Still attempting to adapt to the new world, Capt. Steve Rogers is confronted with the challenges of freedom, safety, and trust regarding his employers, peers, and a Soviet engineered assassin in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I have been excited for this one for quite sometime and without beating around the bush, it didn't disappoint. It avoided the drag that The First Avenger ran into and engaged the audience thoroughly. Move over Avengers because Captain America now has the best Marvel movie to date.
What I loved most about this movie is the intensity was brought to another level and it was a pretty thrilling movie in terms of the plot. It was political and challenged the viewer in terms of not really knowing who the enemy was. All the way up to the end you have a lot of questions and you don't really know who's side is right and I loved that a lot.
The casting was spot on and the continuing characters, minus Scarlett Johansson, were even better in this movie. I exclude her because truth be told, Black Widow was a lot easier to watch in previous Marvel flicks. She felt forced and boring to me in this one. Robert Redford was a powerhouse, Sebastian Stan was great, and Anthony Mackie was a very pleasant surprise. Falcon was well executed as was The Winter Soldier.
As far as the plot goes, I think this was the most well executed aspect of the film. Like I said, it was interesting and engaging and it really kept your attention. Captain America is faced with the question of whether S.H.I.E.L.D. was really in the best interest of freedom, and himself, or not. To see your main character question his place in the world is one thing, but to see him question his trust in his own country and its leaders was a whole other emotion.
I also liked how we got to see Steve's full, super soldier potential in this one. He was jumping, running, and punching his way through just about everything. His abilities were definitely more inclusive and apparent in this movie over The First Avenger and The Avengers.
Now, there is one thing that legitimately surprised me. This serves as a disclaimer to those reading this who haven't seen it yet or are planning to take their children... there is a higher level of violence. A much higher level of violence.
Marvel movies are no stranger to fights, explosions, and car crashes but this movie seriously takes the cake. In addition to all of that we have people getting shot by fully automatic weapons, blind kills, hundreds being killed on the street at random, bombs, knife fights, brutal human on human beatings, and point blank executions. There were some little kids in my theater and I noticed parents walking them out during a couple of the major fight scenes and bringing them back after things calmed down. It definitely earned the PG-13 and I bet if there would have been blood included in all of it the film would have received an R-rating based on violence alone.
I'm not one of those people who advocates for less violence in film because I know it's pretend, but I think it could have been toned down a bit due to the nature of what these Marvel films are. People are taking their kids to see these movies because they are comic book superhero movies. When you have random people being thrown off rooftops and getting thrown into a burning jet turbine you are pushing the line a little bit. I've read a couple spoiler reviews since seeing it and I'm not the only one who walked away with a comment on the amount of violence this movie contained, so just a heads up if you're planning on taking any small kids to see this movie. It is a violent one and it's not the same as Thor throwing his hammer at a bunch of CGI creatures or Iron Man blasting some with his beams. It is continuous person on person violence often resulting in death. Don't bring your kids and say you weren't warned.
I don't want to spoil the rest of anything, so I will stop here. If you want to read on you can click the jump below the image. There I will discuss the plot in more detail along with the mid-credit and post-credit scenes.
Overall I would now list Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the best Marvel movie to date. Sorry, but it was better than The Avengers.
More into the actual plot line, I liked how they are keeping certain things locked into certain storylines. The galaxy type stuff is staying with Thor, the science stays with Iron Man, and Hydra is staying with Captain America. I loved the tie in between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra. It worked on so many levels and by the time you get to the main climax of the plot, it makes sense and you can connect the dots set in place within the other Marvel movies. The reveal of Robert Redford being the head of Hydra and using Nick Fury to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't necessarily surprising, but the level of determination and evil was. The way Hydra was embedded into S.H.I.E.L.D. was somewhat fascinating and it makes you wonder if that tie in is going to be used in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. I say that because of the mid-credits scene.
This scene gave us the first official look at "the twins." By that I mean none other than Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. We are led into a dark basement where we see the nemesis of Captain America and new leader of Hydra, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, revealing they still have possession of Loki's scepter from The Avengers. After being told the failure to overtake S.H.I.E.L.D. was detrimental, he leads us to side by side jail cells holding Magneto's mutant children. He says the world is no longer full of heroes or spies but is full of miracles. You see Quicksilver bashing into the walls at super speed while Scarlet Witch is playing with wooden cubes and levitating them into the air. Seeing that Fox owns the rights to X-Men and the term "mutant," that is why "miracles" was used and it is assumed that any mention of Magneto will be nonexistent. Marvel has most likely adapted a new backstory for these two characters. Either way, it is assumed it will mimic their comic arcs where they go from bad to good.
We already have confirmation that all three characters will appear in The Avengers: Age of Ultron so it is possible that the scepter will be used to unleash yet another galactic army onto Earth, and could also tie in events to take place in Guardians of the Galaxy, or could reveal that Ultron is yet another Hydra weapon to be used against Earth and The Avengers. Another important thing to mention is the scepter likely holds one of the Infinity Stones which is a direct lead into Thanos. No telling yet when Thanos is set to fully appear, but all the pieces are slowly being put together for him. So far the other two pieces of the Infinity Gauntlet (aka, the Tesseract and the Aether) have been exclusive to Thor's world.
The post-credits scene was a bit smaller and leaves us completely in the dark regarding the intention and whereabouts of The Winter Soldier (aka, Bucky Barnes). We see Barnes exploring the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian where he sees a picture of himself next to Steve and fully immersed into World War II.
One theory floating around is this is a lead into the comic arc where Bucky takes over the duties and becomes Captain America. Chris Evans has hinted at retiring from the character after his contract is up, so if Sebastian Stan is up for it we could very well see him take over the reigns as Captain America before too long.
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