The SPOILER light is on for this one. Read on at your own peril.
Way back on June 15th of 2013, I reviewed Man of Steel and stated that it was the best superhero film I had ever seen. I stated that it had set the bar pretty high for that particular genre. I stand by that statement, but I have to admit, happily I might add, that Marvel came back and not only met the standard set by Man Of Steel, but actually has raised the bar even higher with Captain America: Winter Soldier.
The film opens with Steve Rogers and his friend, Sam Wilson going for a run together, well kind of together. While Sam is struggling to get one lap around the Capital, Steve does three laps passing Sam numerous times. When they stop running, Steve and Sam talk about how Steve is managing to cope in modern society. He actually seems to be doing quite well educating himself on the ins and outs of being a man decades out of his own time. Steve then receives a message calling him to a mission to rescue a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents being held hostage on an agency ship. Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, arrives shortly after to join Steve on his mission.
During the hostage rescue, Steve finds that Natasha has another mission to extract information stored on the ship’s computer and return it to Nick Fury. Steve confronts Fury about this and is briefed on Operation Insight. Insight consists of three helicarriers that are linked by satellite to be a preemptive measure against threats to national security. Nick unsuccessfully attempts to access the information that came from the ship causing him to be suspicious of Insight.
While Fury is on his way to meet with another agent, he is ambushed by a multitude of hit men being led by a masked assassin known as the Winter Soldier. Fury is shot, but manages to escape to Steve’s apartment, where fury gives him the flashdrive and tells him that shield has been compromised, so he should not trust anyone. Steve is then called to meet with Secretary Alexander Pierce, part of a council that works to insure world security. Pierce asks Steve to tell him what information he received from Fury. When Steve refuses to tell him anything, he tags him a fugitive and orders his arrest. Steve manages to escape and contact Natasha. The flashdrive direct them to a bunker in New Jersey. In the deep subbasement of the bunker was an old computer that surprisingly has a flashdrive interface. When they plug the flashdrive in, it activates a supercomputer that contains the disembodied consciousness of Arnim Zola, who as you should remember was the scientific assistant to the Red Skull.
Zola explains that after World War Two, an organization called HYDRA whose sole purpose is to create chaos all over the world to the point that everyone is willing to give up their freedoms in favor of security. He further explains that HYDRA has infiltrated all levels of every government, including S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only has HYDRA infiltrated governments, but it has also gotten their man in on the World Security Council in the person of Pierce.
Even with the spoilers I have mentioned above, there are still many surprises, twists, and turns. Some that made me want to stand up and cheer right there in the theater. This is a great movie.
It was a great pleasure to see all of the elements come together in this film to make something very special in Winter Soldier. The script and the cast really was artfully blended by the director to make a film that didn’t go over the top. While Captain America was the center of the attention and the action in this film, all the other parts played very well developed and strong roles. There was humor in the script, but just the right amount for enjoyment while not calling undue attention to itself. There were some very poignant moments where one could feel the emotion of the characters. The visual effects were stunning while, again, not overdone and complement the story and do not become the story.
It was probably put best to me on Facebook from my good friend Hank Davis of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Podcast when he said, “They humanized a super soldier in my opinion. This movie could have been done without any superheroes at all. I loved the theme of the movie!” One doesn't need to be a comic fan to appreciate this film; you might be a little out of the loop as far as character background is concerned though.
A real treat for the fans of Marvel movies was the introduction of the character Sam Wilson; the Falcon. Brilliantly played by Sam Mackie, I am hoping to see him in many future films in the marvel universe. He is very easy going and I liked him from the first moment he was on the screen.
I really enjoyed was seeing Robert Redford on the big screen again in his role of Pierce. Redford was a really hot property during the 1970’s and 80’s playing many different roles in several hit films. It has been said that his role in Captain America was in homage to his film Three Days of the Condor.
And what of the character that has his name appear in the title, Winter Soldier? It is revealed who the character is and how he came to be, but this film is not the end of his story. I'm not going to reveal who he turns out to be, but please be sure, if you aren't familiar with the comic book Captain America, that you at least see the first film in the C.A. Saga, Captain America: The First Avenger before you see Winter Soldier.
Well, there it is…