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
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!
9.5 out 10
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