This is a spoiler-free review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

When the first Captain America movie came out, I was so surprised that I became such a huge fan of it. Going into it, I figured that as a Canadian, the whole rah rah rah AMERICUUUUUUH thing would grow tiresome very quickly. Patriotic music, flags boldly waving in the background, hokey dialogue and wars for the “cause” just didn’t seem to fit with my idea of a good time. Somehow though, Captain America defied all of the stereotypes that the title implies and made the character and the cast immediately beloved to me. Moreso than any other Marvel movie that came before it, watching Captain America was seeing a comic book come to life. It was like flipping the pages and smelling the new comic book smell as I watched it.

I’ve admittedly not read a whole lot of Captain America comics, but the movie made me feel like I’d been a lifelong fan.

Cue Winter Soldier, the first comic carrying the title of a comic that is actually a direct adaptation of that comic. Not just that, but it’s a direct adaptation of the comic with the comic book writer on board as a consultant for the film. Holy sh*t, right?! Between Marvel’s already nearly perfect movie formula and this additional ingredient, Captain America: Winter Soldier was bound to be fantastic even before it started being filmed.

After seeing Winter Soldier, the word fantastic does the movie absolutely no justice whatsoever. I loved every second of the movie from start to finish. The story, the dialogue, the pacing, the action, the cast… the whole freaking thing. Like the first movie, Winter Soldier is like reading a comic book on the big screen. You see the page layouts, you see the word balloons and the movie makes you feel like it’s just you reading your comic somewhere quietly and excitedly.

There are clichés and hokey bits that are scattered in the movie, but they fit in with Captain America and what he’s all about and Marvel seems to understand that you can’t just put together a comic book movie about superheroes without having fun with it. It pokes fun at itself and at the genre in a way that isn’t disrespectful and is more teasing instead. Falcon and Winter Soldier were so perfectly cast and portrayed on screen that despite my not having read much of anything with them in it, I once again felt like I’d had a connection to these characters for years and years.

Don’t let the title Captain America: Winter Soldier fool you one bit. Those may be the two headlining characters, but it seemed pretty obvious to me that this was a test to see how a Black Widow solo movie might fair. Natasha gets just as much screen time as the fellas and steals almost every single scene that she’s in by just kicking some serious ass. I’m not a huge Scarlett Johansson fan and while there’s probably other actresses I would’ve preferred to see instead of her, I will admit that she OWNS the role and she isn’t ScarJo pretending to be Black Widow in this film, she straight up IS the Black Widow.

My ONE nitpicky thing about the film is this: they spend so much time making the characters perfect. Black Widow is written with so much care, as she’s largely decked out in practical spy gear (sans heels, mostly) and the like. She’s the spy that might make mistakes but she gets the job done because she is damn good at her job. My one thing is that while they spend so much time making her believable in all those ways, they forget something silly like her hair. A spy wouldn’t go into a fight with long-ish hair flowing in the wind. That’s just stupid. All it takes in a fight is one of those dudes to grab onto her lovely, flowing locks and she’s either losing a chunk of hair or she’s going to be temporarily incapacitated. I know that she’s SO GOOD that they wouldn’t have a chance to grab her hair, but I feel like the character of Black Widow wouldn’t take a stupid risk like that just for the sake of looking good. I know it’s a silly nitpick, but I swear to god, this is the only thing that brought me out of the movie and made me think “Huh?” for a moment. You know, other than the one girl in the theater, who managed to not see any trailers apparently, and was still shocked at the reveal of who the Winter Soldier, shouting “HOLY SH*T!” in the moment.

Truly that’s my only nitpick about the whole thing and I feel like that’s none too shabby.

VERDICT
See it in theaters. Preferably right now and about 60 times afterwards. And then after you see it in theaters, go preorder your copy on Amazon and when it’s no longer in theaters, wait in front of your doorstep for your copy to arrive every single day until it does.

This is the best Marvel movie to date and that’s saying that after thinking they couldn’t top The Avengers. This movie has so much heart and so much brilliance in it that it’s hard to imagine that this is simply a comic book movie. There were several moments that involved me so emotionally that it caught me off guard (I’m looking at you, Peggy).

Oh, and just when I thought I couldn’t have loved the movie any more, I got to the midway credits scene and I actually started freaking out in the theater. Seriously, I was like shouting and fist pumping and stuff. There are witnesses. Scared witnesses. I haven’t been that excited about a sneak peak post-film ever. EVER! That scene (not the very end one…) might’ve been better for me than the entire Winter Soldier movie. It’s like everything in my life all of a sudden made sense.

In conclusion? Stop reading this and go watch it for yourself.

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One Response

  1. thisjohnd

    Stephanie,

    I totally agree with your thoughts on Winter Soldier. I felt that it was surprisingly good. I say “surprisingly” because I’m one of the outliers that didn’t love the first one, so I didn’t have as high of hopes for this one, but it worked for me. Even some of the hokier bits of dialogue and not so great acting. My only nitpicks have to do with the Winter Soldier himself and how the movie didn’t explain a whole lot of his origin, such as why he spoke Russian or that he kept getting cryogenically frozen after each mission only to be woken up years later for the same routine. The movie touched on it but I felt like it didn’t explain it enough for someone that hasn’t read the comic.

    My one and only disagreement with your review is actually that scene in the mid-credits. Personally I feel like Marvel should stop advertising for movies that are coming out that far in advance. I know it worked for the Avengers but take, for instance, the end scene in that movie. Is anyone but a diehard fan going to remember that Thanos appeared? As far as I know he’s not even going to be in the next Avengers, so what was the point? Thor 2 had the same problem by showing a character from Guardians of the Galaxy. I feel like these scenes are just meant for fans and leave everyone else behind. It seems like a post-credits scene would better service the next Captain America, in my opinion.

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