Believe it or not, but I got into yet another advanced screening. Apparently a week or two ago, Marvel Studios sent out a Facebook post telling the world that Austin, Texas had won the first of many fan screenings of their upcoming film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I came to the realization that I happen to live in Austin, Texas, so I immediately booked tickets just in case nothing was going on the evening of the screening. I did this because I’ve enjoyed the Marvel films for the past couple of years, and I admire producer Kevin Feige for being able to create such an ambitious franchise which as of now has had zero hiccups during their run. Marvel has now put out their 8th film and their third film in their Phase Two of their Avengers franchise. We just have this and August’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which is probably the blockbuster I’m looking forward to the most this summer. So I got into the screening, and my neck still hurts from the position I had to sit in up front due to the massive turn out, but I saw it, and here’s my review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The film takes place after the events of The Avengers, and instead of seeing it through the viewpoint of Iron Man of Thor, we see it through the eyes of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, played once again by Chris Evans. Rogers is still trying to adjust to this new world after being frozen for several years, and that journey begun in The Avengers and continues in this film. Rogers is now an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. and must embark on missions for his boss, Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson once again, and his partner this time around is Black Widow, played once again by Scarlett Johansson. However, there is a new threat to the world and the agency, and it’s in the form of The Winter Soldier, a super soldier similar to Rogers, but for Rogers this character hits home.
The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, who I’m still shocked that they were even given this gig. The Russo brothers are mainly known for their television work, as they have directed episodes for shows like Community and Arrested Development. So I was surprised that Kevin Feige and Marvel were putting their trust into these two men with the sequel to the first Captain America film. And then before I went into the film last night, a few weeks back Marvel hired them back to direct the next Captain America film that will be released Summer 2016. And after seeing The Winter Soldier last night, I gotta say that the critics so far are right. This is a really stellar and fun Marvel film. It’s a shame that Columbia felt the need to take the first weekend in May to put The Amazing Spider-Man 2 there, because Captain America: The Winter Soldier is probably the best live action blockbuster of 2014 by far. The Russo Brothers have made a film that’s very exciting in its pace and action, while also being heavily story oriented and character driven. Granted, some of the weaker parts of the film are from its script, particularly it’s dialogue, but other than that, Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks to be one of the most exciting and biggest blockbusters of 2014.
First things first, Chris Evans is terrific in this role. He’s still a man lost in time, trying to figure out his path in this new and foreign world that he awoke in. It’s the only reason to care about this perfect specimen of a human being, who still longs for and lingers for his past, and there’s a terrific scene in the film where Steve Rogers is walking through a Captain America exhibit in the Smithsonian, and it’s quite spectacular to watch him witness the impact that he has had on the American people. Scarlett Johansson returns in fine form as the sexy and deadly Black Widow, and her character is a bit more of a wise-crack than in the previous Marvel films Johansson has appeared in. She was a nice addition to the film, as telling by the terms of how here character is left off in this film, it should make things interesting for The Avengers: Age of Ultron come next May. Sam Jackson is great as always, along with Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, whose role is extended a bit in this film from The Avengers. And acting legend Robert Redford makes an appearance as Alexander Pierce, a senior official in S.H.I.E.L.D. who is a mentor to Nick Fury. While most of the geeks in the fan screening were geeking out about comic book lore and so on, I was geeking about seeing Redford on the screen, and he’s great for the screen time he’s given.
But what I really dug about this film is that the film feels very old school to a fault. The film is as modern as any blockbuster in 2014 can be, but the plot of the film is very much an homage to the political thrillers of the 1970’s, which probably explains why Redford signed on for this film, as he starred in some of the greatest political thrillers of the 70’s, like All the Presidents Men and Three Days on the Condor. The film has several twists and turns, which makes it stand out from other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the film deals with political intrigue, espionage, and so on. It’s terrific, and I applaud the writers and filmmakers for making a film that appeals to the thinking man, while also appealing to casual audiences. Now if the writers cleaned up some of the dialogue and the one-liners were not as cheesy, I’d be head over heels for this film like the audience, but instead I was greatly entertained by the film and it’s plot, and it takes a lot for a film to do that for me. I guess to find more complaints about the film, I didn’t like the fact that my seat was so close to the screen. Some folks had lined up hours before the screening begun, and I got there about 90 minutes before it started. And also it was at a certain theater in town that I’ve never been a fan of (I won’t say any names, but they know who they are), so that was also a negative (not really).
But while I had crap seats and saw the film in a crap theater, I was still highly entertained by Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Russo Brothers trade in the usual CGI extravaganza for a film that’s a bit more grounded in its action, with some Raid-style fight sequences throughout the film. I also liked the story of the film, as the fact that it brought me nostalgia to some of my favorite films of all time, so that was a plus. I like that this film is coming out in April, as there is nothing else really coming out that’s noteworthy around this time of the year, so when the film opens on April 4th in a couple of weeks, I highly recommend that you go check out Captain America: The Winter Soldier both as a fan of this Marvel series and as a fan of entertainment. I think that the film will be a big hit with audiences, and here’s to that thought coming true soon. Also, as always, stay after the credits, you get some nice teases for what’s to come in the Cinematic Universe…