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Five Views: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

April 4, 2014

The Winter Soldier Poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – A Walt Disney Release

http://marvel.com/captainamerica

Release Date: April 4th, 2014

Rated PG for intense sequences of violence

Running time: 136 minutes

Anthony Russo (dir.)

Joe Russo (dir.)

Christopher Markus (screenplay)

Stephen McFeely (screenplay)

Henry Jackman (music)

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce

Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow

Maximiliano Hernández as Jasper Sitwell

Emily VanCamp as Kate

The Winter Soldier

©Walt Disney Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Our reviews below:

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review By John Corrado

**** (out of 4)

I love having my expectations exceeded by a film, and left the theatre blown away by Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The fallout of The Avengers is felt throughout this spectacular sequel, a followup to that superhero ensemble from 2012 that is also a direct continuation of the events first set in motion during WWII in the first chapter of the Captain America saga back in 2011.

Still adjusting to life in the 21st century, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. under the command of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who is expected to take orders from the powerful chairman Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford).  But when he starts to realize that things might not be as they seem behind the scenes of the government organization, Captain America teams up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as they face a new threat from the mysterious Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), a ruthless assassin with a surprising backstory.  These heroes also enlist the help former soldier Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who becomes the Falcon.

You could take any one of the set pieces and call it a standout, as Captain America: The Winter Soldier offers a thrilling mix of martial arts and machine gun fire that is grittier and more visceral than what we usually see in superhero movies.  There are even influences of The Raid that are particularly felt during an expertly choreographed fight aboard a cargo ship that happens near the beginning of the film, allowing directors Anthony and Joe Russo to perfectly set the stage for things to come.  This is a very grounded world where even the good guys can get hurt, and these raised stakes allow the fights scenes to become even more brutal.  The actors all rise to the challenge with excellent performances, including another movie star turn from Chris Evans.

The results are exhilarating, an exciting piece of action filmmaking that takes the Marvel franchise in a surprisingly bold new direction, and could easily become a classic of the superhero genre.  As more twists are revealed, a genuine sense of suspense starts to ratchet up, and the plot becomes surprisingly intricate with overtones of a political thriller.  There are some big ideas at play here about the information age and corrupt government, as Captain America: The Winter Soldier raises powerful questions about freedom being compromised in the name of safety, drawing fascinating allegories to current events.  The stunning last act will carry over to next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Although Captain America: The First Avenger was a 1940s period piece and very much an origin story, it’s amazing how much that film set the stage for this sequel.  Dark, violent and even thought provoking, while still managing to breathlessly entertain, Captain America: The Winter Soldier ranks alongside the first Iron Man and The Avengers as one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

Very much connected to the original Captain America film, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier we catch back up with Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) a couple years after The Avengers.  He is solidly working with S.H.I.E.L.D., running hostage rescue missions for them, and ultimately continuing to make the adjustment to his modern-day existence.

But when dark secrets are revealed and a bounty goes out on Cap’s head, he finds that there are very few people he feels he can truly trust.  And it falls to him and Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) to try to hunt down and stop the mysterious assassin known only as ‘The Winter Soldier’.

This is an action movie through and through.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes a very different tone at times to some of the other Marvel films, and this is a good thing.  It keeps the series of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) feeling fresh.  Right from the get-go, we are faced with a lot of hand-to-hand combat, and it feels gritty and real.  The stunts are very well choreographed and performed, and the filming perfect for this style of film.

There are also elements of a political thriller here and questions to be had about power and justice, as themes emerge of right and wrong and what is the price we should allow ourselves to accept for keeping the world safe and free.  While most have gradually accepted the modern way of dealing with things, Cap sees it as a bit of an outsider, still trying to make sense of this new world.  And in this way, he doesn’t blindly accept that the new way is right.  Throughout the film we are entertained, but also given the opportunity to think about the themes along with the characters.

There isn’t much more I can say without spoiling anything, as there are numerous plot twists and turns as the film keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Sharply written and directed, The Winter Soldier is a top of the line action movie.  And I’m excited to see what the reveals in this film mean for where Marvel will have to take things next.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier ties up many of the loose ends from the first film.  After Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) free fellow agents from a pirate takeover, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) reveals S.H.I.E.L.D.’s plan to install Project Insight, a program to neutralize threats before they happen.  This idea of punishment before the crime doesn’t fit well with Steve Rogers’ morals, and when the mysterious Winter Soldier’s (Sebastian Stan) identity becomes apparent, things seem to be even more complicated.

I won’t say too much about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  What I will say though is that this is an awesome and fun, yet also dark, spy action movie.  Captain America, Black Widow and The Falcon are all really cool.  The friendship’s between them are believable, and there is a playful chemistry between Captain America and Black Widow.

The Winter Soldier, like the first Captain America, does have mostly non-graphic yet realistic violence, and therefore is best for viewers twelve to adult.  However, for teens and adults, this is an intelligent action movie that is detailed, fast paced and fun.  Be sure to stay through the entire credits.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Back in the 1940s when Steve Rogers/Captain America became a U.S. soldier, conflicts were more straightforward and who was the enemy was a lot simpler.  Flash forward to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a post-Avengers, post alien invasion U.S.A., and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) finds himself conflicted and nostalgic for simpler times.  Visits to an old friend and visits to the Smithsonian Museum’s Captain America and WWII exhibit only reinforce that things have changed.

This time around, Captain America is called in by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to rescue fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are being held hostage on a ship by French pirates led by Batroc (George St. Pierre).  With Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannsson) also on the rescue team, Captain America displays some really impressive one-on-one combat skills to take down the pirates.  As always, Black Widow holds her own when it comes down to fighting off bad guys.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier turns political thriller when World Security leader Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) is concerned about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Project Insight, Nick Fury is warning Steve Rogers not to trust anyone, and a mysterious Russian-trained assassin with a killer metal arm, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is practically unbeatable.  Captain America has to rely on his own instincts and combat skills, along with Black Widow and his American soldier friend Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), to save the world from major destruction.

This is a surprisingly smart and exciting action-packed thriller.  The hand-to-hand combat scenes and violence levels are definitely amped up from the first Captain America movie.  There is one scene where Captain America takes on a whole packed elevator of people that is intense and impressive.

As the plot unfolds and the many twists and turns revealed, Captain America still maintains the same morals and values that made him a hero in the ’40s.  His scenes with Black Widow and Nick Fury help reveal more of who Steve Rogers is as a person.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is up there with The Avengers as one of Marvel’s best movies.  Everything ties together nicely in terms of story and if like me you’re a fan of the Captain America/Steve Rogers character, this movie doesn’t disappoint.  If this is a lead up to Avengers: Age of Ultron, then we’re in for a real treat.  As always, stay right through the end credits.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the first sequel to Captain America, with Chris Evans returning as Steve Rogers/Captain America, along with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and a new friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie).

The S.H.I.E.L.D. council chaired by Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) is about to deploy a worldwide system of surveillance and preemptive neutralization of threats that Rogers finds disturbing. When the whole operation is compromised, Rogers and Romanoff find themselves on the run as targets of a mysterious enhanced assassin known as The Winter Soldier, with surprising links to the storyline of the previous film.

Directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, CA2 is an intelligent thriller that relies much less than other Marvel features on fantasy and CGI, using live action wherever possible. As in all good speculative fiction, the themes it deals with are mainly plausible, in the present as well as the future, and all the more disturbing for that. Excellent production, a fine cast, and well paced and written script balanced between plot, action and suspense make for a satisfying experience for a general audience, and I understand (as an outsider) that comic fans would largely approve of the adaptation of the source material.

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Consensus: With exhilarating action sequences and a surprisingly smart screenplay full of twists, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a spectacular sequel that takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe in exciting new directions. ***3/4 (out of 4)

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