After the events in New York, Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) is still trying to adapt to the modern world where technology and data are indispensable. He is also constantly butting heads with Director Nick Fury for his unorthodox way of getting things done at S.H.I.E.L.D. But when somebody attacks Fury, severely wounding him, he somehow ends up at the Captain’s house, and his last words “Do not trust anyone,” haunts Steve. But more than the puzzle left to him by the superspy, Steve is intrigued by the masked assassin, whose super strength and speed matched his own at every level. With Fury out of commission, he is subjected to a massive manhunt by the very agency he is helping and he begins to wonder what conspiracy lies beneath Fury’s cryptic words and the secret government program called Insight, which seeks to rid the world of terrorist threat even before it happens.
I must say that The Winter Soldier was one of the movies I was most looking forward to seeing this year. Despite the studios wanting to keep TWS’s identity a secret, even going so far as having him wear a mask for all of the trailers until the first half of the movie, its really an open secret among Marvel fans that (spoiler ahead) Bucky Barnes became the Captain’s arch nemesis for a short while, a side effect from the experimentation done to him by those creepy evil scientists from Hydra before Steve rescued him and the gang in the original movie. I loved the rapport between Steve and Bucky in the first movie and I wanted to see how they reacted to seeing each other on opposite sides of the law this time around.
The Winter Soldier sure did take its time before the two besties came face to face. Basically, the movie spent the first hour just establishing how strongly principled the Captain was, which was weird because everyone who saw the first movie, plus The Avengers were already being told something that they knew all along. While there were some cool stunts and a lot of witty comments, I still felt that the banter was not enough to make the first half of the movie really interesting or compelling. The pace does kick up a notch when S.H.I.E.L.D comes after the Black Widow and the Captain and the action picks up from there.
Surprisingly, for a movie entitled The Winter Soldier, the movie hardly shows much interaction between Steve and Bucky. I would have wanted to see more of a struggle on Bucky’s part in reconciling his memories with the brainwashing but it only ever happened in one scene and then it was all Winter Soldier mode again. It would have been nice if there was a more profound bromance moment between the two, in my opinion, because they really had good chemistry and they’re both good actors.
What’s good about the story is that it remained faithful to the source material, making TWS flow consistently from the first film. Personally, I loved the fight scene where Bucky wielded Cap’s shield (in the comic books, Bucky eventually became the new Captain America when the original was assassinated. I’m not saying it will happen in the movies but you’ll never know). In terms of what’s bad about it, the plot wasn’t very original. World leaders wanting to keep an eye on terror threats and launching a massive offensive against said threats even before they happen? Its been done countless times before and TWS doesn’t really serve it any much differently. The only distinction TWS has from other movies is that its a Marvel movie and it has really cool superheroes to boast of. Of course, UFC champ Georges St. Pierre takes on a bit part for this film so its kind of cool, and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) are always assets to any movie. Anthony Mackie as Falcon, a newbie to the franchise, held his own as Steve’s sidekick. But after seeing The Avengers, TWD was a bit underwhelming.
All in all, Captain America The Winter Soldier was a really fun Marvel flick but it could have done with a bit more editing. There were some scenes that could have been trimmed down or replaced by more action packed scenes — after all, this is a movie about superheroes. Compared to the original, I felt that the first Captain America movie was stronger because people connected to the characters — all of them and not just the Captain, plus it told a more complete story. Don’t get me wrong. The sequel was not bad. It had its moments but I felt like they sold the Captain’s dilemma a bit too hard for this one. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo should have had more fun with it like Joss Whedon did with The Avengers.