Review By: Nathan Ligon
It is safe to say that just about everybody who will be reading this review has seen ‘The Avengers’ at least once or perhaps a hundred times. The movie is the third highest grossing movie in history and one of the most beloved movies I can think of by fans around the globe. Given that fact, it is no small thing to write that the latest sequel to that film, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, is the best yet. As a matter of fact, it might be the best of all the non-Avenger movies in this Marvel Universe. It’s just really good.
There are a lot of reasons for this. The first being the old school political thriller aspect of the films plotting. To those that are familiar with older movies like ‘All the President’s Men’, this movie will feel like a blast from the past. The young folks that have not seen any old political thrillers are in for a treat. Sadly, they won’t realize where this fresh feeling of inquiry into the dark world of covert espionage and intelligence abuse came from, but hopefully someone tells them. It be great if this movie led to young people watching old films.
The next thing I liked so much was the way that this film used it’s plot as a way of critiquing the current state of intelligence gathering in this country. It is always admirable when any movie uses it’s medium to make a point on important topics, but it’s pretty rare for these movies to do so. The original. ‘Iron Man’ did in a very thin way , but before this movie it was only ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ that truly dug into the current state of our world in a big and impactful way. That movie hit on a number of subjects that were all over the map, but this movie is interested in our intelligence and military action. It will be clear to most that SHIELD is like the NSA and the helicarriers are our drones. Just watch. You’ll get it.
Then there is the action. The movie truly delivers on multiple levels with its action. On the one hand, it is filled with plenty of high flying visual effects and the stuff with the new character (Anthony Mackie plays The Falcon) flying around is pretty cool. However, the most exciting stuff is the real stuff. The very first action scene involving the Cap taking out dozens of baddies on a boat is bone crunching. There is enough hand to hand combat in this film to fill up the rest of the action movies you are likely to see this summer. Yet, the movie doesn’t stop with that. There are several awesome car chases, explosions, car crashes, and a fantastic scene in an elevator that you will not soon forget.
The story surrounding the latest adventures of Captain Steve Rogers (played wonderfully by Chris Evans) is quite the interesting one. Steve is a man from another generation and trying his best to fit in with the new forms of covert warfare. Yet, he is growing tired of the way Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is micro managing his operations and leaving out key bits of information. When Cap confronts him about it he finds out that there is a lot he is not being told. The biggest of those things being that SHIELD is creating the ultimate helicarrier to take out their enemies before those enemies commit crimes.
Cap is uncomfortable with this and begins to seek a change in his life by visiting a museum dedicated to him, an old flame, and a veterans group that is led by his running buddy, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). None of this really fixes the problem and when Nick Fury turns up in his apartment covered in blood from an attempted assassination by his own people, Cap finds out that he cannot fully trust anyone at SHIELD. He soon finds himself on the run from SHIELD and the only person he might be able to trust is his Avengers buddy, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson as a more human Black Widow).
The rest of the film is filled with some intense action sequences, flawless special effects, and a thriller aspect of putting the pieces of the puzzle together that is a delight to watch. Truthfully, this movie flows so well that I don’t think I ever seized to be entertained. I was a little upset with the new score by Henry Jackman. It is certainly a bit uninspired and it seems silly for them to kill his memorable theme, but that doesn’t take away much from the film itself. The whole thing moves so well and keeps you following the plot so intricately that you won’t care about technical stuff until after it’s over.
Mostly, you will just want to sit back and enjoy the ride. The latest film in the Marvel Universe is easily one of the best and leaves you ripe for the new Avengers flick.