FILM REVIEW: ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’

*WARNING: SPOILERS!*

Captain America: The Winter Soldier completely redefines the playing field for what a successful superhero movie should be. Since the creation of Marvel Studios there has never been a better movie than the new saga about America’s illustrious Captain, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). Filled with action-packed excitement, heart-wrenching drama, and exceptional visuals, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has completely reset the stage for every superhero movie that will ever follow.

This newest installment in Marvel’s Phase II is adapted from the comic book story arc called The Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker. The movie holds true in many ways to the comic by re-introducing Captain America to his long lost war buddy and childhood friend, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). During his captivity with Hydra during the first Captain America movie, Barnes undergoes numerous test and experiments from Hydra’s Dr. Armin Zola (Toby Jones) that starts the process of turning him into the Winter Soldier. Having thought his comrade perished, Steve Rogers deals with intense emotions and horrors of the past when he realizes that his once friend is now his greatest enemy. Having his memory completely wiped and being under the control of the evil terror organization, The Winter Soldier is the first villain to actually match the strength and tenacity of Captain America.

The Good – The acting in The Winter Solder is the best cast of a Marvel movie outside of The Avengers. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) return with the addition of Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to fight alongside Captain America. While the “good guys” in this movie are cast perfectly, the “bad guys” in this film bring to life the villains of Captain America in a very unique way. The union of villainy in this movie is concrete and not over the top considering the number of villains. Obviously, the Winter Soldier is the primary villain, but this film is filled with some of the Captain’s most hated foes. French pirate, Georges Batroc (Georges St-Pierre) and Dr. Armin Zola can be silly villains or even stupid at time in the Captain America comic books, but their transformation to the big screen makes them believable and scary.

My favorite part of this movie was that I finally got to see Captain America fight. In all his previous movie appearances, I felt that too much time was dedicated to developing him as America’s favorite son or when his buddies were off fighting he was stranded on the ground somewhere away from the action. The Winter Soldier lets Captain America live and breathe what he knows – being the world’s greatest super soldier. The addition of The Falcon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally gives Captain America someone that is always on his side. It provides him with a connection to another soldier that understands the pains and the cost of victory in protecting America’s freedom.

The Bad – The only bad thing about this movie is that S.H.I.E.L.D. is corrupt and doesn’t like to play nice. The Winter Soldier brings Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) to the forefront as a major player in the government’s top secret agency. Sorry for the spoilers, but Hydra has over the past 50 years figured out a way to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. and used the organization as a way to propel them towards world domination. Things get nasty fast and Captain America catches on to the virus within S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty quick.

My only minor disappointment with this movie was the downplay of Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) and I know that she will be further developed in future films. For those that don’t understand my frustration here, Agent 13 is the grand-daughter of Captain America’s WWII sweetheart, Peggy Carter and he eventually has a thing with her. I guess that my greed got a hold of me when I realized that halfway through the movie that she was only going to be a minor character. That is completely fine because her lack of time on screen is compensated with all things Captain America.

The Final – As I have previously stated, this is the superhero movie of all superhero movies. There are questions left unanswered, but they are because the writers want it to be that way. I never really felt like I was looking for more than what was presented to me. Even the minor little hidden gems that are in every Marvel film are pretty noticeable. Mentions of Stephen Strange and the after credit scenes with the Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver elude to the “what’s next” for Marvel Studios.

I have seen this once and definitely plan to see it again. Something about this movie just makes me proud to be an American and I have the sudden urge to carry a shield with me to work. If you are a comic book fan or just a lover of the Marvel movies, you will not want to miss Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I heavily support Chris Evans in this role and hope Marvel continues to develop their films to be more like this one. On behalf of the staff at Bag & Bored, I easily give this movie a “Bag it!”

Special thanks to Marble’s IMAX (www.raleighimax.com) in Raleigh for letting us view this movie.

___________________________

GalenGarner-biopic-small

Galen is a Graphic Designer in Wake Forest, NC. He is the husband of a wonderful Oklahoma girl and dad of a future Marvel Comics fan. He enjoys comic-related anything, the Boston Red Sox and sharpening his axe for the zombie apocalypse.

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