Saturday, April 5, 2014

Captain America the Winter Soldier – Review

Captain America the Winter Soldier – Review

From the 2011 installment Captain America the First Avenger we were told the story of a patriotic young man named Steve Rogers who in the 1940s was deemed frail and unfit for military service. So instead he volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals and freedom.

In Captain America the Winters Soldier we find it taking place in the relatively present day future so to speak, where now the complexity of the worlds problems are more calculating, more technical and tactical, with more intellectual nefarious protagonist to contend with. The need for security has transcended the basic concerns of simply maintaining country borders or dealing with politics based on regional issues and boundaries. What we have now is an America that is uniquely and singularly committed to security above all else within a new global strategy for maintaining that peace and it is from this new strategy that this sequel begins its story.

CAWS 2014 is a much better choreographed and directorially constructed film than its predecessor in that it feels more consequential, more complex, and more layered with reality. It also delves into very, very subtly both the pathos and fears that permeated this country after 9/11 with its clear emphasis of how much security and at what cost to treasure, lives and freedoms must people be willing to bear.

As a film CAWS has a lot of good things in it such several early on chase and action scenes that moved precisely, smartly and above all very effectively. It also showcased Scarlett Johansson’s strength as an actor who on numerous occasions stole scenes with her smart quips, sexy glances and impressive stylized moves that her character Natasha is known for. Also, Chris Evans aka Captain America has rounded out here to be a solid and reflectively pragmatic Captain America in that he has more depth to his personality and demeanor. In addition his action scenes this time around have more of a modern punch to them, in that he seemed more infused with abilities with just the right amount of super power. Instead of him simply being someone who runs faster or jumps higher, think of him now as more of a Bruce Lee type with muscles, speed, brains and smarts on steroids.

Samuel L. Jackson as always brings his trade mark credibility in the role of Nick Fury. Robert Redford is newly introduced as a life long friend of Nick’s and colleague at The Shield and Anthony Mackie is Sam Wilson aka The Falcon. Mackie is a solid actor but for my money his role added nothing to this film other than someone else for the bad guys to shoot at.  

CAWS has a 2 hours 5 minutes running time that is filled with new chaos, new villains, new action, new darkness and new contemporary concerns. And while I liked this sequel much, much more than the original, it does fall off just a bit in quality towards the second half with too much concentration on the darkness and chaos. You already know going in to CAWS there was going to be a lot of explosions and bullets flying in the end. And that is what made it feel like for me any number of other cliché endings you have seen in countless other super hero action films. Case and point, if you saw the ending to “Iron man 3” and you watch CAWS also, tell me how exactly how the endings are any different from one another?

Still, as entertainment value goes it is worth you taking a trip into the not too distant future to see on the big screen “The Cap” Save America Once Again.

3 – 1/2 Stars

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