Film Review: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

Updated on March 6, 2019
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Captain America: The First Avenger was about Captain America (Steve Rogers) during World War Two. This movie, The Winter Soldier is about what happens after he is unfrozen in the present. He uncovers a conspiracy involving Hydra infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D.

Plot

Captain America is living in Washington, D.C. and having trouble adjusting not only to life in the present, but being a celebrated hero and knowing that everyone he loved in the past is dead, or very old. He's not sure whether to get back into the game, to be a soldier, and he's not sure what he would do with himself if he didn't.

He is recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to go on a boat and beat up some French guys. But he finds that Natasha Romanoff is unexpectedly doing the spy hacker stuff she usually does. Both are working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but since he was not told about the nature of Natasha's mission, Captain wants to know what Nick Fury is hiding from him. Because being a soldier in World War Two never taught him the first rules of espionage, I guess?

Anyway, Nick Fury attempts to talk to Rogers in his apartment, which he tells him has been bugged. But before Nick can explain anything, he is shot by a mysterious sniper. Natasha explains that she thinks the sniper was a mysterious bad guy called The Winter Soldier. Might as well roll with that hypothesis, since it is in the title of the movie and all.

So it turns out S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by Hydra, and The Winter Soldier is Bucky, Steve Rogers' former best friend, who was like a brother to him because they were both orphans and grew up relying on each other. Oh, and Fury was fine, he faked his own death. Captain does fine taking out Hydra, but Bucky disappears as mysteriously as he had appeared.

Info

Title
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Studio
Marvel Studios, Distributed by Walt Disney
Year
2014
Producer
Kevin Feige
Directors
Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Writers
Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely; Based on Captain America by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
Main Actors/Actresses
Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan
Cinematographer
Trent Opaloch
Music by
Henry Jackman
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Run Time
2 hours, 16 minutes
Awards
Golden Trailer Award for Best Action TV Spot ; Washington D.C. Film Critic Award for The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, D.C.; People's Choice Award for Favorite Action Movie Actor - Chris Evans
Box Office
$714.3 million

Review

Sometimes I look at the critical consensus for a movie online and wonder why a good movie is rated so poorly. In this case, I wonder why critics tended to rate this movie so favorably, despite the fact that for me it was dull and hard to sit through to the end, despite having a strong beginning. Maybe they only saw the trailer, or maybe they only saw the first 15 minutes of the film? Who knows. But this movie is a good hook - how will Captain America adjust to the changes of the world across seven decades - but then it leaves you with very little other than a by the numbers series of admittedly well-choreographed, but overly long, action sequences, with very little substance you can glean from the movie. The emotional heart of the first movie was the message that "little guy" Steve Rogers could do big things with his big courage, heart, and honor.

This movie doesn't feel like it has an emotional heart in it. It just plunked Marvel characters into what feels like an interchangeable plot, which could have just as easily been a James Bond or other spy franchise movie. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson give great performances. The parts that center on Nick Fury, his emotions and back story, are perhaps the most touching. Romantic tension between Natasha and Steve was also great part, but it goes nowhere. It's totally forgotten by Age of Ultron, when Natasha's new designated love interest appears to be Bruce Banner instead.

The movie annoyed me by having action scenes that felt overly long. I'm not saying an action movie shouldn't have action scenes. I like many action scenes in movies, like in Mad Max: Fury Road for example. But in this movie, they stand out as especially long, and many of them seem to be there as filler, not moving the plot forward very fast. A good action scene to me is a hook, a buildup to a climax, the climax (killing the bad guy, blowing up the helicopter, crashing the bad guy's car, etc) and a resolution. It's not all that different from a movie's story itself - just the mini version of that. These action scenes were drawn out so that you lost emotional investment. I don't know what it was that made me bored rather than excited, exactly. Maybe it's that Captain feels too invulnerable, which can be a problem in superhero movies.

It can be described as a movie that gets you interested, but then fails to deliver.

Rating for 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier': 6/10

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    © 2019 Rachael Lefler

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