TheAmazingAvenger's Review of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
How much does freedom really cost? Is the world he left the world he came back to? These are the questions that haunt Steve Rogers in his latest adventure as the Sentinel of Liberty.
From the directors that brought us "You, Me, and Dupree" comes the sequel to Joe Johnston's "Captain America: The First Avenger" (and Joss Whedon's "The Avengers"). Does the third entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 2 of movies live up to the hype and expectations around it?
As one of the people that really, really loved Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger, it was a great shock when Marvel Studios announced that the Russo brothers (known for Community, Arrested Development, and You, Me, and Dupree) would be helming the sequel. I decided to have faith in Marvel's decision and see what Joe and Anthony Russo would bring us. When I finally got to watch the movie, all my faith and all my anticipation paid off big time. I came in the theater expecting a good sequel, but what I got was a great movie.
More than just a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Russo brothers along with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have brought us an edgier take on Captain America which is arguably the best Marvel Studios effort, even better than the first Iron Man and The Avengers itself. I believe we can all agree that The Dark Knight and The Avengers has set a high bar for the superhero genre in cinema, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier reaches that bar, if not outright exceed it. The movie doesn't fail to live up to the hype that surrounds it. All the good things you've heard about it are true.
Loosely based on Ed Brubaker's Winter Soldier storyline, the movie's screenplay never has any shortage of thrills, excitement, and drama. The film is able to shift tones smoothly and nothing ever feels abruptly done. The first act brings us back to Steve, still trying to find his place and embrace his role in the modern world. It jumpstarts the movie with great action and follows it up with with some excellent drama that ties up the plot threads left by the first movie. Discussing the second and third act would be venturing too much in spoiler territory, but believe me when I say that it just keeps getting better when the story really kicks off. With every transition, the movie never lets the intensity die or even let it flicker. Never. When the drama takes over from the action, it doesn't just move the plot forward, it connects you to these characters like no previous Marvel movie has done before. And like the recent Phase 2 films that precede it, this movie still has some comedic moments, now executed much better. While not as much as Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, humor is still in it, but unlike those two, the execution and the moments of delivery are very effective, easing the tension while never distracting us too much.
The action in The Winter Soldier is astounding. The fight choreography rivals that of even the best action movies (The Bourne Trilogy comes into mind). Whenever Captain America and Winter Soldier are on the same scene, expect sh*t to get serious. From chase scenes, to Black Widow, to Captain America, to Falcon, and to the Winter Soldier, the action doesn't disappoint. Simply put, the movie has the best action Marvel has ever done in any of its movies.
Finally, in the acting department, the movie also succeeds. Chris Evans continue to be the stoic and just Captain, but this time around, it feels edgier and shows how much his character continues to grow in this strange new world. Scarlett Johansson, gives a much better performance than she has done in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. While we still don't know that much about the character, she gives us a peek at who the Widow really is. The chemistry between her and Evans is great, improving upon their work together in The Avengers. Anthony Mackie is a great addition to the cast and to the canon itself. His chemistry with Cap feels like it jumped right out of the comics and even though he's really new to the story, you can really see the friendship that develops naturally between them through their performance. Robert Redford is a beast, simply one of the best. Now, Sebastian Stan, the Winter Soldier himself... He really does outdo himself. Although he is the titular character, it's a shame he's not in the movie as much as I'd want him to be, but whenever he's on screen, whatever scene he's in, he dominates.
Filled with great performances, with a screenplay that captures the very essence of Captain America, with action that keeps the adrenaline rushing, and with a story that will forever change the Marvel Cinematic Universe... The movie is perhaps the best film Marvel Studios has given us. It really skyrockets itself to the top of the genre. I am now officially excited for what the Russo brothers has in store for us in Captain America 3. Overall, I give the movie 10 out of 10.
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