“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is Marvel’s second solo film for their star spangled man. The film takes place after “The Avengers” and follows Captain America and Black Widow as they attempt to solve how and why former Nazi extremist group “Hydra” has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention just how Cap and Black Widow will survive this schism, as well as constant attacks from an unknown mercenary called “The Winter Soldier.” The film stars Chris Evans as the titular hero, Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson reprising his role as Nick Fury for an unprecedented sixth time. The film also brings in new cast members Anthony Mackie as The Falcon and screen legend Robert Redford as a senior leader within S.H.I.E.L.D. named Alexander Pierce.
First off, I need to say that I think “The Winter Soldier” is the perfect movie for this universe that has been created to bring together the heroes of Marvel into one continuity. This film showcases not only flashbacks to the first “Captain America,” but seamlessly incorporates the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe without even showing most of the characters present in “The Avengers.” It shows the impact that “The Avengers” had in this universe and delves deeper into the behind the scenes runnings of S.H.I.E.L.D. I thought the film did a perfect job of showing us the gears of the universe, as opposed to just letting us see the finished product.
In letting us see things on a deeper level, “The Winter Soldier” caused the audience to feel even more for the characters, especially because besides a super soldier serum making Captain America and The Winter Soldier more powerful, all of the characters in this film are real people. There are no gods, no Hulks, no Iron Men. Just men and women having to deal with very human issues that are present in our real world to some degree. I won’t go into many spoilers about what those are, suffice to say that there are huge political issues brought up that I never thought would be the kind of material a comic book movie would cover.
“The Winter Soldier” is directed by the Russo brothers, Anthony & Jay. To be honest, I was shocked that they were selected because prior to this the biggest things that they were attached to were “Community” and “Arrested Development.” It’s pretty fair to say that a $175,000,000 blockbuster is a big step up from TV sitcoms. However, the Russos completely hit this film out of the park. It has some of the best action sequences in a Marvel film to date with amazing CGI. I’m very happy that they have signed on to direct the next film in the series.
Besides the great storyline, shocking twists in the film and fast cutting action scenes, there is one thing I found great about this movie from a social standpoint: the relationship between Black Widow and Captain America. Romances are often shoehorned into films where they don’t belong and I was worried that would take place when I heard that they would be the top two stars. But I was incredibly pleased to find that wasn’t the case.
Widow and Cap are just a couple of agents in a buddy cop movie, going around solving mysteries. Widow is treated as an equal, not a damsel in distress. I certainly hope this is a stepping stone to have more females alongside males showing that women are just as rough and tough as men, as opposed to just being eye candy and plot devices.
I would say that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is definitely a film readers should own. As of the time that I write this, it is my favorite film of 2014 and one of the top superhero films ever made. It gives superheroes that seriousness that “The Dark Knight” trilogy offered while keeping the classic Marvel fun going throughout. It’s a 5-star film if I’ve ever seen one.