Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
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Overall Rating 78%
Overall Rating
Ranked #113
...out of 16,927 movies
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For Steve Rogers, awakening after decades of suspended animation involves more than catching up on pop culture; it also means that this old school idealist must face a world of subtler threats and difficult moral complexities. That becomes clear when Director Nick Fury is killed by the mysterious assassin, the Winter Soldier, but not before warning Rogers that SHIELD has been subverted by its enemies. When Rogers acts on Fury's warning to trust no one there, he is branded as a traitor by the organization. Now a fugitive, Captain America must get to the bottom of this deadly mystery with the help of the Black Widow and his new friend, The Falcon. However, the battle will be costly for the Sentinel of Liberty, with Rogers finding enemies where he least expects them while learning that the Winter Soldier looks disturbingly familiar. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: January 06, 2015
As the straight man of the Avengers, Captain America is sometimes lost in the discussion as the more colorful characters dominate the conversation. Don't let that fool you though, he's an absolute ass-kicker, and more than qualified to shoulder his own movie.

Since the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers has been Col. Fury's right hand man, handling S.H.I.E.L.D.s most difficult assignments. While I'm sure it quells his sense of duty, he's quickly growing tired of Fury's secrets and hidden agendas. After his latest mission hits a snag when Black Widow is off on a side-mission of her own, he's had enough and angrily demands answers from the man. In response, Fury shows him their newest invention. Project: Insight is three insanely armed helicarriers that can zoom in on a single human being from orbit. While the idea is to prevent acts of terror from happening by eliminating the terrorist before they can act, the very idea pisses Cap off to no end. How can S.H.I.E.L.D. take it upon themselves to execute criminals before their crimes? After he storms off, Fury returns to his work, only to find an anomaly in the computer. Seems Nicholas J. Fury has been locked out of some files by a executive by the name of "Nicholas J. Fury." If it wasn't already clear that there's a mole in S.H.I.E.L.D., the assassination attempt on his life that afternoon removes all doubt. The attack leaves him injured and alone, unsure of who he can trust. In desperation, he turns to the one man whose morals will always prevail: Captain America. However, this assignment may even be too much for him, as Fury's assassin turns out to be the Winter Soldier, a super-powered warrior who's missions have gone flawlessly for over 50 years.

Cap is back with an exclamation point! The opening scene has him running around a boat beating the shit out of an entire army. Each blow sent his adversaries flying, and I'll never tire of watching his shield pinball back and forth, dropping a handful of enemies with a single throw. If you're going to lead a group like The Avengers, you have to be one hell of a bad ass, and this movie leaves no question of that. This movie also delves into some personal stuff for Steve Rogers, and Chris Evans handles both sides beautifully. Plus, while he certainly doesn't need any help, he's got a few "sidekicks" to help them solve this mystery. One of which, of course, is the returning Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, once again played by Scarlett Johansson. Her hyper-agile fighting style is always a treat to watch, and Winter Soldier continues the trend of slowly fleshing out the character's mysterious past. While ostensibly a background character, Johansson has done wonders making Romanoff one of Marvel's more interesting characters. New to the fold is Sam Wilson, an ex-vet who's found a new lease on life after his military duties ended. He joins Captain as Falcon, named after the winged flight-pack he utilized overseas. He's played by Anthony Mackie, who excelled in the man-of-duty scenes, but Marvel felt it necessary to muck it up by giving him all these lame one-liners later on in the movie. I'd love to see more of Falcon in the future, I just hope they ease him out of the forced comedy relief role. I'm not saying making him absolutely stoic, the good-natured ribbing between him and Rogers was great, but those corny jokes have to stop.

The most prevalent theme through the movie is the realization that "good" and "bad" isn't so black and white after all. I was absolutely loving the way the movie was exploring these shades of gray, but I feel they took things just a bit too far. I'm not going to spoil it obviously, but suffice to say they left S.H.I.E.L.D. irreparably changed. It's certainly not a bad idea, but it's way too early in the franchise for them to take that route, in my opinion. I'd go so far as to say it should have waited until at least Phase 4 to drop that little bombshell. Word on the street is that Phase 3 is going to be the massive Civil War that dominated Marvel's comic books from 2006 to 07. I can certainly see how this movie's big twist is turning the franchise in that direction, but I feel like it's a bit early for that story arch as well. Oh well. At least we know it'll be a hell of a ride.

I had high hopes for Winter Solider, and even though it left me with some reservations going forward, it definitely didn't fail to please. 9/10. Now, let's get ready for Avengers: Age of Ultron!
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