Cap shines in second solo film

By Arjuna Ramgopal
On April 11, 2014

  • Durham Town Resident #comment 1. Here's a thought. If all the students decided to register in Durham to vote, they would easily outpopulate the townies. In local elections, they could basically take over town government and change ordinances and budgets to their hearts' content. Less $ for the police force, no open-container ordinance, etc. Think about it..

Warning! This review contains spoilers for "Captain America: Winter Soldier."

It's official; Captain America is cool again. If "Captain America: Winter Soldier" proved anything, it was that America's shield-wielding hero can command the movie screen with an intelligent, compelling story that goes beyond a typical action, super hero movie. 

Captain America graced the screen in 2011 with "Captain America: First Avenger." It was here we were able to see Chris Evans (who was the Human Torch in the cringe-worthy "Fantastic Four" from 2005) don the shield and become one of the world's first superheroes. 

First Avenger, much like the super hero's reputation, was a bit bland. While the 1940s wartime theme was fun, the movie felt cliché and underdeveloped. It was a good start, and it was clear that Evans was the right choice to play Captain America. 

A year later, we were treated to "The Avengers," Marvel's ultimate comic book hero mash up film that was every bit as delightful as we were hoping it would be. Cap, as Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. so eloquently calls him, was now in the 21st century and dealing with a world that was unfamiliar to him. He clashed with Tony Stark, saw S.H.I.E.L.D. being, at times, as bad as H.Y.D.R.A. (ironic) and struggled with being seen as a super hero (who doesn't love the scene when Phil Coulson nerds out over meeting Captain America?)

After two appearances, it was time to step it up with a "big adventure" for Steve Rogers, to see how he would take on some of the challenges presented in "The Avengers" and grow as a person. 

Without ruining too much of the plot, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" picks up a couple years after "The Avengers." Rogers is living a fairly normal life having adjusted to the 21st century and working for S.H.I.E.L.D., and he is even hanging out with old pal Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow). Everything is going well until Nick Fury is seemingly murdered in front of Rogers, in his own apartment. The event sets off a chain of bigger events that have huge consequences not only for the film, but also for the entire Marvel Universe (vague, yes). 

The movie is not so much about the destination, but more about the journey. While the last act of the movie is great, rewarding and thrilling, the lead up to it is just as fantastic, combining humor, action and great acting, particularly between Evans and Scarlett Johansson. Anthony Mackie does a great job as the newcomer, Falcon, who will hopefully be a mainstay in the Marvel universe. 

Visually, the film was beautiful from start to finish. The action scenes were incredible, and some of the fight scenes between Captain America and The Winter Soldier are breath-taking. Don't think about the shield physics too much (it acts more like a very powerful boomerang). 

My only complaints about the movie might have to do with the Winter Soldier himself, Bucky Barnes. While the reveal of his identity as Rogers' long-lost best friend is cool, especially seeing that look on Cap's face, it ultimately falls flat as there's no real resolution. It felt like this was "chapter one" in Captain America vs. The Winter Soldier. Perhaps the movie advertising shouldn't have focused so much on The Winter Soldier, as he's really just a glorified henchman.

Besides that, the film has no major flaws and could be, on the whole, Marvel's best non-Avenger movie. While I was disappointed with "Iron Man 3" and "Thor: The Dark World," I was pleased with "Captain America: Winter Soldier," and look forward to his next appearance. 


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