Review: “Captain America 2″ thrills with action and twists

April 3rd, 2014 at 8:01 pm by under Entertainment
"Captain America The Winter Soldier" poster courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“Captain America The Winter Soldier” poster courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)
(2D/ DBOX/ 3D/ IMAX )
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout
Runtime: 2 hours, 16 minutes
Genre: Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Thriller

My spoiler-free review:

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” offers more action, new characters, and lots of twists which you don’t get with a lot of action movies.  It’s a fun big-budget superhero movie that’s set in a political thriller.  It helps to have seen “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011) and especially “The Avengers” (2012)  because this movie follows the events of the 2012 team up but ties back to the first movie about the super soldier.  With a lot of focus on the dealings of SHIELD, Nick Fury, Black Widow, and some new characters, it begs the question ‘who can you trust’?  I give it 8.9 out of 10.  I’m told comicbook fans will like it because it sticks pretty close to the comics even though filmmakers took some liberties with character details.

Warning for parents: with all the action and violence and loud noises, it may be too much for the little ones or even those who are a little skittish.

The “world’s greatest soldier” – that’s what SHIELD Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), but that doesn’t mean they see eye to eye about the moral decisions they are making in the name of protecting the public from terrorists and supervillians.  During the events of the “The Avengers” (2012) Cap’ started to become leery of SHIELD – the organization he was working for, but since he is a patriotic boy scout he’s kind of gone along with the program, until now when the latest version of the hellicarier (3 of them) is unveiled to him with technology that would make Tony Stark flinch… plus the rhetoric that SHIELD is spewing reminds Steve of a certain Nazi villain of his past.

There is more action in this second Captain America movie and a lot more conspiracy theories flying around involving SHIELD and the World Security Council (including Robert Redford’s character).  Captain America’s costume is updated, you’ll notice its mostly blue and white to fit him in with SHIELD… but we eventually get to see the classic red, white, and blue uniform… one of the biggest changes is his fighting style.  The Cap’ has clearly gotten some intense training since New York… with some new styles of hand to hand combat that accentuate his strength and abilities and some parkour.  This Captain America 2.0 is trying to adapt to life in the modern era but in battle, he’s a one man wrecking crew without all the dazzling technology of Iron Man or lightning from Thor… one of the first scenes that show us the new style of Captain Rogers is a gee whiz cool sequence that has him clearing off a bunch of mercenaries like rag dolls… but in that non-ruthless Captain American way.  We also get to see him with and without his trademark shield, which one bad guy calls him out on and he’s not always in uniform while battlting the bad guys… a hint that he isn’t just this character when he puts on the uniform.

There’s more screen time than before for Fury and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who spends a lot of time and is developing a chemistry with Captain America.   The additions of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) take this movie up a notch… we get to see two of his longtime characters from the comics finally come to the big screen, as he develops and friendship with Sam and an intense rivarly with Winter Soldier.

The movie looks good, has the dark political conspiracy thriller undertones, coold SHIELD tech, and lots of one liners like  ”I only act like I know everything” (Black Widow), ”I’m 95 I’m not dead” (Captain America), and ”I do what he does, just slower” (Sam) – just to list a few.  And there are many pop culture references throughout, like ”War Games” (1983), a Pulp Fiction reference with Samuel L. Jackson’s character Nick Fury, Robert Redford’s commercial product, reference to the TV series ‘Community’ that the directors (Anthony and Joe Russo), and an actor from that show making a reference to “Top Gun” (1986).

But … I did have some problems with the movie, which I’ll try to make vague enough that they are spoiler-free: why does the leader of SHIELD, Nick Fury, with access to endless next generation technology not have a cell phone when he really needs it?  And why doesn’t he call on other well known members of SHIELD for help when he suspects big trouble? (see minor spoiler below)  There are a few plot holes and a red herring I was expecting but never materialized, but that would be a spoiler if I mentioned it here.

Okay fanboys (and fangirls) -  next are some minor spoilers about the new characters, references, and the two scenes in the credits (which you need to stay all the way to the end for), but you need to click the continuation link/scroll down for the minor spoilers…. 


Last warning on minor spoilers…



Returning characters: Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Agent Jasper Sitwell, Senator Stern, World Security Council, Dr. Arnim Zola

Introduces characters: Sam Wilson/”Falcon”, Brock Rumlow, Georges Batroc, and Winter Soldier

Hints at characters: Steven Strange, Bruce Banner, Tony Stark and others I may have missed

Notably absent characters: Hawkeye, Phil Coulson, other Avengers

In-credits scene: directed by Joss Whedon includes Baron VonStrucker, Loki’s staff, and “the twins” Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch it all teases ahead to “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)

End of credits scene: one more Winter Soldier scene that teases ahead to “Captain America 3″ (2016)

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):

Captain America: The Winter Soldier” 

Cast: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Maximiliano Hernández, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Stan Lee, Garry Shandling, Georges St-Pierre, Danny Pudi

Director: Anthony and Joe Russo ["You, Me and Dupree" (2006), 'Community', 'Arrested Development' , "Captain America 3" (2016)], Joss Whedon (post-credits scene)

Writer(s)Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

The Plot: Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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