Before we begin, I know this is yet another article based on Marvel comics. It’s not my fault that Marvel is killing it in comics and film at the moment. I promise to talk equally about Batman Vs. Superman when it comes out, or some good DC comics when they impress me the way Marvel is right now. With that said, this week on Obsession Perception I’m going to join in and talk about what nerds worldwide are already talking about. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is finally here and it is amazing to say the least. I’m going to talk about my impression about the film after two viewings, as well as go into SPOILER TERRITORY. You’ve been warned, if you haven’t seen the movie yet do yourself a favor and see it immediately, then come back and let’s have a little chat about Marvel Studios’ second entry into the Captain America solo film franchise as well as the third entry into phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
So this past Sunday I had the opportunity to see the film for the first time and immediately following the movie all I could think was “Wow!” I was completely blown away by how good this movie is. Not only by the standards of a comic book movie, or a Marvel Studios movie, but as a film in general The Winter Soldier is incredible on so many levels. The action and fight sequences throughout the movie are incredibly engaging and well choreographed, never coming across as too over the top or cheesy. The overall intensity of the fighting was matched by the performances of not only Captain America himself (Chris Evans), but all of the supporting cast. I was particularly impressed by Anthony Mackie’s portrayal of Sam Wilson aka, The Falcon. The writing for The Falcon was well thought out and fit well into a film where it could have easily felt like an unimportant throw-away character. The writing was further enhanced by Mackie’s delivery, Providing a much needed humor element and complimenting Evan’s performance as a legitimately believable friendship unfolded on screen. There were some moments where the film felt like it had elements of a “buddy-cop” movie which worked well in contrast to the heavy nature of the high stakes conspiracy action film CA:TWS really turned out to be. There were breakthrough performances by every main character in the film and it truly felt as if every character arc was more thought out than in pervious Marvel films. Everyone had their time to shine. Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Rominoff aka The Black Widow gave us more hints at her past as well as a look at her more vulnerable side through her reaction to the supposed death of Nick Fury, and also a few great moments shared with Steve on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury saw a lot more of the action than in previous films, and we were given a glimpse into the reasoning behind his top-secret, trust no one mentality. Robert Redford brought a true sense of legitimacy to the movie as his Alexander Pierce proved to be a great ally turned villain through the films big reveal that Hydra had been working from within S.H.I.E.L.D. beyond the scenes and right under Nick Fury’s nose. Then there was Sebastian Stan’s titular Winter Soldier aka James “Bucky” Barnes, who absolutely killed it as the silent assassin sent to eliminate Captain America and clear the way for Hydra’s Project Insight to take place. Stan’s menacing gaze emoted a very believable threat to Cap and was only matched by his delivery of the couple of poignant lines he had in the entire film. Shades of Terminator 2’s T-1000 showed through as The Winter Soldier’s force of nature style villain was truly terrifying and gave a real weight to the threat to Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow.
Performances and overall quality aside, CA:TWS acted as a bona fide game changer for the future tone of the MCU. The immediate threat has been taken care of, S.H.I.E.L.D. is no more, but there is still the loose ends left by the remainder of Hydra who (thanks to the post credits scene) have now gone underground and posses not only Loki’s Scepter from The Avengers but also are harboring Quicksilver, and The Scarlet Witch as prisoners (which looked incredible by the way). We also now have conformation that Dr. Strange exist within the MCU and we have the groundwork laid to introduce Crossbones into Cap’s rogues gallery. The other question left behind is what’s next for Bucky, he saved Steve’s life after their “final battle” and vanished. We know that Natasha called in a favor to get his file from Russia and Sam has fully invested himself to help Steve on his search. We also know that Bucky is starting to piece fragments of the past together and seemingly has a lot of details to hash out before he encounters his former BFF again. I’ve heard some speculation about where things could head, there are obviously many directions they could head as seeds have been planted for character arcs including Bucky’s search for the truth about his past including a possible chance to see some of his past adventures as part of Captain America’s Howling Commandos, His relationship with Natasha Rominoff, his possible attempt to take down Hydra for forcibly brainwashing him and making him the assassin he has become, or even reconciling with Steve and eventually taking the mantle of Captain America over as we all know he eventually did in Ed Brubaker’s Cap run. The possibilities are endless, and now with the summer 2016 showdown of Cap and Batman Vs. Superman it’ll be exciting to see.
There was no doubt that The Winter Soldier was going to be good, but I feel as if this is a rare case where high expectations were met with a final product that was better than I imagined going in. In my opinion, at it’s very worst, you could have taken away the costumes, the previous knowledge of the Marvel U and gave it a different title and you’d be left with a fantastic Bond-esque action flick, at it’s best we got a full-fledged Captain America movie, with great character stories, incredible action that really felt like the Cap from the comics, and the deepest most serious film of the already flourishing MCU that furthers the franchise to new heights. The Russo brothers directed gem written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley lifts the MCU to new heights in story telling and monetarily (breaking Harry Potter’s record of being the highest grossing film franchise of all time). All I know is it’s a good time to be a comic book nerd and a fan of Captain America and all things Marvel. After a second viewing Wednesday night just to be sure I think Captain America: The Winter Soldier stands as my favorite MCU film yet and among the best of what comic book films can offer. This movie may very well be Marvel’s The Dark Knight and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
So what do you guys think? Where does CA:TWS rank for you? What theories do you have for the future of the Marvel Studios films? Sound off in the comments below and as always for all your comics news, reviews, and previews come back to www.all-comic.com!