Monday, March 31, 2014



Review By:
G.P. Manalo

Directed by:
Joe and Anthony Russo

Chris Evans | Scarlett Johansson | Sebastian Stan |
Robert Redford | Anthony Mackie | Samuel L. Jackson

In Marvel’s latest ninth-instalment for Marvel’s second phase of films leading up to next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. New directors, Joe and Anthony Russo taking the helm of the Captain America project after Joe Johnson doesn’t just make this movie be bigger and better but also makes this movie the most important film of its predecessors.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes place 2 years after The Avengers as Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) finds himself in a whole mess of danger as he continues to adapt to the modern world facing a new and unexpected threat known as the Winter Soldier. As a result of a dead colleague, S.H.I.E.L.D. became compromised leaving the world at risk as it put Steve and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) on the run making them targets with no one to trust but themselves and new founded ally, ex-pilot Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Together they will solve this conspiracy and expose the threat inside of S.H.I.E.L.D. once and for all.

This film is basically a smorgasbord of great elements that works together in the long run. This film offers one part political thriller like something we see from Liman and Greengrass’s Bourne films with its own twists and turns, an exciting espionage film, and another part an action/adventure movie, in an overall comic book film with good comedic timing.

Despite the fact that this was based loosely on Brubaker’s Winter Soldier story arc, the writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (even Brubaker himself) gave this film some compelling material as they pay respect to the universe’s ever growing continuity and the source material itself. Fans of the source material may find the story of the Winter Soldier be lacking for its small development, though not that small for it to bring the movie down. They (the marketing) also didn’t really bother on making the identity of The Winter Soldier be a mystery, and it may be because a handful of comic book readers “spoiled” it for everybody else and assume they already know who it is. There was enough of the development of the arc through a handful of flashbacks and the result is still satisfying; in fact, the overall story is still satisfying despite its changes of the source material and it is the best example of a comic book adaptation.
The past two Marvel films we had in Phase 2 feels isolated but as you watch this film and compare it to the other 2 films, this film is very different because it really does set-up the future films and answers the previous questions indirectly of the past 2 left off and it is that “Where was SHIELD?”, “where were they when a foreign terrorist was walking around in American soil” or when “a mystical being was wreaking havoc in the U.K.?”. The answers are yet to be DIRECTLY answered in future films (we still have Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers 2 in the coming months) and as of now it is still in the matter of one’s interpretation. If there is one thing Marvel is admirable for it is that they respect the continuity very well and it shows in this film, this film sheds a new light to past Marvel films, the twists in these films will definitely have your jaw dropping to the ground. Having only watched 2 trailers (and refused to see the clips, TV spots and other trailers after the superbowl trailer) I was very much surprised on the twists and turns the film took me to, It ties all the Marvel films together and sets-up a major plan in the future.  

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo were an odd choice to direct this movie at first because the only notable project they ever did was episodes of ABC’s sitcom, Community and yet they even promise a very serious political thriller. Though this may be a serious film, the comedic timing is very good; unlike the past two solo films they don’t feel misplaced in most scenes. I do find the amount of rawness in this movie admirable as well; considering its tone to be a rather serious one. At some point of the film when the chips are down, you will not believe that these things just happened in a PG-13 (in my country’s case, PG-Rated) Marvel movie. The action scenes are intense and not afraid to get its hands dirty. The film’s action scenes were rather shaky and speedily cut for the most part but you can still tell what is going on (unlike most action movies we had for the past decade that uses these kinds of “techniques”). Unlike Iron Man 3 or Thor: The Dark World it departs from less explosions and CGI clusterf***ing to impressively choreographed one-on-one fist fights, gun fights, car chases, and incredibly well-thought out action set pieces in both land and air that are fun to watch on the big screen. There are still some scenes with the use of special effects but as other Marvel films for the past couple of years the CGI is very impressive to look at as it is surreal. It’s also amazing how they thought out of some fun ways of putting Cap’s shield into action.

There’s nothing much to say about the performances in this movie because everyone did do their A-Game in this movie. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson are no strangers in this film and they definitely have given their best performances and interpretations of their characters in this film. Both new and old faces are excellent. Anthony Mackie is charismatic and develops a believable/genuine chemistry (in a buddy way) with Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rogers. Emily Vancamp, despite her small role as the mysterious Agent 13 was still given enough material to work with and was fun to watch for a little while. Though I may not have seen enough of Robert Redford’s films to get the hype surrounding the actor, he was nonetheless one of the best performers of the film as Alexander Pierce.

That being said, this is definitely the best outing Marvel has ever given to the character of Captain America but most notably the Best Marvel solo film since 2008’s Iron Man and it’s all thanks to Joe and Anthony Russo along with the cast and crew for bringing a bigger and better movie about the Star Spangled Man With A Plan. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is of great importance with the film’s many twists and turns, the intense and violent action sequences, the after credits scenes and the ending that screams “to be continued” has to be seen to be believed in the biggest screen possible. I had some complaints about the film but they left off as just nitpicks and doesn’t really bring the movie down to 1 or at least half a star, I couldn’t really say those nitpicks because they would mean spoiling the movie and we wouldn’t want that now do we? (If you think the plot summary was a bit cluttered… well, I did my best in summarizing the movie without spoiling anything).

5/5 – EPIC WIN!

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