Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

*. In years to come, if we’re still talking about the reign of the Marvel franchise over the film industry in the first decades of the twenty-first century, we may have to take seriously the various “phases” of the MCU. And if we do, I suppose we’d locate the high point of their creative achievement as being somewhere in the middle of Phases Two and Three. Here were the handful of movies I found to be the best, including Ant-Man, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Captain America: Civil War. I am excluding the two-part phase finale of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame because I thought those two were overripe disasters, but that’s another story.
*. The Winter Soldier is the first instalment in a two-part storyline that would be concluded in Civil War. Unfortunately, this saddles it with doing a fair bit of set-up work. I can’t say this was particularly interesting, but I did appreciate the way the story stayed somewhat on the ground. The directing team of the brothers Anthony and Joe Russo wanted an homage to 1970s political thrillers, and while this is depressing to contemplate (the road from The Parallax View and Three Days of Condor led to this?) it still made for something better than the usual MarvelCrap.

*. One big plus is the way the plot focuses on just a couple of bad guys who are at least semi-human (that is, not aliens or gods). Robert Redford feels too old for this shit, and I didn’t think he brought anything to the role, but Sebastian Stan is solid as the brooding killing machine. Given that he’s a zombie he doesn’t have to act much, but he looks the part.
*. Seeing as Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) is the ultimate straight arrow, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is placed in the position of providing most of the comic banter. This felt unusual, but it worked. Also lightening things up somewhat is Anthony Mackie as Falcon and Samuel L. Jackson as the irascible Nick Fury.
*. There’s nothing new here, but it’s all well done. There’s a smash-’em-up car chase that I thought was really good. Cap’s vintage leathers still score style points. Otherwise the Marvel men walk around in tight t-shirts to show that none of them miss biceps day. The climax has giant flying aircraft carriers blasting away at one another and crashing into the Potomac.
*. For straight-up superhero action, The Winter Soldier is perfectly fine. Marvel fans got what they wanted and the rest of the audience at least weren’t bored. If I had to knock it for anything it would be for the sheer silliness of Hydra and the fact that the film is basically just a placeholder. But even so it grades out as slightly above average from this studio.

21 thoughts on “Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)


        Can’t remember anything about this other than the Cap’s notepad reminders joke at the start, the aircraft carriers in the sky, and seeing Robert Redford and despairing. Is Jenny Agutter not in this too?

      2. Alex Good Post author

        All of the Marvel movies are pretty forgettable. You made me check for Agutter. Yes she is here. I didn’t recognize her.

  1. Bookstooge

    Super Heroes are the modern equivalent of greek and roman gods, so of course they can’t miss arm day or chest day or leg day.

    I own the majority of the MCU up to the Infinity War duology and at some point I’ll rewatch them as one big storyline instead of hodge podge like I did the first time around. I’m skipping the first 2 Thor movies though. Nobody should ever have to sit through those again…

      1. Bookstooge

        Hahahahahaa! How did you survive? Part of the reason I haven’t tried this yet is because it seems like an awful big time commitment. There are a LOT of movies to go though.
        Maybe once I’m finished up with the Muppets I will seriously think about it.

      2. fragglerocking

        It wasn’t too bad, did one every Saturday night for quite a while! I originally saw them all as they were released to bluray but they were out of synch, it was better doing them in time order.

    1. Alex Good Post author

      I quite liked Civil War, which I’ll post on next. Seemed a better sort of movie than the Thanos storyline, though I can see the absence of Hulk and Thor as letting some fans down.

      1. fragglerocking

        Oh wasn’t it! Kurt Russell debased himself as far as I’m concerned, though I have forgiven him. And hasn’t Vin diesel enough franchise work with his F&F Gazillion work, any voice over artist from the muppets could have done groot.

      2. Alex Good Post author

        I scratch my head at a lot of the big names they get to do parts like that. Like Sylvester Stallone voicing the giant shark in The Suicide Squad. Why even bother?

  2. Alex's Review Corner

    This is probably one of my favourite MCU films. Seeing Captain America fight a bunch of dudes with guns feels better than whacky aliens and more fitting for him. But the ending is just a lot of noise with those air craft carriers. And I like Sebastian Stan in this movie more than the others he’s in.

    1. Alex Good Post author

      Yep. Even the fight with GSP was welcome for being more about the fisticuffs than just a lot of special effects. The Winter Soldier was also better for mainly just being a really strong guy with a cyborg arm to pound away at things. It wasn’t too much.

      As for the carrier battle, I agree it was over the top but you have to give audiences what they’re expecting in a blockbuster movie like this. Civil War would really go against the grain in having the big battle scene at the airport nearer the middle and ending on a comparatively quiet note, with just Cap and Iron Man slugging it out in a dreary setting.


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