Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review Nothing will Ever be the Same… Captain America: The Winter Solider Marvel Studios | Anthony & Joe Russo | April 4, 2014 Analysts on the sidelines comment that the comic book movie bubble will burst as studios rush to release cash grab films with no substance. I can confidently tell you, “Today is not that day!” Captain America: The Winter Solider (CAWS) is arguably the best movie Marvel released to date, and is the most coherent, focused story the studio tells. From the intro scene to the closing credits, everything is intertwined to reveal an epic tale of loyalty, trust, the greater good and friendship. CAWS is an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) but also new-viewer friendly; if you never saw a movie with Captain America (I don’t know if such a person exists) you’ll be able to follow the story as a standalone adventure. What is a Critical Hit! Steve Rogers’ fighting prowess, strength and capabilities are fully displayed. While watching Captain America: The First Avenger or The Avengers I never thought that Cap needs to do more, but CAWS completely raises the bar. Whether exercising, fighting hordes of evil-doers, completing stealth dispatches or charging headlong into a fighter jet, everything he does is super charged. Cap and allies are capable, the best of the best of the best (with honors), but not invincible. They are tested, pushed to the limit and surpass expectations in amazing action sequences where things can get messy. CAWS is more dramatic and serious than its MCU counterparts. There are humorous moments and one liners, but fortunately there are no perky and glib sidekicks or scientists running around naked. At its heart is an account of betrayal, government surveillance and political intrigue. This is an action, spy movie that happens to be based upon a comic book franchise. CAWS is not a ‘good comic book movie’ it’s simply a great movie. Chris Evans embodies Captain America. Evans remains charismatic and likeable while playing the straight laced man out of time. He is able to deliver the big moral speeches, engage in friendly banter and lead the team. It’s not just the way he delivers dialogue or punches, there is a subtlety to his stance, silence and quick observations that bring the character to life. Evans has grown into the role and is the perfect representation of the character on the big screen. He is physically imposing and quaint in his values. It is sad to think that we are half way done with his time as Cap, and I feel sorry for the actor who steps into his combat boots afterwards. Anthony Mackie joins the cast as Sam Wilson. He portrays Cap’s comrade-in-arms and (slight) comedic relief effortlessly. Scarlett Johansson and Samuel Jackson return as Black Widow and Nick Fury as comfortably as expected. The team assist Cap on his mission and fulfill their roles as spies and soldiers, both on and off the battlefield. I was concerned before watching that the movie would be Avnegers-lite, but that is not the case. Each character posses a defined story arc and key action moments, but this is without a doubt Captain America’s movie. The Winter Solider is the deadliest enemy Rogers faces. He is more a force of nature that cannot be stopped than an adversary for Cap to overcome. The best action sequences are when Winter Solider and Captain square off, everything is fast, powerful and entertaining to watch. The fights do not suffer from extreme close-ups, quick jarring cuts and shaky cam; everything is discernible and pulled off beautifully. The gear manages to walk the line of cool spy gadgets without becoming over-the-top science fiction. It helps that there aren’t long explanations to detail why the Winter Solider has a metal arm, Cap’s shield can deflect bullets or how Wilson travels. They just use the equipment and fits in the world created. Captain America’s shield play is top notch. There is a real sense of movement, skill and power when he throws it around a room like an expert pinball player. What is Not Very Effective… There are numerous Easter eggs and references to Marvel comics. Fans will enjoy hearing names dropped (and hope that it implies a future release) but it took me out of the action of the moment. Joss Whedon chose not to include any Marvel references in Avengers; this was a good decision that I would like future films to take. Save it for the mid-credits and post-credits scenes. There were also a couple references to Agents of SHIELD that felt forced to prove the show is relevant and connected to the MCU. Status Summary CAWS is an excellent action movie that raises questions about homeland security and is a (light) commentary on the government’s role in protecting citizens. Evans is equal parts charming and deadly as Captain America and surrounded a great supporting cast that does more than stand in the background. Marvel did the unthinkable by turning Iron Man, Thor and Captain America into household names and profitable movie franchises. They did it again by crafting a remarkable story that flows perfectly from beginning to end and elevates their standing as master storytellers. If you enjoy action movies, spy thrillers or superhero flicks then CAWS is a movie you must see. If you feel that Phase 2 (Iron Man 3 and Thor 2) were lacking, rest assured this movie is a super solider serum boost of momentum. Do yourself a favor and see CAWS, Captain’s orders. Score: 9.5 /10 + Amazing Action Sequences + Serious Tone + Detailed Side Characters + Evans IS Captain America + Great Standalone Story + Builds upon MCU Mythos Level Up, Friends!