Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Could you please hold this shield while I punch you in the face?


I had serious issues with ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’.  What started as a really incredibly mapped out origin story (with some superb visual effects) fell flat in the end as it tried to cram everything into the remaining minutes, making the film come off rushed and unfocused.  I just couldn’t rally behind it, and despite all the raves and beloved notices from fans, I was left feeling it was below its potential and a wasted effort.

In fact, most of the recent Marvel outpourings have left me feeling like they were wasted opportunities.  It’s not that I hated them, but the massive amounts of buzz and legions of fans had me always expecting something more than I got.

You know, except for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, which was a masterpiece of genre.

So it was with this expectation of being underwhelmed that I sat down with the bestie to watch ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’.  Yes, I was seeing it for the hype, despite my adverse reaction to the hype of its predecessors.  Yes, I was seeing it for the reviews, which were remarkably good.  Yes, I was seeing it at the prodding of the guy sitting next to me on the couch.  But let’s be honest here; I was seeing this for Scarlett Johansson.



I have to say, this far surpassed my low expectations.  It was far more focused throughout than the first film, and while some it felt a little overlong (I guess that would be the opposite problem than the first film), it all came together in a really tightly wound and visually expressive package.  The choreographed fight scenes were astonishing, the detailed visual effects (those explosions, car chases and superhuman abilities) and most importantly, the expertly handled storyline give ‘Winter Soldier’ an edge over the other superhero sequels that were polluting the theaters this year.  Anchored by a real superhero (which I am fully convinced Chris Evans is) and littered with great supporting performances by Johansson, Jackson, Mackie and a surprisingly loose Robert Redford, ‘Winter Soldier’ has a lot going for it.

And let’s just establish now that this contains the greatest car chase scene in the history of modern cinema and one of the coolest elevator sequences ever included in film.


I admit that I’m not the greatest judge when it comes to Marvel films, since I really have only loved two of them (‘Spider-Man 2’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’), but I have to say that ‘Winter Soldier’, while not perfect, feels like top tier Marvel.  With a plot that feels gritty and honest, falling more in line with a ‘Mission Impossible’ type spy film and less in line with an over-the-top nature of most Marvel films, this is a film that has a real punch and is one that I’ll remember for it.


I give this a B+.  It's a solid, really solid superhero flick that will keep you guessing and glued to what's happening next (I could get into the plot, but this is actually one that HAS a plot and a plot that is best left for you to find out).  I hope that Oscar gives this some attention in the Visual Effects category, but I have a feeling that this is looking at a big fan zero in the Oscar nominations department. 

14 comments:

  1. Good to hear because I dislike even the title of the first and second and that is just me...being me. I always feel like USA is a gorilla thumping its chest but I am not giving the film or anyone attached to it a chance. I got a part of the first film on TV and it did look quite good so I will have to give it a chance. i am surprised that Redford is in this and not one grey hair! :)

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    1. I never really followed the Captain America comics, but I was impressed (to a certain extent) with this film.

      And Redford most certainly hit the hair die.

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  2. While I think it's head and shoulders above the first one, I want the biggest fan of Winter Soldier. Evans is a God, sure, but I'm still placing Cap behind Iron Man, Thor, and maybe even Spidey.

    And while I dug the action...I think I saw this one near seeing the second Raid movie. So...yeah.

    Great post as always, Fisti.

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    1. I still haven't seen either of the Thor movies, but I'd place at least the first Iron Man over this, and the first two of Raimi's Spidey's for sure.

      I still need to see that Raid movie...

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  3. I liked it too, but I was a little letdown (B). Granted, it was well-made and very entertaining. I still prefer the first film though.

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    1. I think that the first half of the first film trumps the entirety of this film, but this entire film is better than the whole of the first, if that makes sense.

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  4. I really didn't like the first CA movie but this was much better. I liked the relationship between Widow and Cap in the movie, I did not like Scarlett's hairdo, though. I want the curls from IM2 back! Falcon was awesome, though, such a cool character and I liked his fight with Grillo near the end

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    1. LOL, ScarJo was stunning in Iron Man 2...those curls...just UGH!

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    2. I kinda have the same hair now but once I go in the wind and the rain it looks like Black Widow being captive in a dungeon for 10 years look.

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    3. LOL, I used to have hair...now I don't. It's a curse.

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  5. Great review! I really liked Winter Soldier, it's high on my Marvel list. The only thing I could really knock was Scarlett's wig distracting me. Why wouldn't they just give her the Avengers wig back? lol

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    1. It was a weird decision to have her change hair like that. It served no purpose...

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  6. After watching this for the first time, I remember sorta thinking to myself "Who says superhero films are just mindless popcorn films?" because I thought it was interesting how Winter Soldier was a solid action film yet also worked as a political conspiracy thriller. One od Marvel's better efforts.

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