Film Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain - post

Title – Captain America: The Winter Solider (2014)

Director – Anthony and Joe Russo (Welcome to Collinwood)

Cast – Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Cobie Smulders, Emily VanCamp, Haley Atwell

Plot – Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Evans) is trying to adapt to modern day life while juggling his role with SHEILD. When a mysterious foe in the form of the Winter Soldier appears and threatens to end the life of Nick Fury (Jackson), Rogers must team up with Black Widow (Johansson) and delve deep into the recesses of SHEILD intelligence and find out who is behind this new world threat.

“That was not my first kiss since 1945. I’m 95, I’m not dead”

Review by Eddie on 21/08/2014

Captain America’s first solo venture in Joe Johnston’s 2011 film was met with a relative ho-hum reception and rightfully so thanks to a pedestrian like telling of an arguably far more interesting character, but due to 2012’s mega hit The Avengers, Captain America found a whole new level of popularity and the prospect of seeing him defrosted into a modern day solo scenario all of a sudden became a much more appealing venture. With TV comedy mainstays the Russo Brothers behind the helm, hopes were high that the Captain would shun the mediocrity of the first instalment and deliver in what is really a cold war thriller masked in disguise as a superhero adventure, but finished results suggest that Captain America remains alongside the Hulk, the weakest of Marvel’s solo journeys.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what disallows Captain America to truly achieve its potential, yet despite this being far more polished than its World War 2 set predecessor this venture still feels frustratingly light on heart and soul and Rogers/Captain America as a character feels distant inducing cold when we really need him to be the beating heart centre of a pretty stock standard predictable heroes v villains tale. In saying this it’s a nice change of pace that for much of this film you feel as though you’re watching a thriller not an average CGI beat-em up that sadly feels undone by a more stock standard and overlong finale. It’s almost as if Marvel didn’t truly have the confidence in shunning their usual 3rd act shtick and it will be a joy to one day witness a less mundane us against the world last act. While what ends this blockbuster may be more typical, a major plus for Winter Soldier is what occurs sporadically throughout, thanks to the direction of the Russo Brothers.

The Russo Brothers bring a fresh perspective to many scenes throughout Winter Soldier, from an untypical car chase sequence involving Nick Fury early on, an elevator dust up that feels like something out of the Raid and a neat freeway showdown with the titular Winter Solider feeling like a Heat showdown, there are great moments in a film that seems torn between becoming something different yet playing to what the audience expects/wants. Humour littered amongst the film also at times strikes a nice rhythm, which is to be expected from the men who have crafted some of Arrested Development and Community’s strongest episodes and the brothers draw out nice turns from Evans (despite not an overabundance of charm, which he is capable of) and Johansson, yet the supports don’t achieve too much with Robert Redford wasted in his role as Alexander Pierce.

You get the feeling that there is room still to grow for the Captain America solo brand but you also can’t shake the overwhelming sense that his best work will always be a part of the Avengers ensemble. A hard time seems to be had figuring out exactly how to portray the Captain and a hero that spends a majority of his time throwing a shield at bad guys can only really be taken so far. If Captain America really wants to take itself to new heights a throwing out of the rulebook must take place, an occurrence that happens mildly throughout this film only to be reigned back in again by the Marvel schoolmasters. Winter Solider isn’t particularly bad, but it’s also entirely forgettable and for superheros that is a mortal sin.

2 and a half convenient escape holes out of 5

30 responses to “Film Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

  1. I find this to be the one of the better Marvel films, with a more interesting Cap and the best action from a Marvel film to date. But it is always cool to hear other’s opinions. Good review.

  2. Ok, really guys? Almost EVERYONE loved this movie — hell even *I* really liked it for the exact reasons that this thing barely felt like a comic book movie at all, because I can’t stand most of these Marvel movies….I almost fell asleep during The First Avenger but this kept me riveted in my seat almost the entire time.

    Interesting you should mention the Raid-inspired combat. The Russo brothers explicitly mentioned in multiple interviews how they deliberately took cues from that movie as inspirations for action. There’s a ton of hand-to-hand combat in this, as well as grounded shootouts a la Heat, like you mentioned.

    Funny, you and I listed almost the exact same pros and cons of the film in both our reviews, yet we came to nearly opposite conclusions 😛

    Boooooo! 😀

    • Hhaa mate I am sorry lol. I just really sadly found this one a little boring, It had great moments as we both seemed to mention but overall I got lost in it man. It’s very interesting about the Raid and Heat I had no idea they set out to homage those which is really cool.

      I really do appreciate the brothers direction, I loved Collinwood and I think they have shown enough here to suggest that a career in big budgets is not beyond them.

      Cheers for stopping by mate.

  3. Well I tend to agree with both of you more than once however I totally disagree with your assesment of this movie and frankly I’m gobsmacked at how much you disliked this movie. Wow no words really.

      • Okay I’ve been grumpy when viewing a good movie I understand. But we’ll agree to disagree.

      • For sure mate, I am very much looking forward to seeing how Marvel come up with the goods for Ant Man, I feel that one will either really blow it out of the park or fail miserably.

  4. I thought this was great! I liked the deviation towards a more espionage, Cold War driven tone as opposed to Marvel’s usual rampant energy. Evans also really comes into his own as the Cap’n. It’s a shame the film didn’t quite work for you Eddie, top write-up mate!


    • Hey dude I would of loved it to really go for more cold war stuff as the shield throwing does get old after a while. I particularly felt like the ending was just a big let down, with a nice tie up this would of gone up to a 3 or 3 and a half for me.

  5. Good review Eddie. It would sometimes get a bit too complicated and convoluted for its own good, but when it was fun, man, I couldn’t have asked for a way better time.

  6. Gotta admit im in the enjoyed this movie party!

    Found it entertaining and a little less comical then the rest of the comic adaptations. I agree the first was very average but while I prefer the iron man series I enjoyed cap2 for its own merits.

    Potential for millions to die, everyone in shield could be evil.. who do u trust?

    Why not iron man, hulk etc..?

  7. Boy, awful tough on this one. I’d hate to see how you rated First Avenger! I don’t really get your critiques on this having no heart or soul. It is Cap’s heart and loyalty that drive him to believe in Bucky to the point of risking death. We also get to see him seriously weigh the dilemma of being a “follow the orders” soldier or doing what he believes is right. I feel like there’s a good bit of heart sprinkled throughout the film.

    I did like your comparisons to other films in the fight scenes though. That freeway showdown really is like something out of Heat. Good call. I thought it was great. Top 5 Marvel films for me.

    • Good,to hear you liked it mate, maybe my expectations were a little high for this one to because of its great reception and audience praise. I do look forward to seeing the Cap in the next Avengers though.

  8. I can agree with a lot of what you’re saying. It’s shooting a hole into the Marvel Universe with the safety on. The cold war was not fun. We needed heroes because to be honest. Nukes are scary, sometimes. It played with the social commentary enough to say it was about that period but didn’t really say anything at all about it. If that makes sense. I feel that I liked this movie as much as I liked the Punisher remake. I did like Xmen Days of Futures Past and First Class for the bite they had with bringing the comic storyline together into the film. Without all the “Team America” embellishment.

    • I thought it was pretty ripe to really do something different mate, then it just started going down the road well travelled and I think this character needs more than that to truely shine.

  9. I thought it made for a good hard-hitting early 90s-style action flick. But I agree the story was pretty bland.
    ***POSSIBLE SPOILER*** And I hated that whenever a character dies in a Marvel film, you know it’s not for real. ***END SPOILER***
    So, some good things, but some eye-rolling stuff too.

  10. I really enjoyed this movie and I really didn’t expect to. It kept me interested pretty much throughout. The only weak point was in the French kidnapping scene near the beginning, which didn’t really develop as it could have. And the fight scene with the character Baltroc (played by Georges St-Pierre) was a bit disapointing since he’s been a world mma champion in the UFC.

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