Overall, I really enjoyed Captain America: Winter Soldier so don’t let the beginning of this article throw you. My only two complaints are that the supposed plot twists were pretty predictable and that Captain America is still the most vanilla superhero in all of Marvel.
The writers try to make Captain Rogers interesting. They try to show him as a man having difficulty adjusting to a post-modern world full of corruption. They try to show he suffers from the loss of his only friend, Bucky. They try to show that he is all alone in the world. But frankly, Steve Rogers just isn’t relatable. Whether it’s Chris Evans’ performance or just that the character lacks depth, I’m not sure. All I know is that when his first sweetheart, Peggy Carter, is suffering from dementia, which should be a heart breaking moment, it’s just uncomfortable. Rogers never shows any real anguish.
My second complaint is that the plot twists are extremely predictable. While they try to make Nick Fury’s “resurrection” equivalent to Gandalf the White, anyone who has ever read a comic knows that Fury isn’t dead from the moment they hear the flatline. Any audience member with a star spangled banner also knows that Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce is the villain from the get go. (He has not aged well.)
Still, Captain America: Winter Soldier is an awesome movie. It starts with Steve Rogers making laps around Sam Wilson and the pace never slows. It is a perfect balance of action and witty dialogue, and even though the plot is predictable, the twists and turns are interesting enough to keep you engaged in the story. I think my fellow Nerdlocker writer, Bobby, hits it right on the head when he compares this movie to a Bond film. (You can read Bobby’s review HERE)
The most excellent part of the film, however, is the plethora of Easter Eggs. First of all, aside from perhaps the stinger at the end of The Wolverine, this film’s first stinger (there are two) had me squealing like a schoolgirl. While it is perturbing that they have to adapt the backstory for Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, seeing them imprisoned in a Hydra base (implying they are also Hydra experimentations) was a very rewarding tease for Age of Ultron.
I also extremely enjoyed the inclusion of Batroc and Crossbones. Now I’m no Captain America aficionado, so when they revealed the charred corpse of the character Brock Rumlow (played by Frank Grillow) towards the end of the film I admit that I had to look it up. Still, I knew through the whole movie by the way they kept featuring Grillow’s character as a foil character to Rogers that he must be significant and I was pleased to see he might return as the most B.A. looking Cap villain this side of Red Skull.
Batroc, on the other hand, has always been an extremely goofy character. His full name is Batroc the Leaper. Yep, that’s right. He can jump really high for a white guy. He also has a ridiculous mustache and his costume is purple and orange. Purple and orange. Even the French must be embarrassed of this guy. In the film they drop “the Leaper” and make him from Algeria. His costume is a toned down version of the purple and orange but still pays tribute as does his fighting style (involving mostly kicks). We are all glad that Georges St-Pierre refused to have a ridiculous mustache. The fight scene between Cap and Batroc was pretty awesome and I’m sure UFC fans were satisfied.
Two more Hydra villains who appear in the film but the average American wouldn’t recognize them are Dr. Arnim Zola and Baron Von Strucker. I loved the film’s adaptation of Zola as AI and the inclusion of Von Strucker in the stinger. I’m hoping that we get to see Zola’s rather ridiculous robot body in later films and I’m sure Von Strucker will be in Age of Ultron.
Finally, I was extremely pleased and impressed with how the film portrayed Falcon. As one of Marvel’s earliest black super heroes, Falcon has always been somewhat of a polarizing character. While some praised Marvel for giving the most patriotic super hero a black partner, others criticize Marvel for reducing a black character to a sidekick – the equivalent of Captain America’s Robin. I feel that the film captured the character perfectly. His costume is very slick and his flight scenes were wonderful. I love how many times he delivers the signature flying kick. As for his relegation to sidekick, I feel that Sam Wilson combats that persona effectively by consistently joking about his lack of super powers with lines like “Don’t look at me. I do everything he does, just slower.” Plus, the film shows that Captain America needs both Falcon and Sam Wilson as a partner and friend while Robin has never been more than a protégé and sidekick. This film does Falcon justice.
Captain America: Winter Soldier is action packed, full of wonderful surprises, and does an excellent job of developing and showcasing Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Falcon. Now if they could only make me care about Captain America himself. Maybe I’m just a communist.
4.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Check out the trailer:
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