|I need this poster on my wall!|
Directed by: Russo Brothers
Genre: Action Thriller, Action, Comic book, Political thriller,
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Running Time: 136 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Takes risks, Amazing fight choreography, Chris Evans steps it up, Captures essence of the character, Grounded action, Meaningful and thought-provoking themes, Scarlett Johansson kills, Jaw-dropping plot twists, Awesome references, Epic scale, Resonates emotionally, Samuel L. Jackson's performance is fantastic, The Winter Soldier is an imposing villain, Smart script,
Plot: 10/10- Captain America: The Winter Soldier's plot is perfectly paced. Not for a single instant did the film slow down too much or speed up to fast, it was absolutely perfect. As sated previously, the Winter Soldier was incredibly strong thematically. While other comic book movies have had strong themes, The Winter Soldier is the one that resonated with me the most and the one that I believe is the most relevant and thought-provoking. The tone of the film is decidedly darker, yet never too dark, and in fact, the movie less a comic book movie and more a thriller with elements of espionage and political commentary.
In terms of the plot, the movie takes huge risks, all of which will be discussed in a spoiler post. Basically, watch the movie; it is just as important to the Avengers universe as everyone says it is. Also, the film ties-in brilliantly with the Agents of SHIELD TV series, and viewers of the series will have even more layers to delve into.
Characterization: 10/10- Overall, every character was well served and adequately balanced in terms of the amount of screen-time and development between the characters. In the Marvel-Cinematic-Universe, Iron Man is my favorite character, but in the comics Captain America has been my favorite since I started reading comics when I was a kid. Because of this, I expected the movie to ruin Cap's character and core values, but the Russo brother's pull it off. The film portrays the Man-Out-Time aspect flawlessly, even better than many of the comics. Captain America's soldier aspects still resonate today as he can still relate to modern war vets and the film explores that element. Also, unlike basically every other hero, Captain America is a different type of hero. He is a soldier, and he kills without remorse because this is war.
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow is brilliantly realized in the film. While she is ever so slightly different than how she was in The Avengers, she is allowed to be a little more playful and fun, yet still entirely BA. The Winter Soldier has been compared to the T-1000 from Terminator 2, and that is an accurate comparison. He is the best Marvel villain since Loki, and his backstory is well portrayed. Sam Wilson / Falcon is given a lot of great characterization as well. As to not spoil anything about the film, this is the end of the character discussions.
Action: 10/10- Wow! Just wow! Not since The Avengers have I been this impressed by the action scenes of a film. The fight choreography is simply stunning! Captain America's fight style is fully realizing and perfected. His fighting style is brutal, and he does not hold back. Cap kills a lot of people and the movie does not hold back in terms of violence either. For the first time since The Avengers, I was complete and utterly involved in the action scenes. I literally moved around in my seat while watching the movie during the action scenes without even realizing it for a while. Dare I say that the action is the best that I have seen in an American action movie?
Acting: 10/10- Chris Evans owns the role! He steps up his acting big time as he is finally able to truly embody the character of Captain America. Scarlett Johansson continues to remind me why she is my favorite young actress in the business, as she makes Natasha Romanoff fun yet BA. The actor for The Winter Soldier is incredibly menacing, but I will not name the actor because that would be spoilers. Samuel L. Jackson actually underplays his role brilliantly. This is one of his best performances I have seen from Jackson to date. Anthony Mackie also continues to remind me why he is one of my favorite underused actors, as he makes so much more of an impression than Iron Man's sidekick Don Cheadle. In addition all these great performances, Robert Redford's veteran presence is more than welcome, and the acting all around is just top notch.
Soundtrack: 9.7/10- While I would have liked Alan Silvestri to have returned to score the film, Henry Jackman's score fits the more political thriller nature of the Winter Soldier. Even though the soundtrack is not Marvel's best, it is real top notch material. Update: After listening to the entire soundtrack multiple times today while studying for college, I have to like the score significantly more. The simplistic tracks reminded me of something from the Terminator films, as it is used to enhance the viewer's experience of the film, particularly during the more tension filled scenes.
Humor: 8.2/10- Surprisingly, the film is low on humor. While there are a couple of jokes here and there as well as some great banter, (and the Stan Lee cameo!), the film was much more serious, which turned out to be for the best. Also, the running joke of Natasha trying to get Cap a girlfriend was great.
Overall: 10/10- Overall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the most flawless film that I have seen in a long time, and it actually has a strong message. There is absolutely nothing that I can complain about in the film. I do not give out 10s lightly with only eleven films to ever reach such a high ranking, and with its powerful themes and expert characterization, The Winter Soldier is more than deserving of such a ranking. While The Avengers is still Marvel's best, The Winter Soldier is a true game changer that sets itself apart from all other comic book movies and movies in general.
Closing comments: If you have not seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, stop whatever you are doing and go see it now! Seriously, go watch it! Even if you somehow dislike the story, the action and overall entertainment is more than worth your time and money. But honestly, my review does not do the film nearly enough justice. Like the Matrix, "You have to see it for yourself."
Recommended for: Everyone, Marvel fans, Action fans, Thriller fans,
Please check back tomorrow and Thursday for a discussion of the secrets and the after credits scene.
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