Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson
It’s not a secret that I loved Captain America: The First Avenger. It might have been a surprise (at least to me) at how much I connected with Steve Rogers, but there was nothing about that movie that I wasn’t going to love. Superheroes, WWII films, action/adventure; yep, Captain America was always going to be one of my favourites of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So it also shouldn’t be a surprise that I had high expectations for The Winter Soldier. When the title was announced, I had only just recently read the comic on which it was based, and had fallen completely in love. Cue even higher expectations.
And to say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier lived up to those expectations doesn’t begin to do it justice.
For 136 minutes, I was completely immersed in a world of intrigue and politics and heroes and villains and characters that I knew nothing about, yet completely fell in love with.
Steve Rogers was the perfect mix of man out of time and adjusting to the modern day. His list of things t0 learn about made me snort with laughter. The banter with Natasha was just the right level of platonic flirting and annoying sibling. His interactions with Sam were dead on. And Steve and Bucky. Every moment between the two was perfection.
The Winter Soldier was appropriately terrifying and heartbreaking.
Black Widow got to shine, both as a spy and a superhero, while still shown as being human.
Falcon was the standout though. I didn’t know anything about Sam Wilson going into the movie; now I want to know everything. He was the outsider, and the audience got to experience events through him, with no idea what was going to happen next.
But what really made the movie work was the story. Lines of dialogue that force you to think. And even though you hear a lot of them in the trailers and commercials, hearing them in the context of the film makes them even more powerful. And while the plot was brilliant, it’s the characters that make all the difference. Even though most viewers know who the Winter Soldier is (and I won’t say it, just in case someone doesn’t know yet), when you see the realisation through Steve’s eyes, it’s completely believable. You don’t need to be surprised, and at least in my theatre, no one was, but you need to believe that the characters are, and that’s what Captain America: The Winter Soldier nailed.
So the question that keeps coming up. Is Winter Soldier better than The Avengers?
My opinion, yes. The Avengers makes me happy, but Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a movie that doesn’t rely on being a superhero film; it’s just a fantastic movie. One that comics fans can enjoy and appreciate alongside the non-comics audience.