Property review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Photo courtesy of IMDB.com

Photo cour­tesy of IMDB.com

Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Soldier

Mar­vel Stu­dios, 2014

 

Win­ter Sol­dier strikes cool balance

There is no such thing as not believ­ing in the magic of super­hero films. Mar­vel has proven that a ridicu­lous num­ber of times over by this point, and you can’t deny the impact that a good action flick about beau­ti­ful peo­ple with super pow­ers has over the gen­eral buy­ing pub­lic. But then there comes along a solid title that takes things a step fur­ther in terms of tech­ni­cal details, action, act­ing and writ­ing. That film man­ages to open a new path in terms of pre­sen­ta­tion and over­all pack­ag­ing that makes you, the viewer, believe that any­thing is pos­si­ble in terms of the improve­ment in qual­ity for all comic book-based prop­er­ties. That film is Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Soldier.

Let’s stop for a minute and take stock of the sto­ry­line, because this sets up just how well the movie makes its point about being a comic book prop­erty. Cap­tain Amer­ica is liv­ing life in the S.H.I.E.L.D way two years after the events of the Avengers. Things are good, he’s doing his job and all seems right in the world though he’s chaf­ing a bit under the S.H.I.E.L.D rule. And then all hell breaks loose. In short order, Nick Fury is shot — appar­ently fatally — in Steve Rogers’ liv­ing room by an unknown assas­sin, S.H.I.E.L.D seems like it’s out to kill Rogers and he’s on the run while try­ing to fig­ure out who and what can he trust. That assas­sin? It turns out this assas­sin isn’t really unknown but is the Win­ter Solider, some­one that Rogers has encoun­tered many a time before who’s fun­da­men­tally opposed to Rogers’ mis­sion to stop the chaos.

There’s so much tight writ­ing and story expo­si­tion jam-packed into two hours of Win­ter Sol­dier that it’s impos­si­ble to accu­rately describe the syn­op­sis with­out giv­ing away major plot points. Every­thing is a major plot point and the pac­ing at which it’s revealed is per­fect. At no point did Win­ter Sol­dier give away the fact that it’s a two-hour film cen­tered on polit­i­cal intrigue. At no point did it drag so much that details were lost. It’s the kind of movie that requires mul­ti­ple view­ings just to catch the lit­tle things that will be lost on the aver­age moviegoer.

It’s a bad thing that the film doesn’t drag, though, because it’s the movie of the ridicu­lously good-looking (and great act­ing) peo­ple. Like every movie released in the Mar­vel cin­e­matic uni­verse, Win­ter Sol­dier seems to be casted with and directed by peo­ple who were secretly born to play their roles. Even the new­comer — Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon — fits this role so well that it’s as if he were always there, just wait­ing in the wings to be intro­duced. The act­ing is superb and it’s done in such a way that you really get behind the moti­va­tion of each indi­vid­ual, for­get­ting for just a moment that this, indeed, is a comic book come to the big screen.

Win­ter Sol­dier prob­a­bly suf­fers from only one flaw and that’s the obvi­ous­ness of the for­mula. It’s a great for­mula, and a great prob­lem to have, but it’s pretty obvi­ous by now that Mar­vel has its ducks in a row and they know how to put together a good crew and sto­ry­line for their movies. Win­ter Sol­dier slightly seems to fall into that com­pla­cency, but it quickly recov­ers and doesn’t stand for rest­ing on its lau­rels for long. Just when you think there’s not enough action going on, there’s a dis­trac­tion in the form of a great set piece or sto­ry­line push that reme­dies the prob­lem. That’s the mark of a good movie.

Even if it is based on a comic book property.

Like the comics: 9

Act­ing: 9

Plot: 8.5

Over­all score: 26.5/30 or 8.8

 

How we grade

We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in the case of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of max­i­mum of 10 per cat­e­gory, and 30 over­all. The per­cent­age is the final score.

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