While I can say in all honesty that Marvel studios has never made a bad film, their last two efforts at continuing the success of the smash hit Avengers have been rather underwhelming (Thor: The Dark World more so than Iron Man Three). Their latest film, however, is not only a far superior an effort than that of it’s two predecessors, but may in fact be Marvel’s greatest film to date as well as possibly one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a dazzling spectacle of exhilarating action, witty humor, wonderfully crafted characters and taut political intrigue. It follows the titular hero as he struggles to adjust to contemporary American society after being frozen alive since his heyday in World War II. There is an intriguing amount of subtext throughout huge movie regarding the moral ambiguity of a post-patriot act America, the pitfalls of a society so dependent on a digital, global network and even struggles of shell shocked soldiers returning to civilian life. The film establishes, quite expertly, a history around the legacy of Captain America, cementing him as the original, shining example of super-heroism. within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All this is achieved by the writer- director duo behind the scenes: Anthony and Joe Russo. Despite a background in comedy television, the two don’t miss a single step in the process of thrilling blockbuster making, while maintaining the humanity and charm of their earlier works (such critically acclaimed shows as Community and Arrested Development).
Chris Evans delivers an earnest, likable but stoic performance of Steve Rogers/ Captain America, effortlessly embodying the character. In point and fact the entire cast was firing on just the right cylinders. Anthony Mackie is a show stealer as newcomer to the franchise Sam Wilson/ Falcon. Meanwhile Scarlet Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson are the best they’ve ever been in the roles of Natasha Romanov/ Black Widow and as S.H.I.E.LD Director Nick Fury, respectively. Robert Redford brings the pedigree one would imagine from his involvement with charm and menace as World Security Councilmen Alexander Pierce. Without divulging too many spoilers, the main standout of these film, aside from its hero of course, is his villainous foil: The almost ethereal assassin known only as The Winter Soldier for much of the film. With few lines, the actor (who shall be go unnamed until the film is released) imbues the character with an indomitable menace and truly daunting threat to our heroes.
There is only so much I can gush over without spoilers so I’ll end it here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is fantastic. It has great performances, great directing, writing, action, everything. Go see it. And while I’m sure it goes without saying, as this IS a Marvel movie, but make sure you sit through the credits.