BDNS Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (NO SPOILERS)

Greetings Nerdosphere!

This past week I had the great pleasure of seeing an early screening of the much anticipated “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Simply put, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” strikes the near perfect balance of fun and storytelling that the Marvel Cinematic universe has struggled to find post “Avengers”. As a comic book nerd and a devotee of the Ed Brubaker source material this sequel is based on, I thought I would be immune to most surprises they were going to throw at the audience. Yet I still found myself quite literally on the edge of my seat. No, seriously my girlfriend had to ask me to sit back so she could see.

A big Cap salute to Directors Anthony and Joe Russo because I must admit I was skeptical when they signed on. The duo cut their teeth in the world of exceptional comedy with Community and Arrested Development, but that didn’t exactly scream gritty Captain America sequel to me. They absolutely delivered. I feel no reservations in saying that they bring to The Winter Soldier the best action sequences I have ever seen in a comic book movie. I am talking about car chases that thrill, fight choreography that astounds, and a large scale battle where they manage to never lose sight of our characters and their context within the fighting.

One major through line for the film is a plot that is broad in scope, but deeply personal to the characters. Why does it feel so personal? That is thanks in large part to superb writing, and another masterful performance by Chris Evans. Evans once again disappears into the role of once pint sized kid with a giant heart turned Super Soldier. He finds himself still struggling to adapt to the new world, less so with the advancements in technology or quality of life, but more with the compromises the world has made to reach it’s heights. His boy-scout attitude doesn’t make his character appear flat or boring, but rather an incredibly charming contrast from the people he finds populating the world around him. On screen chemistry abounds throughout, but it is particularly highlighted between series newcomer Anthony Mackie as Falcon and Chris Evans. The on screen dynamic they share is pure joy to watch unfold. The film also serves to improve and further develop the duplicitous Nick Fury character. He is no longer just an open opportunity for audience laughter, but he still brings his share. Newcomer to the series and screen legend Robert Redford of course brings the goods to his role of Alexander Pierce. I have been critical in the past of Scarlett Johansen’s portrayal of Black Widow, but even her role is improved thanks once again to the top notch writing of the film. Overall the whole cast strikes the right tones with few missteps that really come down to personal taste.

Coinciding with great writing of the characters is a plot that is smart, coherent, fun, and one that profoundly affects the landscape for the entire Marvel cinematic universe moving forward. One other major writing takeaway is the advancement Captain America himself and who he should be within this universe. Two of Captain America’s most important qualities are his leadership and his ability to inspire everyone around him to uphold the ideals we hold dear. By the time the credits roll Cap has stepped fully into those shoes leaving no doubt who is in charge of the room, or where the buck stops on rallying the troops. No spoilers but all I have to say is “Captain’s orders.” 

If it is not obvious from reading the above review, I am still glowing over the experience of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. I refuse to nit-pick a film that was so enjoyable. You don’t have to be a comic book fan to enjoy this film, but if you are I imagine you will nerdgasm with each Easter egg they drop just like I did.  Do yourself a favor and go see this movie the first chance you get. I know I will be going at least once more. Take note comic book movies this one is a tough act to follow. 5 out of 5 BOOSHES.