It came to me the other day that, in my brief time writing for Moviepilot, I had not actually written a full-fledged review of a movie. Sure, I've seen plenty of movies in that time, but I'm also very easily distracted and oh look a pony...
Well, anyway, I figure this would be a good place to start. [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) continues the adventures of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, better than ever) as he struggles to find his way in the modern world. This is not made any easier by the fact that SHIELD is tied to some pretty nasty secrets, nor by the appearance of the film's titular antagonist, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). That's the short version, anyway. The film gets into some pretty heavy territory and politics, something that you wouldn't really expect from a typical superhero flick. Luckily, the film doesn't let itself get bogged down with political commentary, and remembers what it's supposed to do--give us a good movie. And that's exactly what they've done here.
The performances are nothing short of spectacular. Evans is great here, showing Cap's endeavors to make sense of a world that often struggles to make sense of itself, but he never loses the sincerity that made him so enjoyable in The First Avenger and The Avengers. Scarlett Johansson also delivers, giving us a much more in-depth look at her character. Samuel L. Jackson... well, he's Samuel L. Jackson. What more do you need to know? He's great in this film, as he has been in his previous Nick Fury appearances. Sebastian Stan is a fairly intimidating villain, though I wish we could see more of him. That would have to be my only real complaint of the film, and it's not even that much of one.
But what of the new additions? Well, they're great, too. By now, I'm sure you've heard all about Robert Redford's turn as Alexander Pierce and how fantastic he is. But is all the hype justified? The answer is a triumphant, resounding yes. The casting of Redford in this role is one of the many, many triumphs of this movie. Another triumph is Anthony Mackie as the Falcon. Being the comic book junkie that I am, the Falcon is a character I've wanted to see for a long time, and it was well worth the wait. Not only do the scenes with the Falcon in action provide some of the most compelling shots in the movie, but his alter ego, Sam Wilson, brings some solid comic relief.
And speaking of shots, the action in Winter Soldier is uncanny. Great action is nothing new to Marvel films, but it's particularly engaging here. Of course, we get plenty of explosions and giant things crashing into shit, but what really struck me (pun intended) was the combat. When someone gets hit, you feel it. The physical reactions, fight choreography, and sound mixing of the battles make the message very clear: "Ow, that fucking hurt!"
There's plenty of good things to say about this movie, and I've barely scratched the surface. As you can probably guess, I really enjoyed the hell out of this movie. It runs about 2 hours and 16 minutes, but it sure didn't feel like it. I would have happily stayed for another 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a great exercise in ace performances, terrific action, smart dialogue, and everything else we've come to expect from Marvel Studios. Everything else, and a whole lot more.