Many people believe that The Avengers was and is Marvel’s best movie ever made. I beg to differ, I always felt no matter who made the avengers and what kind of story it had, everyone who has read the comics just wanted to see all the superheroes together in the same film. It was just a comic book nerd’s wet dream and it went on to make a lot of money. But was it a great movie? It was definitely a good action packed entertaining film and therefore it was a good movie. Captain America: Winter Soldier on the other hand is something greater than a good movie. Marvel had missed a trick or two with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 but they kept everything simple this time and it worked with this movie.
If you think of all the class “A” action movies you have seen, be it crime or superhero, you may notice that they can all fit into one of the four or five main plot set ups. Among those, the best (and probably most used) is arguably the top agent turned fugitive, hunted by all the might and power of the organization that have been loyally serving. Obviously, this works best in getting audience identification with the hero. “Winter Soldier” is a good case of successful employment of this plot category. Among all the superheros in the two major franchises (DC and Marvel), Steve Rogers has the optimum level of “superpower” for fueling the most exciting type of action sequences – good old fashion melee and shooting. Again, “Winter Soldier” takes good advantage of this, providing scene after scene of superbly well crafted sequences that you never get tired of watching.
Mandatory yet necessary are funny or witty gags which are sprinkled here and there at just about the right proportion. I don’t think the plot or the action sequence needs any further elaboration, which may even turn out to be detrimental to the audience’s pleasure of discovery while enjoying the movie.
Chris Evans has done a great job in wiping out the persona of flippant Human Torch Johnny Storm and successfully reinforced from the first “Captain America” the image of a traditional Gary Cooper or John Wayne type of hero from almost a century ago (Steve Rogers is ninety-something years old, remember?) A delightful surprise is Scarlett Johansson who the cheesy poster may lead to think that is no more than punching and kicking eye candy in this movie. It is therefore quite a joy to see her as almost a co-lead, managing colorful KGB-turned-US-agent with an excellent balance of charisma and reserve. Those of us who grew up with Robert Redford take great pleasure in seeing how he enjoyed this casting-against-type role here. Over the years he has done so much, in every respect, that he deserves having some fun. The rest of the support cast have all turned in respectable performances. Samuel L. Jackson does what is expected of him.
You can tell that not much CGI was used in this film compared to the other Marvel films, but’s what makes it so great! It all felt so real that it could be too real at times. But I must point out the newcomer Anthony Mackie who deserves a spin-off as the falcon. Finally, the Winter Soldier was an exceptional villain. He was a bad-ass, very-well constructed and well written. He was a formidable foe against CA and the audience will be pleased with what they see.
Marvel fanboys are going to love this one, with Marvel fitting in more villains and characters from the comics into this one film than perhaps any other superhero film before it, and it all works organically, these additional characters only show up when it is required to tell the story and not just to be a fan service. Bottom line is, just buckle up and enjoy the ride of this one. It’s rare to get a film like this in April, so definitely relish in its awesomeness, and also, as always with Marvel, stay till the very tail end of the credits if you want the whole experience that this film has to offer.