70 plus years of Marvel’s Captain America comics, especially Ed Brubaker’s “The Winter Soldier” storyline.
After the events of the first Avengers film, the Star Spangled Man with a plan is back and better than ever. Now actively working as an agent of SHIELD, Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America, acts as their troubleshooting system. When something goes wrong with an op, they send Cap and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in to clean up. When a mission goes awry and Nick Fury ends up dying in Cap’s apartment, he must find out what went wrong and whodunnit, all while being unable to trust his former co-workers and having to face the Winter Soldier, an assassin who may just be his match…
Unlike the first film, this film dives quick and cleanly into the action. In fact, I’ve noticed that’s a trend throughout the Marvel films, even the reboots like Amazing Spider-Man. While Cap is obviously portrayed as a man out of time, he still is a genuine and idealistic person who does his best with what he has. To me, that’s all that is necessary to properly convey the character.
Outside of the titular character, many of the background characters actually received some legitimate depth this time around. While MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) mainstays like Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury receive a lot of characterization, Anthony Mackie and Robert Redford are scene-stealers as Sam Wilson and Anthony Pierce, respectively. Sam Wilson, also known as the Falcon is probably the coolest addition to the MCU, having an awesome everyman appeal combined with wisdom, experience, and badassery. So, basically, he’s exactly what Rhodey should’ve been in the Iron Man franchise, except this time, I actually think there’s some legitimate spin-off potential.
For older fans of the comics, cameos abound in this. There are more minor comic characters in this than any Marvel film yet, some sillier and more surprising than others.
Since this is a Marvel film, I figure I should mention two more topics on What Worked and cut it off there so you’re not just reading my lengthy review all day: the action and the genre. While the first Cap film was a decent WWII actioner, it didn’t quite hit the heights of The Winter Soldier. Instead of the former, TWS is a well-crafted spy/espionage thriller. Cap, a man forged in a war that was fairly black and white, morality wise, is forced to confront the fact that modern day intelligence is more a case of 600 shades of grey, making for a really solid storyline. As for the action, it dominates the feature without taking away from the story, instead, adding to the high stakes and tension.
Not very many complaints here, but the few that are there are pretty big. For being the focus of the title, The Winter Soldier doesn’t play as major a part as one would think. As per usual in the MCU, SHIELD is left as a giant question mark, and even more so by the end of the film. Their goals, numbers, and priorities are massively unclear if you look at them from a distanced perspective in comparison from the source material.
While there may be a few solid flaws, this is still a very tight and well made action thriller, acting like a combination of Bourne and classic Superman.
8.5 HYDRA agents knocked out of 10.