I came away from Captain America: The Winter Soldier pretty entertained and found myself enjoying this character much more so than I did in the first film. The story was smart and engaging. It's modernized to today, and Disney, taking its cues from past films, knows how to build a very entertaining film for many demographics.
- This is a comprehensive review of Captain America 2. It includes
A non-spoiler review, followed by a
Spoiler conversation,Descriptions of the post credit scenes, and
Easter Egg references dropped in the film.
I will warn you when spoilers approach -
Well, I was getting tired of trying to dodge all the spoilers from the myriad of reviews online and story elements being pitched in ABC's Agents of SHIELD. In a great, industry leading move, Marvel and Disney have shared elements between their TV series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that have taken place in the theaters.
So I finally hit up the theater to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The NON-SPOILER Review:
We watch Steve infiltrate the boat, using his enhanced physical gifts, going hand-to-hand with most of the crew, to take over the boat and rescue the hostages on-board.
But as Captain America and his team are doing their thing, Natasha is off doing her own mission, per Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) orders.
As the mission goes down, Steve and gang help save Agent Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez) and the other hostages.
But that's when the shit hits the fan for all our favorite characters, and the plot of the film, or, the game, is afoot, after a concerted effort to attack and kill Nick Fury.
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One of the biggest changes I've noticed in this film, was how the story was presented.
I know some folks who love how many fantasy/action films develop their stories (When they're good stories) and but aren't totally in love with the all-out action that closes out the third act of a film.
But this movie was different.
It opens with a developing story point, we then get some action, then more story points, more action and so forth. As the story progresses, this pattern continues as we hurtle towards the third act. Even in the third act, more plot points are made and developed while we build towards an action-packed resolution of our story.
And despite his obvious advantages of being the super-soldier, he too has his human flaws and weaknesses. Just to a lesser degree than we mere humans.
The other aspect I enjoyed about the film was that the namesake of the movie title, The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), was that he was just another piece on the chess board of players and it was not all about him. Don't get me wrong, he was rather critical in the confrontations, but we weren't doting all over this one character.
We had the many, many heads of HYDRA to watch and the different actions they had put into play through the movie, keeping us, the movie-goer, thoroughly occupied, as well as our heroes.
OVERALL, this felt like a well balanced film, with a lot to offer with regards to aspects of character history, present developments, and implications towards the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We still had the humor we saw from The Avengers, but it was less frequent, more subtle, but still there.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a worthy film to see in the theater. I'm giving it a popcorn-9 movie score. But if the movie theater is not your game, then it will MOST definitely be worthy of a rental or DVD/BD purchase. I'm definitely planning on snagging that Blu-ray when it comes out.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier non-trivial SPOILERS
If you watch ABC's Agents of SHIELD, you know that HYDRA has infiltrated SHIELD. But what you don't know is what you learn in the movie, and that is that HYDRA had infiltrated SHIELD all the way back in time, to the beginning of the SHIELD organization. That was horrifying to learn.
World Council member Alexander Pierce, who interfaces with SHIELD, is the head of HYDRA, being in the perfect position to run the organization. One where they believe they will be bringing order to the world, when they eliminate approximately 20 million people. Names amongst those 20 million include Bruce Banner, Nick Fury, Natasha, Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Stephen Strange and others. These are people whom they have predicted to be road blocks in their path of world domination.
Yes, Stephen Strange.
In their effort to defeat this entire evil take over, Natasha releases all HYDRA and SHIELD information out on to the internet. Later, she smirks, "Oh look, it's trending."
Then between her, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mack) AKA The Falcon, they tackle the gigantic task of taking down three brand new hellicarrier gunships that were built to carry out HYDRA's plans.
I like the interactions between Rogers and Barnes when they tackle each other. The fights are pretty intense, the tactical implications and processes are nicely done.
We also get a surprising number of reveals as to who are HYDRA agents in the MCU. OMG, even characters that go back to Iron Man 2.
If you can imagine it, once SHIELD devolves into a scattered few, Nick Fury removes the eye patch, puts on dark glasses, a hooded sweatshirt and looks like he'll blend in quite nicely with the populace. And that's his plan for the moment.
And if you were looking closely, or will look closely, during the mall scene, keep your eyes peeled for a Joss Whedon cameo! He's in the crowd on the escalator.
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With Fury in the wild, SHIELD in a shambles, does this set up the story line in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for either Steve Rogers taking over SHIELD or maybe even for Tony Stark to helm SHIELD.
It depends what comic book story line they lean towards in future films.
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier POST CREDIT SCENES (spoilers)
In the post credit scenes, the ones that most folks seem to walk out on, there are two of them.
The mid-credits scene shows Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) telling an underling there are still many HYDRA bases in operation. During that conversation, we see Loki's "spear," as Fury originally called it in The Avengers. But yes, the mind-altering sceptor is in their possession.
Also, we all know that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will be in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. And we see them here, in a containment cell of HYDRA's.
Does this mean they're agents of HYDRA or what?
But this also opens the door to another aspect of the MCU. The premise of actual, mutant powered characters. Up until now, our heroes have all been science produced characters, or highly skilled SHIELD agents. But now, we have these twins in confinement, and they look like they're still figuring out their powers.
This is a legal distinction between Fox licensed properties and MCU written characters. But MCU looks like they're starting to delve into the more mystical of powers.
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The second Post-Credits Scene involves Bucky Barnes.
During the film, he's completely brain-washed and does not know who he is. In an early encounter, Steve almost seems to trigger vague memories of his past, but later HYDRA reprograms, or wipes his mind and sends him out on his next mission.
That being the elimination of Captain America. But again, Steve almost gets through to him and saves his own life by doing so.
The post-credits scene shows Bucky showing up at a museum and reading about his own history. A seemingly subtle hint of what's to come.
Plus, there was a moment half-way through Winter Soldier, where Bucky snags the shield from Cap, and the scene lingers. Many think that's a subtle but clear message being sent to film-goers "in the know" of the impending developments the film makers have in mind.
That being, in the comic franchise, Bucky takes up the shield when Steve Rogers falls. And since Sebastian Stan is signed up for 9 movies and Chris Evans is half way through his 6 film contract. (He originally did not want to commit to more than that, and the news is that he's stepping back from acting for a while after his Cap stint.)
All predictions I've seen out there online say that his final film will probably be in the third Avengers movie.
So maybe, Marvel has plans to be able to continue Cap's story, via Bucky picking up the shield somewhere down the road in the different phases of the MCU.
Captain America Winter Soldier Easter Eggs:So here are a few "Easter Eggs" that were tossed out during the movie:
The hijacker of the ship was Batroc. Or in the comics, he's Batroc the Leaper. This is why he gave Cap a run for his money in their face off on the boat.
The freighter, named The Lemurian Star, seems to be a reference to some sea people, that were created by the Celestials. Not sure if it's just a reference or a heads up.
The computer AI of the scientist Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) is a version or precursor to the AI run robot Zola, an enemy of Cap's in the comics.
Easter, Easter Egg: The building that housed Zola where Cap and Widow encountered him was destroyed by a missile. But in the end of the 2nd post-credits scene, when it fades to black, there was a real quick green fringe or distortion to that closing moment. I think Zola survived the bunker attack.
The Strike Team leader, Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), via various clues and his end-state in the film, is Crossbones.
Emily VanCamp plays Agent 13... or more specifically, Sharon Carter, the niece of Peggy Carter.
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After this, we have:
Guardians of the Galaxy coming out on August 1, 2014,
The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015,
Ant-Man: July 17, 2015,
Untitled films slated for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
This doesn't count the Netflix Marvel projects.
And that's that.
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