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Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Mar. 24, 2014by: JimmyO

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PLOT: After helping to save the world in THE AVENGERS, Steve Rogers has settled into a life working for S.H.I.E.L.D. Yet after a dangerous mission and one of his allies is hurt, he soon faces the realization that there are deeper and darker forces that look to change the world as we know it. As well he faces a familiar name from his past that may lead to his own destruction.

REVIEW: There has been a lot of hype behind the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. With a solid trailer and that exciting extended preview that took place in an elevator with Cap vs. Frank Grillo and a team of tough guys, I had high hopes for the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The question is did the sneak peek represent the movie as a whole? And the answer is, yes, very well in fact. This excellent sequel is even better than I had expected thanks to Anthony and Joe Russo giving the film an impressive human element, while still being able to sell the massive action set pieces. THE WINTER SOLDIER may not be at quite the level of THE AVENGERS, but it comes very close.

When we meet up with Steve Rogers, he is adjusting to life after the cataclysmic events in THE AVENGERS. In the opening scene of THE WINTER SOLDIER our hero is first introduced to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) who is no match when it comes to Rogers during a morning run. From the first few moments it is clear the script will give a lot of focus to character as much as action. Some of the most charming bits involve Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) trying to set Cap up on a date, but not to worry, the excitment picks up quickly when Rogers and Romanoff are sent along with a strike team to rescue hostages on a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship under attack. After this intense sequence, Rogers soon discovers that he must be weary of whom he trusts.

To delve too deeply into the villains and the story would be a disservice to anyone looking to go into this story fresh. While THE FIRST AVENGER played with that pulpy sort of adventure, the latest film is played feverishly well as an espionage thriller that harkens back to the Seventies. It even stars the great Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, one of the top brass of S.H.I.E.L.D. who was a staple in such political thrillers as THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR and ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN. By taking this approach in a modern world there is an interesting dynamic for Rogers. When he is assigned to a case he often finds the means to an end are frustratingly against his own moral code.

The idea of handing over the directing reins to Anthony and Joe Russo seemed like a risky one. Sure they have had major success with “Arrested Development” and “Community” but neither of those seem like preparation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, much like Joss Whedon, they bring a sense of energy and fun to the characters involved. The two also manage to create an impressive look for the film with full realization of the importance of its visual scope as well – although the screening I went to wasn’t in 3D so I can’t comment on that aspect.

As far as the main players involved, you could almost consider this as Black Widow’s story in addition to Captain America's. Ms. Johansson has a major role in the film and it is nice to see her utilized as well as she is. It is especially great to see her and Chris Evans work this well together as they have developed an incredible chemistry, one that is extremely prevalent here. As for Evans, the actor has ingratiated himself into Rogers perfectly. Whether he is in superhero mode or simply a man not sure of his purpose, he makes for a compelling screen icon.

This feature of course sees the return of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury – who plays a very important role in the proceedings - as well as Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill. We also see a very unique return for actors from CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER including Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola and, of course, Sebastian Stan who makes for a striking WINTER SOLDIER. New and equally strong cast members include the previously mentioned Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/The Falcon who is going to earn a lot of cred from his terrific work here.

Without revealing too much, the villains in WINTER SOLDIER are unusually well drawn for a Marvel flick. Aside from possibly Tom Hiddleston as THOR’s brother, Loki, the big bads are generally not utilized well in these films. That is not the case here, especially during the third act when the big reveals come into play. And let this be said, the reveals are huge, and will drastically change the way we see this cinematic (as well as the television series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) world progress. I know they must have planned this out, but damn did it get me curious to see what the hell is going to happen in the future for Cap and friends.

To be frank, I was introduced into the Marvel world through its feature films. I was never really a comic connoisseur. However during the past few years I have found them to be an interesting world to explore. When it comes to Marvel Studios, I tend to enjoy nearly all of their films, even ones that don’t necessarily live up to the old-school fans expectations. Yet, with its story based on Ed Brubaker's “The Winter Soldier” storyline, I have a feeling that many of those fans who were turned off by the twist in IRON MAN 3 will have greater pleasure from CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. This is a solid piece of filmmaking that may manage to satisfy fans of the original story as well as general audiences looking for a smart and satisfying comic book movie.

Between this and THE AVENGERS, I am still leaning towards the Whedon directed feature as my personal favorite – of course that could change with time. WINTER SOLDIER did at times feel a bit long and the score by Henry Jackman was a bit uninspired, never lifting me further into the film. Still, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is an impressive film and one of the best that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer. Most importantly it has me completely invested in where these characters will go next. Be prepared for a game changer!

Here's JimmyO's Video Review!

Extra Tidbit: At this point is it even necessary to recommend you stay for the end credits?
Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
3:05PM on 05/15/2014

Some of the most annoying quick cuts ever! Could not make out what was happening in majority of fight scenes. Also, a terrible lacking of the film's subtitle reference in the film.

I finally saw this sequel, after all the buzz, and I gotta say I'm not that impressed with the film. I don't get what all the buzz was surrounding this film? The story is good, all but one of the twists was good (Fury was too predictable), I enjoyed the chemistry between Chris and Scarlett, and I loved the connections to the first film, especially the secret villain plot. Hell, I even like Robert Redford in the film. So why did I not like this film? This film had so many pointless camera tricks
I finally saw this sequel, after all the buzz, and I gotta say I'm not that impressed with the film. I don't get what all the buzz was surrounding this film? The story is good, all but one of the twists was good (Fury was too predictable), I enjoyed the chemistry between Chris and Scarlett, and I loved the connections to the first film, especially the secret villain plot. Hell, I even like Robert Redford in the film. So why did I not like this film? This film had so many pointless camera tricks it was annoying. At one point, the camera is setup behind some office furniture focusing on Evans face while he talks to Redford about what Fury was doing at Roger's apt. 1/4 of the screen was cropped off at the bottom, which I thought was a projector problem but realized it was the camera hiding behind furniture forthe point of view of some midget in the scene? Throughout the film's action scenes the camera crew, using free range cameras, runs along side the actors. The images shake, with quick edit cuts all over the place! I could barely make out what was happening in the action scenes. I've said it before and I'll say it with Captain America 2, there is not point in having non-stop quick shaky edit cuts during fight scenes which take place at night! How can I be amazed with the action of this Action film, when I don't know what the hell these characters did? Also, it bothered me that the Winter Soldier, who was badass, doesn't come face to face with Captain America for a solid hour and a half to hour and forty minutes in the film. Batman had more screen time in The Dark Knight Rises than this villain who the film's subtitle is named after!
This sequel is better than the original in so many aspects, but it's so not in the argument of camera style and editing.
A solid 6 maybe 7 at best.
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-1
9:08AM on 03/30/2014
F-ing awesome movie! Marvel rules!!!
F-ing awesome movie! Marvel rules!!!
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7:04AM on 03/29/2014

9/10 from me as well

One of the best Marvel movies to date, on par with the first "Iron Man". I still prefer "Avengers" (10/10), but this is such a well-crafted movie, it's irresistible to movie fans in general, not only fans of Marvel Cinematic Universe. With an atmosphere that reminds me of Tom Clancy novels, the movie has great action scenes, exquisitely choreographed fights, and especially great chemistry between Cap and Natasha (I read that both actors wrote the dialogue between their characters, and it
One of the best Marvel movies to date, on par with the first "Iron Man". I still prefer "Avengers" (10/10), but this is such a well-crafted movie, it's irresistible to movie fans in general, not only fans of Marvel Cinematic Universe. With an atmosphere that reminds me of Tom Clancy novels, the movie has great action scenes, exquisitely choreographed fights, and especially great chemistry between Cap and Natasha (I read that both actors wrote the dialogue between their characters, and it shows).

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has deep repercurssions for upcoming movies (Avengers 2 and Cap 3) and also for the TV show.

I dare say, the best movie of 2014 so far. Not to be missed.
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3:00PM on 03/27/2014

what a blast!!

just came back from a midnight screening..the reviews hype is true..a 9/10 for n
me also..cant wait for cap 3
just came back from a midnight screening..the reviews hype is true..a 9/10 for n
me also..cant wait for cap 3
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10:31AM on 03/26/2014

Mind Blowing!!!

Just got back from seeing Cap,amazing movie. Roll on Age of Ultron. More Falcon please.
Just got back from seeing Cap,amazing movie. Roll on Age of Ultron. More Falcon please.
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10:43AM on 03/25/2014
like Tina answered I am dazzled that some people can get paid $6372 in one month on the computer . navigate to this site http://tr.im/4zxqm
like Tina answered I am dazzled that some people can get paid $6372 in one month on the computer . navigate to this site http://tr.im/4zxqm
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5:59PM on 03/24/2014
So Cap 2 almost as good as the Avengers?! That's great to hear....which means Eric will hate it and say that Rise of the Silver Surfer is a better movie.
So Cap 2 almost as good as the Avengers?! That's great to hear....which means Eric will hate it and say that Rise of the Silver Surfer is a better movie.
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3:02PM on 03/24/2014

I'm caution

I went to see Iron Man 3 with high hopes and you're 9/10 in mind and was hugely dissapointed. So I'll be careful and woun't get my hopes up this time.
I went to see Iron Man 3 with high hopes and you're 9/10 in mind and was hugely dissapointed. So I'll be careful and woun't get my hopes up this time.
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5:11PM on 03/24/2014
I definitely liked Iron Man 3 more than a ton of people, but I have a feeling this one will play better to comic fans.
I definitely liked Iron Man 3 more than a ton of people, but I have a feeling this one will play better to comic fans.
5:55PM on 03/24/2014
Jimmy0 reviews are usually 95% right, if this was Eric reviewing I would be worried.
Jimmy0 reviews are usually 95% right, if this was Eric reviewing I would be worried.
5:57PM on 03/24/2014
Also if you saw the new one shot they fixed the big twist issue, which probably makes it better to watch Iron Man 3
Also if you saw the new one shot they fixed the big twist issue, which probably makes it better to watch Iron Man 3
9:53AM on 03/25/2014
I agree. Iron Man 3 was such a HUGE let down, and not just the twist. The whole thing was a slapstick comedy crapfest. After that and Agents of Shield (thankfully Thor: TDW was better than those) I have low expectations for Marvel films, feels that all of them will be geared towards 7 year olds now. I am really hoping this one does have the dramatic weight it needs and isn't too cutesy.


As for the Marvel One Shot.....who gives a shit. That shows they know they screwed up and are
I agree. Iron Man 3 was such a HUGE let down, and not just the twist. The whole thing was a slapstick comedy crapfest. After that and Agents of Shield (thankfully Thor: TDW was better than those) I have low expectations for Marvel films, feels that all of them will be geared towards 7 year olds now. I am really hoping this one does have the dramatic weight it needs and isn't too cutesy.


As for the Marvel One Shot.....who gives a shit. That shows they know they screwed up and are desperately trying to fix it for their core audience. Quite frankly, they should have known better to begin with and NOT let that twist happen in the first place.
11:50AM on 03/24/2014
You know, they should make a TV show based on this. You know, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Oh... right.

So what happens when Evans doesn't want to do these movies anymore? Will Jeremy Renner star in Captain America 4: The Rogers Legacy?
You know, they should make a TV show based on this. You know, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Oh... right.

So what happens when Evans doesn't want to do these movies anymore? Will Jeremy Renner star in Captain America 4: The Rogers Legacy?
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2:29PM on 03/24/2014
Read a comic
Read a comic
12:16PM on 03/26/2014
I'd ask you to read a comic but that would require literacy on your part.
I'd ask you to read a comic but that would require literacy on your part.
7:03AM on 03/29/2014
No, he's telling you to read a comic because something like like that happens in the books (bit spoilery, but Cap gets "replaced").
No, he's telling you to read a comic because something like like that happens in the books (bit spoilery, but Cap gets "replaced").
10:41AM on 04/03/2014
"I'd ask you to read a comic but that would require literacy on your part." Charming.
"I'd ask you to read a comic but that would require literacy on your part." Charming.
11:40AM on 03/24/2014

Lol

Jimm-o reviewing marvel films cracks me up, I'll take this with a pinch of salt and wait til I see the film.
Jimm-o reviewing marvel films cracks me up, I'll take this with a pinch of salt and wait til I see the film.
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2:45PM on 03/24/2014
I completely agree. The guy doesn't know the difference between rice krispies and rat shit.
I completely agree. The guy doesn't know the difference between rice krispies and rat shit.
9:49PM on 03/24/2014
People have different opinions about films. Some people like films while others will dislike the same films. It is just how the world is. Not everyone will love the same thing. That'd make life boring.
People have different opinions about films. Some people like films while others will dislike the same films. It is just how the world is. Not everyone will love the same thing. That'd make life boring.
11:29AM on 03/24/2014
I also am stoked to hear this review. Especially the humanist element that Jimmy mentions. The first Cap is my favorite Marvel Studios film so far, because it did bring a different stylistic element to the Marvel universe. Yes, the others are good, but The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, they just feel like colorful comic book movies to me. I want a comic book movie that sets itself apart from the rest, and this definitely sounds like it fits the bill, which is what I was hoping and expecting
I also am stoked to hear this review. Especially the humanist element that Jimmy mentions. The first Cap is my favorite Marvel Studios film so far, because it did bring a different stylistic element to the Marvel universe. Yes, the others are good, but The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, they just feel like colorful comic book movies to me. I want a comic book movie that sets itself apart from the rest, and this definitely sounds like it fits the bill, which is what I was hoping and expecting from the trailers. But I'm surprised, no mention of the credits scenes Jimmy?
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10:30AM on 03/24/2014

Great review!

But can we please please PLEASE stop hearing about the Mandarin twist already?
But can we please please PLEASE stop hearing about the Mandarin twist already?
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10:42AM on 03/24/2014
Trying to forget it happened? Or are you like me and actually liked it;)
Trying to forget it happened? Or are you like me and actually liked it;)
9:43AM on 03/24/2014
This review has solidified my excitement.
This review has solidified my excitement.
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+1
8:52AM on 03/24/2014

Excellent!

Very happy to hear this, I cannot wait!
Very happy to hear this, I cannot wait!
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8:38AM on 03/24/2014
Great review! Also read one from IGN saying that the Winter Soldier is one hell of a villain in the film.
Great review! Also read one from IGN saying that the Winter Soldier is one hell of a villain in the film.
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8:15AM on 03/24/2014

WOW!!

DId not expect this at all....I really need to see this now.!!
DId not expect this at all....I really need to see this now.!!
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11:07AM on 03/24/2014
What rock have you been living under?
What rock have you been living under?
4:48AM on 03/24/2014
I enjoyed it immensely and gave it the same rating. Fully agree with the review, JimmyO. One of the criteria on which a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie can be judged is has the status quo changed? At the end of Winter Soldier, you can bet it has. Theres a colossal upheaval and the stage is set for further adventures. I think it concluded with just the right balance between "here's the end of a self-contained adventure for Cap" and "oh, but there are places to go yet." It's really
I enjoyed it immensely and gave it the same rating. Fully agree with the review, JimmyO. One of the criteria on which a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie can be judged is has the status quo changed? At the end of Winter Soldier, you can bet it has. Theres a colossal upheaval and the stage is set for further adventures. I think it concluded with just the right balance between "here's the end of a self-contained adventure for Cap" and "oh, but there are places to go yet." It's really well-written, there's a very appropriate sprinkling of humour and I absolutely enjoyed how Sam Wilson/The Falcon was handled, as someone who can aid Cap in his mission but who is also a welcoming, steadfast friend. The dynamic between Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff was also pulled off impeccably, I was worried that she might "steal Cap's show", but she didn't and the buddy cop style relationship felt like a natural place for these two characters to go. Also, I don't want to spoil it, but just keep your eyes peeled for a Pulp Fiction reference.

SPOILER (and a message for JimmyO)

It's probably just how I feel, but I think you should leave out the mention of Toby Jones returning as Arnim Zola. For me, that moment was a really effective surprise, I wasn't expecting it at all.
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4:23AM on 03/24/2014
Great and accurate review! Saw it a few weeks ago and its been slight torture not being able to talk about because its too good to ruin, particularly the "game changing" aspects which will be fun to speculate on once its out. I agree that it gets very close to Avengers level of satisfaction and will most likely surprise a lot of people. Its not just a good comic book or MCU film...its a good film period. And Mackie was fantastic as Falcon!
Great and accurate review! Saw it a few weeks ago and its been slight torture not being able to talk about because its too good to ruin, particularly the "game changing" aspects which will be fun to speculate on once its out. I agree that it gets very close to Avengers level of satisfaction and will most likely surprise a lot of people. Its not just a good comic book or MCU film...its a good film period. And Mackie was fantastic as Falcon!
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+2
3:00AM on 03/24/2014
Great to hear. I actually wasn't all that thrilled by the first Cap Am, but this seemed like a very solid action film. I am glad it has more depth to it. It's also nice to see that Marvel's success with theses films continues.
Great to hear. I actually wasn't all that thrilled by the first Cap Am, but this seemed like a very solid action film. I am glad it has more depth to it. It's also nice to see that Marvel's success with theses films continues.
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2:37AM on 03/24/2014

Excited

Can't wait! Seeing the review posted surprised me... after waiting so long it's hard to believe it's almost here!
Can't wait! Seeing the review posted surprised me... after waiting so long it's hard to believe it's almost here!
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2:36AM on 03/24/2014
Glad to read the great review. This movie has looked and sounded awesome from day one and the more I hear about it, the more I can't wait to see it. Love the fact that it is as big as the Avengers, even though it's only a solo Avengers film.

This film is my most anticipated film of the year and I'm expecting to have my mind blown by this film. Captain America is also my favorite Avenger and because of that it's great to see him get a terrific sequel to First Avenger after getting so many of
Glad to read the great review. This movie has looked and sounded awesome from day one and the more I hear about it, the more I can't wait to see it. Love the fact that it is as big as the Avengers, even though it's only a solo Avengers film.

This film is my most anticipated film of the year and I'm expecting to have my mind blown by this film. Captain America is also my favorite Avenger and because of that it's great to see him get a terrific sequel to First Avenger after getting so many of his scenes cut in The Avengers.

Also can't wait to see how this film shakes up the Marvel Universe from here on out.
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2:34AM on 03/24/2014
Man, I'm so psyched for this movie!
Man, I'm so psyched for this movie!
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+1
2:10AM on 03/24/2014

Captain America

To be honest, I am more excited for this than I was for Iron Man 3.
Good to see Cap't getting good reviews, it seems like it's getting better and better, while Iron Man has gone a bit Average in my opinion
To be honest, I am more excited for this than I was for Iron Man 3.
Good to see Cap't getting good reviews, it seems like it's getting better and better, while Iron Man has gone a bit Average in my opinion
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