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Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Eric Walkuski's take)

Apr. 3, 2014by: Eric Walkuski

Read JimmyO's review here

PLOT:Captain America, while attempting to lay low in Washington D.C., must come to the aid of a fallen S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague when the entire organization becomes compromised. Meanwhile, a menacing assassin attempts to put Cap and his cohorts out of business permanently.

REVIEW: Simply put, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is the best Marvel movie not called THE AVENGERS. It’s fast, clever, intense and overflowing with “holy shit!” moments. It easily surpasses the original in every department, and succeeds in making the character of Captain America a) the most interesting and sympathetic of The Avengers, and b) a splendid hero capable of propping up his own franchise for years to come. The Marvel movie universe is a wonderful thing, of course, with its intertwining stories and characters, but thanks to this energetic and poignant sequel, I’m now more invested in the Captain’s world more than any other.

Whereas the first CAPTAIN AMERICA brought us a combination of a 1940s war movie and underdog story, THE WINTER SOLDIER is a different beast altogether, reminiscent of a 1970s political paranoia thriller complete with espionage, an untrustworthy government, double agents, spy games, corrupt bureaucrats and a very small band of heroes risking their lives to expose the truth and save their country. Of course, the film also has the requisite amount of visceral comic book mayhem and fun - it never forgets to be fun - but there are very real issues and ideas being explored in THE WINTER SOLDIER that sets it apart from the rest of its Marvel brethren. Who would have thought we’d leave a superhero movie thinking about national and personal security?

Even the film’s plot brings to mind those aforementioned subversive 70s thrillers, with a scheme to take over the highest levels of S.H.I.E.L.D. directly affecting the safety of the world and the lives of Captain America and his comrades, specifically Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Cap’s new best friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). After several supposed allies turn out to be working for the nefarious HYDRA organization, which has firmly ensconced itself into S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America must track down the source of the betrayal and the solution to stop a global killing spree. Conspiracies, betrayals and dire revelations abound.

Standing in Cap’s way is a fearless, seemingly robotic assassin, The Winter Soldier. (Minor spoiler alert if you have absolutely no idea what the deal is here.) The Winter Soldier is in fact Cap’s old friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who, thought dead, was actually reprogrammed by HYDRA’s chief scientist Dr. Zola (Toby Jones) and transformed into a lethal killing machine. It certainly adds to Cap’s litany of problems that he may be forced to kill his former best friend in order to save millions of lives.

Marvel, never missing an opportunity to go about business in an unorthodox manner, has hired the Russo brothers (Joe and Anthony) to direct this wily story of intrigue. On the surface an unlikely selection - the guys are best known for their work on comedy series like “Arrested Development” and “Community” - but once again the studio hits the nail on the head with their choice. The action here is crisply directed and often seriously nerve-jangling; a shoot-out/throwdown on a freeway is chock full of eye-popping car flips and flying bodies, the stakes of the chaos never seeming anything less than critical, while a car chase featuring Nick Fury’s attempted escape from a band of hitmen is an absolute knock-out, one of the best car chase sequences in recent years.

And the finale? The finale is blockbuster spectacle of the highest order, one that will have you practically ready to leap into a standing ovation.

What’s especially effective about THE WINTER SOLDIER is that an element of, dare I say, realism is injected into the action. This movie kills a whole lot of people, a good number of them innocent bystanders, and somehow it doesn’t come off as frivolous: it connects with you that a lot of terrible things are being unleashed in the streets and airspace of Washington. that said, the film effortlessly brings us into comic book situations which are glorious to behold, especially when multiple helicarriers take to the air and are subsequently boarded by Cap and friends. The visual effects here are amazing, the new benchmark for the Marvel franchise.

But none of it wold really work if you didn’t care and root for these characters, starting with Cap. Cap truly is the heart and soul of the Avengers, his morals beyond reproach and his commitment to good unwavering. Despite his extraordinary powers, Steve Rogers is a complex individual, still stuck in the past while struggling to adapt to the present. A brief scene between he and an older (much older) Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) carries more emotional heft than most films of this ilk do in their entirety. It’s likely Chris Evans won’t get enough credit for giving Rogers as much depth and humanity as he does, but I’m extremely grateful the character is so much more than a choir boy.

The inclusion of Sam Wilson/Falcon is welcome, and almost vital, giving us a “superhero” is who essentially just an everyman. Sure, he can fly (thanks to mechanical wings that unfold from what must be a very heavy backpack), but the character hasn’t seen it all before like almost everyone else in the film, which keeps the adventure semi-grounded. It should also be noted that it’s just damn cool when he weaves and darts through the air; some of the movie’s most thrilling visuals come courtesy of Falcon’s aerial acrobatics.

And as if the film needed more clout, it features Robert Redford in a role seemingly tailor-suited for him. The star of THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR and ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN certainly is at home wading through government conspiracies, and the sly old actor appears to be having a ball playing Alexander Pierce, about whom the less said, the better. These Marvel movies have consistently assembled great casts, each movie touting an admirable mix of veteran thespians and younger stars, but Redford could be the studio’s greatest casting coup to date.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is outstanding entertainment; every summer movie this year - hell, next year too - has been put on notice.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
3:01PM 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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2:49PM on 04/03/2014
Caught it last weekend (one of the benefits of living in the UK). It's a good movie, and handles most of its characters well. I'm not spoilering anything but one of my favourite scenes involved the reappearance of a character from the first movie, and I really hope they continue his evolution in future Marvel films or the next Cap sequel.
I still prefer the Winter Soldier storyline from the comics, but despite its differences the movie has a fun narrative and does a good job balancing the
Caught it last weekend (one of the benefits of living in the UK). It's a good movie, and handles most of its characters well. I'm not spoilering anything but one of my favourite scenes involved the reappearance of a character from the first movie, and I really hope they continue his evolution in future Marvel films or the next Cap sequel.
I still prefer the Winter Soldier storyline from the comics, but despite its differences the movie has a fun narrative and does a good job balancing the comicbook and more real world aspects. I'm still not 100% sold on how they portray Cap's abilities in these films, but Winter Soldier is their best stab at selling him as a supersoldier so far.
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11:44AM on 04/03/2014
I need to see this movie bad folks. Reading reviews like this is actually torture by this point.
I need to see this movie bad folks. Reading reviews like this is actually torture by this point.
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10:24AM on 04/03/2014

Redfords role was worse than Mandarin...

My only complaint about the movie is Redford. There is all this mystery about him being a super villain or something other than a normal guy and its just a dead end. There is no surprise behind his character.
My only complaint about the movie is Redford. There is all this mystery about him being a super villain or something other than a normal guy and its just a dead end. There is no surprise behind his character.
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11:43AM on 04/03/2014
He's not an alien or a mutant or has superpowers? Thank God actually.
He's not an alien or a mutant or has superpowers? Thank God actually.
5:01PM on 04/03/2014
Thanks for that you fucking dickhead
Thanks for that you fucking dickhead
9:18AM on 04/03/2014
I appreciate that the critics really like the film. I am excited to see it. I won't nominate it as the greatest superhero film of all time until I can judge for myself. I won't let the power of the critics sway my judgement. Overall it sounds like a good film.
I appreciate that the critics really like the film. I am excited to see it. I won't nominate it as the greatest superhero film of all time until I can judge for myself. I won't let the power of the critics sway my judgement. Overall it sounds like a good film.
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11:35AM on 04/03/2014
really? you won't declare it the greatest super hero movie of all time without actually seeing it? what tremendous principles you have. what else won't don't you do? are you going to wait to declare the tiramisu at the new Italian restaurant down the street the best tiramisu of all time until after you actually taste it? amazing.
really? you won't declare it the greatest super hero movie of all time without actually seeing it? what tremendous principles you have. what else won't don't you do? are you going to wait to declare the tiramisu at the new Italian restaurant down the street the best tiramisu of all time until after you actually taste it? amazing.
3:08PM on 04/03/2014
LOL
LOL
7:36AM on 04/03/2014
As much as I actually liked Iron Man 3, controversial plot elements and all, I've had serious superhero movie fatigue. Every bit of news that has come out, every new release, has left me more and more apathetic. But from the trailers and the reviews, it seems that Captain America 2 may be just the movie I need to get me excited for superheroes on screen again.

To say that I am pumped would be something of an understatement.
As much as I actually liked Iron Man 3, controversial plot elements and all, I've had serious superhero movie fatigue. Every bit of news that has come out, every new release, has left me more and more apathetic. But from the trailers and the reviews, it seems that Captain America 2 may be just the movie I need to get me excited for superheroes on screen again.

To say that I am pumped would be something of an understatement.
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5:19AM on 04/03/2014
Sounds splendid but I doubt it will surpass Iron Man 1 for me; the only perfect superhero movie along with The Dark Knight.
Sounds splendid but I doubt it will surpass Iron Man 1 for me; the only perfect superhero movie along with The Dark Knight.
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3:06PM on 04/03/2014
IRON MAN 1 is so fucking overated, it's ridiculous.
IRON MAN 1 is so fucking overated, it's ridiculous.
4:38AM on 04/04/2014
Is it, though?
Is it, though?
+1
5:16AM on 04/03/2014
Favourite Marvel movie thus far - I look back at it...and think...no...there's nothing that bothers me about it....a point that has affected every other Marvel movie I've seen to date...other than...Norton's Hulk. The difference being, I didn't enjoy Hulk on first showing as much as I enjoyed Winter Soldier. The movie more than made up for Roger's deleted (but depressingly meaningful) scenes in Avengers' Assemble...god they were good and would have produced a lot of the same feelings I guess
Favourite Marvel movie thus far - I look back at it...and think...no...there's nothing that bothers me about it....a point that has affected every other Marvel movie I've seen to date...other than...Norton's Hulk. The difference being, I didn't enjoy Hulk on first showing as much as I enjoyed Winter Soldier. The movie more than made up for Roger's deleted (but depressingly meaningful) scenes in Avengers' Assemble...god they were good and would have produced a lot of the same feelings I guess many will get from the character of Rogers in Winter Soldier. Still, I wish they'd never have been cut from that movie. We're several episodes behind in the UK on the Agents of Shield but I really can't wait to see how the events in this movie play out there - jeez man...it's amazing how these movies have recreated the feeling derived from reading several different comic books based in the same universe!
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3:05PM on 04/03/2014
You're totally right. I miss reading comics, but now marvel has replicated that addicting experience on celluloid and TV and it's great.
You're totally right. I miss reading comics, but now marvel has replicated that addicting experience on celluloid and TV and it's great.
+2
2:21AM on 04/03/2014
Im from Mexico and i saw this last monday ... men this is a great spectacle ... thnks Marvel and DC please, please check this and give us some at same level ...its so much to ask for...
Im from Mexico and i saw this last monday ... men this is a great spectacle ... thnks Marvel and DC please, please check this and give us some at same level ...its so much to ask for...
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2:12AM on 04/03/2014
Great review and loved the film! I do think you should put a spoiler alert on the mid section of your review (if its okay for me to say). I saw the film without knowing any of those things and it came like a revelatory baseball bat to the face. I'd say the less people know about the plot the better.
Great review and loved the film! I do think you should put a spoiler alert on the mid section of your review (if its okay for me to say). I saw the film without knowing any of those things and it came like a revelatory baseball bat to the face. I'd say the less people know about the plot the better.
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7:29AM on 04/03/2014
I agree on that spoiler part. It hit me in the same way but it seems like open information in this review so I was just wondering if I was out of the loop or something...
I agree on that spoiler part. It hit me in the same way but it seems like open information in this review so I was just wondering if I was out of the loop or something...
1:50AM on 04/03/2014
ok im really looking forward to seeing this and gotg
ok im really looking forward to seeing this and gotg
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12:59AM on 04/03/2014
I went with a 9 out of 10 too. I lean more towards the action thriller genre than the fantasy epic one, so I did like this more than Thor: The Dark World. It's very entertaining, maintains a strong sense of continuity, is appropriately funny without going all slapstick (keep an eye peeled for the Pulp Fiction reference) and introduces a bunch of really cool characters. The Falcon, Batroc the Leaper, Sharon Carter, Brock Rumlow...it's a rush.
I went with a 9 out of 10 too. I lean more towards the action thriller genre than the fantasy epic one, so I did like this more than Thor: The Dark World. It's very entertaining, maintains a strong sense of continuity, is appropriately funny without going all slapstick (keep an eye peeled for the Pulp Fiction reference) and introduces a bunch of really cool characters. The Falcon, Batroc the Leaper, Sharon Carter, Brock Rumlow...it's a rush.
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12:10AM on 04/03/2014
I think this film will end up being one of the greatest superhero films of all time and dare I say better than The Dark Knight in being the best superhero film of all time.

But yeah, I'm seeing this Thursday night and excepting to have my mind blown multiple times over and over while watching this. So glad to see my favorite Avenger and one of my favorite superheroes of all time having the best solo Avenger film of either phases so far. Can't wait.
I think this film will end up being one of the greatest superhero films of all time and dare I say better than The Dark Knight in being the best superhero film of all time.

But yeah, I'm seeing this Thursday night and excepting to have my mind blown multiple times over and over while watching this. So glad to see my favorite Avenger and one of my favorite superheroes of all time having the best solo Avenger film of either phases so far. Can't wait.
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12:22AM on 04/03/2014
Whoa la mon homme. There is no review ANYWHERE that is claiming that this movie is anywhere close let alone better than the TDK trilogy. Its unanimously agreed to be the best Marvel movie theyve released. Lol
Whoa la mon homme. There is no review ANYWHERE that is claiming that this movie is anywhere close let alone better than the TDK trilogy. Its unanimously agreed to be the best Marvel movie theyve released. Lol
12:31AM on 04/03/2014
Ha. One can dream.
Ha. One can dream.
2:10AM on 04/03/2014
In a way though the Dark Knight is not a bad comparison to this film. Not that they're similar stories/ tone but that for a sequel this film is light years ahead in quality and character over a lot of others of its kind. Not to mention like the Dark Knight it bears societal relevance and poignancy. Loved it!!!
In a way though the Dark Knight is not a bad comparison to this film. Not that they're similar stories/ tone but that for a sequel this film is light years ahead in quality and character over a lot of others of its kind. Not to mention like the Dark Knight it bears societal relevance and poignancy. Loved it!!!
4:26AM on 04/03/2014
To be fair he did say the best single superhero movie, to which suddenly became this movie VS TDK trilogy.

Hi, I am 1 of 10 people who thought that Nolan's Batman trilogy, specifically The Dark Knight is the most over-rated movie of all time. Sorry Nolan but the only good (above an 8) movie you have ever made was your first movie, and you suck for never working with Guy Pearce again. To add injury to insult the only movie from his trilogy I would give a passing mark too is Dark Knight Rises.
To be fair he did say the best single superhero movie, to which suddenly became this movie VS TDK trilogy.

Hi, I am 1 of 10 people who thought that Nolan's Batman trilogy, specifically The Dark Knight is the most over-rated movie of all time. Sorry Nolan but the only good (above an 8) movie you have ever made was your first movie, and you suck for never working with Guy Pearce again. To add injury to insult the only movie from his trilogy I would give a passing mark too is Dark Knight Rises. And it gets a 6.

So I already think the first Cap is better than any of the DK movies.

And I shared this opinion in a reply so all the butt-hurt batman fans can't vote me down hahaha.
5:18AM on 04/03/2014
Batman Begins is by far the best live action Batman movie there's ever been and for me is up there with the likes of Winter Soldier as the best comic book movie I've seen.
Batman Begins is by far the best live action Batman movie there's ever been and for me is up there with the likes of Winter Soldier as the best comic book movie I've seen.
5:31AM on 04/03/2014
Agreed Riz Man, I thought the Dark Knight was shadowed by the death of Heath Ledger and it somehow propelled it into this region of greatness, when really I thought Batman Begins was the closest we have ever got to seeing a spot on representation of the Dark Detective onscreen. Shame the Syncopy group couldn't have done a better job with Man Of Steel. Havent seen Winter Soldier yet but getting stoked to see it after hearing good things.
Agreed Riz Man, I thought the Dark Knight was shadowed by the death of Heath Ledger and it somehow propelled it into this region of greatness, when really I thought Batman Begins was the closest we have ever got to seeing a spot on representation of the Dark Detective onscreen. Shame the Syncopy group couldn't have done a better job with Man Of Steel. Havent seen Winter Soldier yet but getting stoked to see it after hearing good things.
6:36AM on 04/03/2014
TDK was a good movie...a realistic take on Batman the heist and gangster tone of the movie was marvelously done and HL's Joker was just out of this world but Batman Begins did it all first - what motivated a man to do what he did...all the training Wayne goes through...and mistakes he makes...the brilliant dialogue with Ra's al Ghul (I love that scene on the ice..."Anger does not change the fact that your father failed to act" what a brilliant scene), Alfred scolding Wayne following his rescue
TDK was a good movie...a realistic take on Batman the heist and gangster tone of the movie was marvelously done and HL's Joker was just out of this world but Batman Begins did it all first - what motivated a man to do what he did...all the training Wayne goes through...and mistakes he makes...the brilliant dialogue with Ra's al Ghul (I love that scene on the ice..."Anger does not change the fact that your father failed to act" what a brilliant scene), Alfred scolding Wayne following his rescue of Rachel, Wayne's explanation of the bat to Alfred, the jump from the GCPD showing Wayne he needed better equipment, the brilliantly hysterical yuppie portrayal of Wayne at the dinner party by Bale...and a very cool one line answer to end a comic book movie..."And you'll never have to"...awesome stuff :o)
10:35AM on 04/03/2014
Personally, Batman Begins is my favorite film out of the Nolan trilogy and the only reason I said The Dark Knight for Best Superhero Film of all time was because it's held higher in that regard.

But for everyone who replied with Batman Begins, I agree whole heartedly.
Personally, Batman Begins is my favorite film out of the Nolan trilogy and the only reason I said The Dark Knight for Best Superhero Film of all time was because it's held higher in that regard.

But for everyone who replied with Batman Begins, I agree whole heartedly.
2:59PM on 04/03/2014
Batman Begins may be a good film, but best Batman film, come on guys. TDK and TDKR blows that film out of the water. Whenever TDK or TDKR are playing on TV, I stop and become mesmerized. Maybe it's because I'm not an origin kind of guy when it comes to superhero moies because I find them boring. i already know what happens to them, so I kind of don't give a shit. Maybe it's the Villains. TDK and TDKR had great Villians. BB, not so much. Maybe it's the scale of the sequels. Or maybe they're just
Batman Begins may be a good film, but best Batman film, come on guys. TDK and TDKR blows that film out of the water. Whenever TDK or TDKR are playing on TV, I stop and become mesmerized. Maybe it's because I'm not an origin kind of guy when it comes to superhero moies because I find them boring. i already know what happens to them, so I kind of don't give a shit. Maybe it's the Villains. TDK and TDKR had great Villians. BB, not so much. Maybe it's the scale of the sequels. Or maybe they're just better, more entertaining, fun movies. Yeah, that's it. I'm going to go with that.
12:33AM on 04/04/2014
Dark Knight is the greatest of all time. Story wise, acting, directing, metaphors, cinematography. I've easily seen it thirty times.
Dark Knight is the greatest of all time. Story wise, acting, directing, metaphors, cinematography. I've easily seen it thirty times.
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