marvel Studios movies so far haven't gone down the dark and gritty path.
 

The film also doesn't feel like a spin-off to a much bigger movie (Avengers 2) because everything here feels like being on large scale. I'm actually surprised this wasn't a summer release.

If the first Captain America movie was my least favorite from Marvel Studios, this one is actually the opposite.... its on top of the list! I even like it more than Iron Man and The Avengers [2012]! Now that totally took me off guard and is saying a lot!
Rating:
9.5 out 10

12 comments:

  1. Same here with first Captain being my least fav movie from Marvel, well I may be forgetting some worse one but first Cap just bored me so much. I'm excited to see this one, if only for mid-credit scene, I just love certain female character that's there and what a brilliant casting.

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    1. Thankfully this is leaps and bounds better than the first movie.

      I know what you mean, she is a good actress. Same goes to the character!

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  2. You've managed to make me even more excited for this. I didn't think that was possible. I'm glad to hear that it stands alone without being a plot device for the Avengers. That's how I the first Thor movie felt to me at first.

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    1. I wasn't excited before seeing this (I was more hyped for the new X-Men), this really surprised me. It was awesome!

      The first Thor movie is a great example. This one, despite plenty of characters from SHEILD, is very much a stand-alone movie.

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  3. How fun that you got to see this movie already! I have seen such great reviews for it! I have my tickets for IMAX April 4th and am so excited. Captain is my least favorite Avenger but he is getting cooler!

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    1. I guess Captain America is most people's least favorite, me included. But he has become much more cooler after this movie. As a guy who loves superhero movies, I would never had imagined a Captain America movie being my favorite Marvel movie!

      I didn't see it in IMAX or 3D, but I suspect it will be great in those formats, especially during the climax!

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  4. Yay Asrap!! I probably would give the same rating as you, I enjoyed this one a heck of a lot and I'm a fan of the first film.

    As for this thumbs down 'May need knowledge of previous Marvel movies to fully appreciate this one,' well it's not really the fault of the filmmaker and I don't think the story is really THAT hard to understand really.

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    1. Awesome Ruth! Glad you enjoyed as much as I did! I actually plan to see it again with a different bunch of buddies.

      I agree it isn't hard to understand, but apparently that wasn't the case for the couple sitting next to me. The girlfriend's constant asking of Captain's backstory was pretty annoying.

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  5. masa aku baca kornyer review first time aku scan through jer...kor pon perasan ye dr strange...aku memula nak je jerit DR STRANGE..tapi risau poyo....LOLOLOLOL

    btw ko kan ckp ada 2nd after credit kan, aku punya tunggu siap bitau member2 lain suh tunggu...tgk2 tu je..aku cam alamak...member aku siap marah aku..."TUH JER?" ...adei laaa...should have let em leave..tapi the first after credit was awesome...seriously quicksilver looks so much cooler here..

    as for capt america...ye aku kagum cerita ni bagus..and aku cam rasa nak je tulis surat kat marvel ckp "why dont u just make a new team of avengers consist of Capt, Widow, Fury, Hill and Falcon (walaupon falcon sebenarnyer sangat lame) in the comics " sbb they rule ok...dan sangat grounded....cam normal human being of avengers (walaupon capt is far from normal but at least he looks like one) .. ha ok tu je...nak gi berdoa agar X-men DOFP best

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    1. aku ada baca yg Marvel skang pentingkan mid-credits, pasal ramai org stay lagi time tu... so kalo promo yg best time mid-credits aje..

      Quicksilver looks cool, but have u seen the on-location photos of Scarlet Witch? gamba2 kat streets of new york... awesome siot

      aku suka cadangan Avengers ko... tambah Hawkeye skali...

      DOFP better be good... high expectations for that one!!

      Delete
  6. Good stuff. I had high hopes for the first Captain America which were only somewhat met. Looks like this one has the potential to become one of the best Marvel movies...

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    Replies
    1. Yup, I agree with you on both accounts Dan. The first did disappoint, while this second one is awesome!

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