Saturday, April 5, 2014

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Ever since Goldfinger hit screens in 1964, James Bond has been borderline superhuman. Over the years, we've seen a lot of superhero comics tropes integrated into Bond movies. And, of course, we've seen spy movies influence comics for decades.

"The Winter Soldier" might be the definitive word on that subject: it's a super spy thriller where the main characters are comic book superheroes. This is Roger Moore power-levels with a Daniel Craig tone - we've never gotten anything like that from the Bond franchise (or any other spy movie I can think of).

It is easily the darkest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date. The movie's got plenty of laughs, but the tone is several shades darker than what we're used to from Marvel. We've seen these characters fighting for the fate of the world in several movies, but this is the first time it felt like they were battling for the planet's soul.

Some aspects of that do get a little preachy, but then this is Captain America we're talking about: he's supposed to be a little preachy.

From a fan perspective, I was extremely happy with the portrayal of the film's substantially large cast. In addition to Captain America and the movie's title character, it included Black Widow, Falcon, Nick Fury, and Maria Hill in substantial roles. There were several other characters given smaller parts, including Agent 13 and Batroc the Leaper.

And, yes: Batroc does, in fact, leap.

I've seen some people elevate this above The Avengers. I think that's a tad generous, but I think it's got a solid claim to the #2 spot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sorry Iron Man fans: those movies are still great, but The Winter Soldier comes together better as a whole.

Without delving too deeply into spoilers, I'll also add this movie has some pretty big ramifications for the connected universe. It'll be particularly interesting to see where Agents of SHIELD goes from here.

Check this out as soon as possible. It's a great addition to the Marvel line-up. By now, I hope I don't still need to remind you to stick around through the credits. Just in case - don't leave. Because, if you thought it was impressive they were putting Batroc the Leaper onscreen, you haven't seen anything yet.

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