Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

My housemates and I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier yesternight. Having set some kind of precedent by reviewing Frozen two months after it came out, I’ve decided not to feel too weird about reviewing The Winter Soldier a month and three days in.

Spoilers aheadBE YE WARY.

Considering that it’s called The Winter Soldier, I felt that the Winter Soldier himself was not tremendously important. A good deal more time was spent on the question of whom to trust, how different it looks for someone like Steve Rogers to fight for the side of good nowadays, and what to do when everyone you know is trying to kill you.  Admittedly, it’s not like they could call it “Captain America: Second Head of Hydra” or something, since that would iron out a fair few plot twists.

Captain America and Black Widow: Bromance of Our Time

I’m rooting for Captain America and Black Widow: Bromance of Our Time

Whilst watching the STRIKE team’s mission to rescue hostages from pirates aboard the Lemurian Star, I was struck by the swiftness of it all. It isn’t shocking for me to think of SHIELD taking decisive action against threats, but the thought of Steve Rogers killing a couple dozen men as “janitor for Fury” gives me pause. Is this cognitive dissonance mostly borne out of semantics? Possibly. It was something of a relief to be distracted by the choreography of the fight scene between Rogers and Georges Betroc, which evidently involves savate or French kickboxing; it was so graceful.

Also graceful: the game of ultimate frisbee they've got going on

Also graceful: the game of ultimate frisbee they’ve got going on

That was a welcome reprieve before everything went to heck and all the shots were fired.  I was touched by the post-surgery bit. Don’t do this to me, don’t do this to me.  And then they went and did it anyway.  I guess I have not yet watched enough Marvel movies, because I believed them.  But no – that’s not how comic book stories work.  No one actually dies and stays dead, except for redshirts on both sides. This means you have to take a good bit of care when dispatching your enemies, because they might creep off and then infiltrate your ranks and take over everything.

“Taking over everything,” in this case, is partly about firepower, but mostly about information. Hydra’s algorithm, which sifts data about individuals in order to predict which will eventually prove an obstacle to Hydra’s goals reminded me, unsurprisingly, of Minority Report. Though the firepower of Project Insight’s helicarriers was removed, presumably the information still remains out there somewhere.  Eeeep.

Also out there somewhere: Bucky Barnes on a voyage of self-discovery and metal arm maintenance; thousands of tons of destroyed helicarrier (on one hand, a profound relief; on the other, such a lamentable waste of taxpayer money); and everyone’s favorite, alien technology in the hands of power-hungry scientists.  Age of Ultron‘s gonna be chock-full!

Other things I wondered about, because of course I did
– How long ago is Iron Man 3 in all of this?  How much time has passed since Thor 2: The Dark World?  Obviously they can’t just summon all the actors for every Marvel film, but you’d at least think they could allude to it, e.g. “These Insight helicarriers are great against insurgents and attacking Chitauri!”
– Who gets the royalties for putting the SHIELD eagle on everything, including their jump drives?
– How safe is it to drive with an eye patch? How safe is it when there aren’t a couple dozen people trying to shoot you?
– Wait, how did they acquire the Falcon wingpack, or Pierce’s phone to call Sitwell, or a magical Council disguise? Any one of those could have been its own subplot.
– Likewise: what exactly has Hydra done to Bucky? How many other people could they control in like manner? Maybe instead of killing all their threats, they should reprogram them.  Maybe they already are.
– What do the three replacement chips for the helicarriers do, exactly? Like, gosh-darned convenient for lovers of freedom and haters of Hydra, but why do they even HAVE that lever?

Overall, I’d say The Winter Soldier was a fun and interesting addition to the Marvelverse, and a good setup for films to come.  Have you seen Marvel’s latest?  What did you think?

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10 thoughts on “Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

  1. I want to see a Winter Soldier origin movie.

    Also, I read a theory that Iron Man 3, Cap 2, and Thor 2 all take place at relatively the same time. Which sucks for, oh, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, but kind of makes sense. Thor is in Asgard or London, Tony is in, what, California and wherever he gets stranded, and Cap 2 is in DC etc.

    • And by “origin movie” I mean a movie that follows Bucky between his “death” in Cap 1 and the start of Cap 2.

      Also I am really really sick of the “surprise! I’m not dead!” twist. I spent a good part of the movie just waiting for Fury to come back, and then when he did, I was just annoyed.

      • I am definitely curious about that. Bucky clearly hasn’t aged a bit either, so Hydra must have their own serum situation, yeah? Or was it already established that they did…I’m so bad at keeping track of such things.

        I was more annoyed by the swelling string music as Steve fell into the Potomac. STOP CHEATING WITH VIOLINS, GUYS.

      • hahahahaha!!

        Well, the reason that Red Skull in Cap 1 *became* Red Skull (and head of Hydra) is because he used the serum, but before it was perfected and used on Steve. So maybe Hydra still had the old recipe?

      • Man. Is there anything stopping them from making a BUNCH of serum? I know Erskine was killed right after they dosed Steve with vita-rays, so presumably the improved formula is lost, but…a bunch of Hydra dudes who seemingly can’t be killed without direct contact with the Tesseract? What is stopping them?

    • Where is Bruce in the middle of all this? Back in India? (I mean, I know he is supposedly listening to Tony narrate IM3, but that could happen anywhere at any time, really.)

      Dear Bollywood: please tell me all about Bruce in Calcutta.

  2. *To Em* Apparently Stark was stranded in Tennessee… which confused the heck out of me because that many pine trees plus snow? There’re not many places around here where that’s possible. Still, it was refreshing to see supposed Tennesseans not treated like idiots on film…

    I liked this film, though it did cram a whole lot of stuff into one movie. It’s like a sardine-can. I find myself liking Cap even though he’s not the “type” I usually take to. Maybe it’s just refreshing to see how different a more straight-forward character is when set against a postmodern background.
    What I wondered through the entire film though, was where the heck was Hawkeye? I mean, couldn’t they have at least mentioned something about him being somewhere?

    And yes. Cap and Black Widow bromance was really fun.

  3. Pingback: Captain America: Metal Gear Soldier (A Review) | The L. Palmer Chronicles

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