We’re at that point in our Marvel Cinematic Universe movie marathons to finally review one of the best Marvel movies to date; The Winter Soldier. Also the Marvel directorial debut for Joe and Anthony Russo, the film starts off on a witty note with the introduction of Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon, portrayed by Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Triple 9). Having easily been the best casting choice for the role of Captain America’s sidekick, (and hopefully one day Captain America himself), Mackie’s Wilson brings a new history to the beloved character. With Sam Wilson’s introduction into the MCU, Captain America’s rich comic background is expanded even further.
The Russo Brothers take audiences on a wild spy thriller throughout the film, however deviating from Captain America’s more traditional “war’-type image. The story begins to pick up when Cap and Black Widow set off with a S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Team to recover a hijacked intelligence ship. More comical banter between Natasha and Steve brings a lighter tone to the more dark and action-packed sequence.
From there on out, however, the spy and stealth themes truly begin to take control, adding more comedic relief to the story. The concept of taking an Army Captain, trained for and expected to fight a war, and dropping him into a situation where lies and deceit, as well as hiding in plain sight, are necessary to survive can be described as nothing less than entertaining. Captain America, always the Boy Scout, sticks true to his beliefs of right and wrong, which acts as a catalyst for the entire story, putting him at odds with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra.
Samuel L. Jackson’s return as Nick Fury was awesome, depicting the character in a more complex light than previous MCU installments had. Jackson brought his trademark ability to command attention to each scene he was present in. His standout performance stole the show, and to be honest, when he was still alive, I was jumping for joy on the inside.
The elevator scene was spectacular, and as with all the other fights and stunts, the coordination was magnificent. To me, nothing really seemed unrealistic (taking into consideration this is a superhero movie). The emotion each actor brought to his or her role was beyond stellar. For instance, it seemed that Chris Evans was truly shocked when The Winter Soldier lost his mask and was revealed to be Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes. Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff brought on a somber scene when she visited Fury’s “dead” body.
The most tear-jerking moment of the entire film, however, was Steve visiting an aging Peggy Carter. The conversation between the two was completely adorable. And when Peggy forgot Steve was there and saw him again, that hit right in the feels.
A quick side note: there can also be an alternate meaning to the title, The Winter Soldier. The term, “a summer soldier” is someone willing to fight when conditions are favorable. So, taking that into consideration, a winter soldier would fight no matter what the conditions of the battle nor the odds of winning. The more you know.
One issue with the film, as found with many of the earlier MCU films, is that a world-skaking event is taking place, yet Iron Man or Hawkeye are nowhere to be found. It is safe to assume that, although name-dropped, Stephen Strange had not yet become the Sorcerer Supreme, but one of the shots in the montage showing Hydra’s targets, it appears Tony Stark sits in Avengers Towers. Why was he not out trying to help Cap? Not that Steve, Maria, Natasha, Sam, or Nick needed help, but I’m sure they would have welcomed it.
Overall, the film was a masterpiece. The cinematography was phenomenal, and the story was equally compelling. The pacing was perfect, and the scoring of the film was on point. If I have one tiny gripe with the film, I say that’s a win. And if you haven’t given our other MCU film reviews a read, you definitely should check those amazing articles out! Be ready next week for our review of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)!
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