Many people, myself included, were a bit perplexed when Marvel decided to hire Chris Evans to play the leader of the Marvel Universe. When The First Avenger came out, audiences were genuinely surprised by the portrayal and when The Avengers assembled, people were sold. The Winter Solider kicks off this year's superhero films. It's been getting a lot of hype, each trailer has been met with magnificent praise. Unlike Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, this one looked to be an actual film of quality storytelling. Not only is it by far the best Phase 2 MCU film, it's also the best solo move since the first Iron Man in 2008.
The story follows Cap who is on the hunt for the man who assassinated Nick Fury, the 'Winter Soldier.' As the plot unravels, it turns out there are bigger things at work. S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, and the Winter Soldier turns out be an old friend...
The first Captain America movie was pretty solid. One thing it didn't really do right however was Bucky. That's why I was personally shocked to see the Winter Soldier storyline used so prominently. This film explains the friendship between the two in flashbacks than the whole first movie! The Winter Soldier himself doesn't disappoint. Somehow amidst killing many people on screen, the film makes you feels sorry for him later on. While I'm not sure the film should have been called "The Winter Soldier," (since only a part of the story focuses on him) he definitely doesn't disappoint as a character, Sebastian Stan does a really good job. While Cap is the main character, a great deal of focus is on Nick Fury. This is definitely his best role yet. It's another example why Samuel L. Jackson is the perfect Nick Fury.
The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) at first was pretty surprising to see get such a big role. Then we remembered, while this is a Cap movie, it's also in part a S.H.I.E.L.D. film. The last time she was in a solo film was in Iron Man 2. She's definitely a highlight here, and proves that the character can hold up her own film if the time ever arose. Interestingly, she actually doesn't end up being a love interest for Steve. Agent 13, aka Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) is instead introduced. Her character wasn't bad, just not very fleshed out. We'll see that in the third film. Anthony Mackie plays the Falcon, which was a welcome addition, since the two have been close friends for years in the comics. He has many genuinely funny lines whenever he's on screen.
Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce didn't really do anything for me. He's portrayed as another arrogant, annoying businessman, much like Killian from Iron Man 3. He won't be remembered. It's really cool how Marvel manages to make this an expansive universe over media. We had Agent Sitwell who appeared in last week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and now in this movie. The plot twist regarding him was well-done and unexpected. The soundtrack is definitely one of the stronger ones from Marvel. Each theme nicely fits the scene, and makes the battles even more epic. (The theme that played when Cap battled Batroc springs to mind.)
One of the greatest things I liked about about this film is how well it displays Cap's strength, speed, and agility. I have never seen a movie, film, or comic that such accurately displayed how powerful he is. The climax was definitely exciting and the best MCU climax since The Avengers. The film has some of the best action sequences from any comic book movie. How sad is it that we have such mediocre climaxes in Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3 when one character has god-like strength and the other a metal suit of armor? It goes to show that sometimes the better fight scenes come from simple punches.
Overall, the Russo brothers deliver the best outing for Captain America yet. The story unfolds nicely with plenty of big plot twists that actually do affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The action is great, some of the most impressive fight scenes in the MCU are seen here. Also with the great pacing, you'll never feel bored or wondering what time is it. The Winter Solider part of the story was well done with the appropriate emotion induced. One thing's for sure, we're all ready for Cap's next adventure.