The first CAPTAIN AMERICA movie, in my opinion, was a disappointment. The CGI was a cloud hanging over the entire film, delegitimizing the reality they wanted us to experience. Everything about that first Captain experience was underwhelming and silly. But the character found his footing in THE AVENGERS, and this second solo film promised to bring a stronger presence.


I watched CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014) on 1.24.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

Filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo made a few key decisions which help elevate the second CAPTAIN AMERICA film to a loftier perch. First, they did as much as they could with actual actors and objects. While there is a fair amount of CGI in the movie, much of the action feels more grounded due to the fact that we are seeing actors perform stunts in a real space wearing real clothes and handling real props. This is the opposite of the first film, where CAPTAIN AMERICA would be running down a street filled with CGI buildings and surrounded by CGI explosions.

Second, they found a large name to play the villain. And not a large name who does this sort of film every few years in order to bankroll his other films (like Glenn Close specifically stated in an interview for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY), but a name which is held in the highest regards in terms of quality: Robert Redford. As the uber-villain Alexander Pierce, Redford demands immediate respect and holds immediate power. He is friendly in the first act, but his reveal as the villain early in the second act is absolutely expected. Wether feigning goodness or demonstrating villainy, he grounds a film filled with costumed super heroes.

In this story, Captain America (Chris Evans) sees his boss, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), survive an assassination attempt. More come, and the Cap finds that the only person he can trust is his old friend Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson).He also recruits a former soldier, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) Together, they go after political villain Pierce and a more physical villain called the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

The action sequences in this are frequent and solid. THE AVENGERS raised the bar for Marvel action movies, and this second CAPTAIN AMERICA film isn’t afraid to embrace that challenge. Some of these films, particularly the early SPIDER-MAN films were filled with safe destruction where lots of explosions occur, but the actual death toll is low. As these Avengers movies have gone on, the body count is rising. The stakes are high, the violence feels real, and the casualties are many.

That isn’t to say that this movie doesn’t know it. Both Scarlett Johannson and Anthony Mackie provide some humor. There are bits of levity in the moments preceding the action, particularly in the build up to an elevator fight. And the movie has enough fun to put, on Nick Fury’s tombstone, the famous Samuel L. Jackson line “The path of the righteous man.” This, all around, is a really fun movie to sink into and allow to work its entertaining magic.

As the story builds, there is plenty more Avengers stuff to do. Now that I am caught up with all of the Marvel Universe films, I’m looking forward to what comes next!




FINAL SCORE: 7.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on January 25, 2015.

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