CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
A very watchable action film with a great script, solid acting, and great FX.
Film Review © 2014 by Trip Reynolds
Action/Drama/Science Fiction/Comic Book Superhero
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo; Screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; Concept and story by Ed Brubaker; and Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Starring: Chris Evans (as Captain America / Steve Rogers), Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (as The Black Widow / Natasha Romanoff); Robert Redford (as Alexander Pierce); Sebastian Stan (as Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier); Anthony Makie (as The Falcon / Sam Wilson).
This is a very good movie.
After being thawed-out in his first film, we now find our hero, Captain America, as the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way - at least for the Marvel Comics universe. Unfortunately, there's a conspiracy to change the political status quo. Captain America has aligned his skills with Nick Fury's Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.), but it's under siege by forces that ultimately place Fury's life in danger as well as the rest of the world.
Enter Captain America. Cap is immediately perceived as a threat and secret forces within S.H.I.E.L.D. go after him, but of course, unsuccessfully. Film has several plot twists and turns that compel our interest, and in particular, the acting talents and appearance of Robert Redford elevate the look and feel of this film. Redford's older, politically focused, and somewhat grizzled appearance gives the film a serious quality that effectively counteracts against the heroics of Captain American and the stealth that constantly emanates from Nick Fury. Redford should do these kinds of roles more often, because his eyes truly "act" the part for him.
The actor Chris Evans seems more comfortable as Captain America than as he did protraying Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four film franchise, which is great. Evans looks confident as Cap, particularly when he's fighting for his patriotism. However, he struggles against the principles of his patriotism versus the layers of deception and contempt for patriotism he perceives from Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D, and Alexander Pierce. Likewise, his discovery of and battles with the Winter Soldier, including related political agendas, appear unresolved and fodder for Captain America 3.
This time out we're also introduced to Cap's colleague from the comic book, "The Falcon." As played by Anthony Makie, the Falcon also has a military background and is also a patriot, but his depth as a character ends here. As with the comicbook, he performs more as a partner and not as a sidekick (i.e., Robin "The Boy Wonder") to Captain America. Unfortunately, the special effects used to establish The Falcon's flying ability are similar to what we've seen with the "Transformer" film franchise, and consequently, they don't work, because the The Falcon's wings appear more bird-like in the comic book. Plus, the Falcon also has the ability to telepathically communicate with any birds within an unknown radius. Again, the real depth of this character is untouched.
Frankly, everytime she's on camera, Scarlett Johansson, as Black Widow, steals the scene, and this is not because she's attractive, but because her acting (vocal, physical, emotional) makes her so believable. Here's the cliché, "She's probably the most overlooked and under appreciated actor in Hollywood." It'll be interesting to she if her career blossoms after her upcoming lead actor performances in "Lucy" and "Black Widow." As far as the Marvel Universe, Johansson will return next as Black Widow in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," to be released in 2015.
Film is directed capably by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, and has a perfectly paced running length of 136 minutes. Editing by Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt is especially sharp. As expected, special effects and technical aspects were solid throughout.
Recommendation: See it. Then, buy the BlueRay/DVD for your collection.