Okay before we go any further, this is a full review of Winter Solider. If you have yet to see it:
And one more time for those of you who may not get the joke:
Okay at this point, anything you are reading that spoils anything in Captain America: The Winter Solider is your own damn fault. I’m also going to assume that a majority of you reading this have seen the movie and for whatever reason, are interested in what I have to say about it so I’m not going to do a total rehash of the plot.
First off, AWESOME! It’s the easiest way for me to sum up how I felt after I finished the film. It was completely satisfying from start to finish. It’s one of the few times that I’ve seen a film in the past few years where I really considered getting back in line and seeing it again right then and there.
In terms of the Marvel franchise (or franchises I suppose would be a better term), the first Captain America was my favourite. Captain America: The First Avenger got everything right about what I wanted from a WWII Captain America film. Winter Solider managed to duplicate that experience for me. Everything I wanted out of my modern era Cap film was in Winter Solider.
Falcon? Check. Conspiracy? Check. Arnim Zola? I can’t tell you how surprised I was to see him show up and how they updated the idea of Zola was really well done so check. Crossbones? A bit modified but he’s in there as a bad ass but Check. Hell, Batroc the Leaper is in the movie and he’s even played by someone who’s French! Okay so it’s Quebcois french and an MMA fighter, but still!
The Winter Solider is done really well done. I love how there wasn’t an instant switch flipped of “Hey you’re right, I am a good guy” and kudos to Sebastian Stan for packing on the muscle and just getting the walk of a total bad ass down. Anthony Mackie really got Falcon. It felt like Falcon to me and I think the Ultimates version of the flight gear was a perfect match for the film. And for those reviewers out there who commented that Scarlett Johansson was just there as eye candy, what movie were you watching? I love how Widow is used. She actually has something to do for one. Yeah, she is extremely hot in the film but she actually has a bit of character. I even wondered for a little bit if we could trust her (remember in the Ultimates, she ended up being a traitor) because of how she was delivering her lines and her facial expressions. Robert Redford was a great casting choice as well. A little disappointed he didn’t turn out to be Red Skull, but still enjoyed it.
And finally, I wanted bits of my favourite runs on Cap. Steranko, Gruenwald and Brubaker. I wanted this to be the BEST of Cap and I pretty much got it. While the movie isn’t a strict adaptation of anyone’s run, you can feel everyone’s work in it. Brubaker’s (not surprisingly) is the strongest felt but there are elements of the aforementioned writers in the film. The main stops are the same, the bus just takes a different route to get there.
What really surprised me was how well Anthony and Joe Russo put it all together. I’ll be honest, I thought it was an odd choice when Marvel announced them as directors. Two guys who worked on Community and Arrested Development were going to be handling such a big action film? And I don’t mean to sound like a jerk because honestly, comedy is hard to get right, but a film like this where you have to serve so many masters and such a big production, it’s a lot to take on and they did so wonderfully. My one and only complaint would be less shaky cam in the action sequences (but to be fair, we had terrible seats at an IMAX screening so that probably didn’t help). Beyond that, I felt everything was handled well.
Now the question is, where do they go from here?
The obvious choice would be The Death of Captain America. We’ve got the Winter Solider in play now and after Avengers 2, it wouldn’t be a bad direction to go. You could also have Rogers make the ultimate sacrifice in Avengers 2 or 3. Speaking of which, I can’t come to a definite conclusion but to me, a lot of the computers (especially Fury’s truck) sounded an awful lot like Jarvis? If so, we may have gotten our first glimpse of how Ultron might become a huge threat (my working theory is that Ultron is going to end up a corrupted version of Jarvis since we know Stark is most likely his creator and Hank Pym is not). The Infinity gem building blocks for Avengers 3 are also slowly moving into place.
In total, a great fun action film that makes me look forward to next marvel installment, Guardians of the Galaxy.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!