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“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

April 3, 2014

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 4.54.09 PMMarvel Studios is continuing to step up their game, topping their last movie (almost) every time; with newer & exciting themes, captivating characters, and stories than can be as vast as they want. As of right now, in this Phase 2 of the MCU world, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is the strongest picture to precede “Iron Man 3” & (definitely) “Thor: The Dark World”. Why? It has the best story, the best character arcs, and quite literally the best dialogue, probably since the first “Iron Man”.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has acclimated to the 21st Century quite well, the Internet alone has been a huge help, but the America he resides in, is not the same America 70+ years ago. Shady government deals are at play, the fact that Cap has to question his duty to his superiors, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) for one. It’s a complicated situation, one that doesn’t have a black and white scenario, the gray areas are conflicting Steve’s moral compass, and a line in the sand needs to be drawn if he being Captain America is the right thing to do.

A mysterious figure arises, he’s known as a ghost by many, some don’t even believe he exists, however, the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has dealt with him before. He’s known simply as the Winter Soldier, a ferocious assassin with a metal arm, who’s terminator mentality can be the tipping point for Steve, not just because he’s a powerful adversary, but the fact that the Winter Soldier is an old friend, and a decision will have to be made, once Steve comes face to face with an old ally.

Many critics are all saying the same thing, and when I heard this notion, I couldn’t imagine how, but they’re right, this is a Marvel political thriller, that pertains to much of topical discussion that’s being addressed in the real world today. That’s something I can appreciate from these Marvel films, they manage mix and mesh genres into the pictures, and not having them toe-tagged as a generic superhero fair. “Man of Steel” for example, that to me was just another superhero movie, it didn’t pull of the subtly quite well, and I mean, how can it? It’s fuckin’ Superman!

Screen shot 2014-04-03 at 4.55.07 PMNaturally, I’m also a hard-core Marvel fanatic, and this was certainly of the best pictures Marvel Studios has produced to feature some awesome Easter eggs and nods to the comics; the characters, big name drops, and story arcs. The Winter Soldier graphic novel is one of my top favorite reads, and they NAILED it here. Some non-reading critics complain that the Winter Soldier is a wasted villain, and is completely underused, I disagree. First off, if these knuckleheads ever read a comic book, the Winter Soldier is NOT a bad guy 110% of the time. Hell, he ends taking over as Captain America after Steve Rogers is assassinated in the comics [spoiler alert! Secondly, the film is a multi-layered thriller, where you don’t know exactly who to trust and who is on the INSIDE of the seed that is…well, I don’t wanna spoil that big reveal now, do I?

The action is hardcore/bombastic, they take Caps fighting style to a whole new level, he’s jumping, he’s flipping, he’s all over the place, and just when you thought he couldn’t find any other ways to utilize his shield, hey now, look out! This is simply a damn good movie, perhaps the overall plot may close range in a little confusing territory (multiple viewings may be recommended), but its damn good entertainment, and it shows us that Marvel isn’t here to just make ‘superhero movies’ anymore. MAKE SURE YOU STAY FOR THE TWO POST-CREDIT SCENES!!!!! One is directed by “Avengers” director Joss Whedon, the other by the Russo’s, I’m certain you can figure out who did what.

 GRADE: A-

Special thanks to Chris Johnston for attending the screening and sharing his input.

Aaron Shore, is a contributing blogger for the film sites of Hudak on Hollywood & Midnight Reviews.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter @DoubleAAProd

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