SYNOPSIS: When we meet up with Captain America (Chris Evans), the recently defrosted superhero is catching up with the modern world. The extremely well preserved 95 year old likely won’t have time to get up to date before having to deal with the chrome-armed Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), a villain from Cap’s long distant past and battle against a threat from deep inside S.H.I.E.L.D., his own spy network. With his new world collapsing around him the good Captain must determine who can be trusted. Will it be S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the flirty but deadly Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) or World Security Council bigwig Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)? The decisions he makes could save his life and the lives of 20 million civilians.
Richard: 4 Stars
Mark: 4 Stars
Richard: Mark, movie-by-movie Marvel is creating an interconnected universe. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle the comic book company has pieced together something quite unprecedented; a series of films that aren’t sequels to one another but when combined form a loud, brash whole. Captain America was a latecomer to the party, and while the first film was a solid introduction, it didn’t have the sparkle of say, the first Iron Man movie. The character seemed a bit beige; a do-gooder with no rough edges. The Winter Soldier addresses those concerns, fleshing out the character and providing some very good action sequences. What did you think?
Mark: I’m not sure the word “think” applies much to the movie. But I did enjoy it, much more than the first installment. The plot seemed rooted in some reality, in a kind of paranoid thriller way, like Enemy of the State and Three Days of the Condor, and Robert Redford’s presence makes the connection even more explicit. But I still don’t feel I knew Captain America any better in this one. He’s still a cypher to me—a sphynx with a very powerful garbage can lid.
RC: This time out I thought Evans got deeper into into the character. Physically he’s one big rippling muscle, but it’s his personality and attitude that make him interesting. He’s still a do-gooder but one who questions his missions. “You’re holding a gun to everyone on Earth and calling it protection,” he says after learning of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s violent plan to bring peace to the world. It’s an edgy message from a Greatest Generation type to a world where drones have become common and Edward Snowden rides the line between patriot and traitor. The message permeates the plot, which is ripe with twists and turns and some genuinely thrilling moments.
MB: Dunno about the message, but there were two long memorable car chases, and that’s enough for me! Loved the cast- Redford, Samuel Jackson, Anthony Mackie, all great fun, but Scarlett Johannsen was the cherry on the top of this sundae. She plays a lot of scenes without much makeup, which made me beleive she was actually on an op. In the fight scenes, I’m sure Evans and Johannsen used stunt doubles, but it looked they were doing their own work. Nice directing.
RC: I enjoyed the performances. Johansson, in particular, is mad, bad and dangerous to know as Romanoff, and kicks so high it’s only a matter of time until she gets her own Avenger’s movie.
MB: I’m looking forward to the next installment: Captain America and Tennille, where he saves the world AND sings poppy Seventies love ballads.