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Series: Captain America #2
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier absolutely blew my fuckin’ mind! If I had a review up here of Captain America: The First Avenger, it’d prolly be something dismal – like 2.5 stars or lower. I’ve never even finished that movie. If I had a review up of The Avengers, it’d be glowing with 4 gigantic stars. And I am unashamed to say it – I liked Captain America: The Winter Soldier much more than I liked The Avengers.
Everyone loses their minds over damned Loki (Tom Hiddleston) (well, and, for that matter, Tom Hiddleston, himself), and it’s because he’s a great example of a fully fleshed out villain. Now, I’m known to have huge soft spots for a well-done villain. Lucifer. Him. Loki. General Zod. And now The Winter Soldier.
Talk about conflicted characters. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) starts off as mindless as any other storybook antagonist – he’s wickedly strong, the seemingly perfect match to Captain America’s battle ferocity, and he does it with ease. I honestly believed in his threat to S.H.E.I.L.D. and the Captain (Chris Evans). That’s been something missing from the silver screen for some time, now.
But then, as the story progressed, I started to feel for him, and I refuse to discuss it with anyone who hasn’t seen the movie yet. It’s not hard to see why, though – if you watch, you, too, will feel the pull to sympathize with The Winter Soldier.
Of course, as he only comes in part of the way through the movie, there are other things that brought me to his entrance, and it’s no less awesome.
At the very start of the film, we meet Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), medically retired former paratrooper, as Steve Rogers runs circles around him on a morning run. Their conversations, especially, were a highlight of the film for me because I felt for Sam’s plight even when he didn’t have all the screen time in the world. I believed in their friendship as much as I came to believe in The Winter Soldier’s menace. They were sooo easy to root for as they worked together and went back and forth. They legitimately came across as genuine friends, both on behalf of the characters and the actors.
It’s Steve and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) I didn’t quite believe in.
I distrusted her motives for trying to get Steve laid – or a date, whatever – and I particularly disliked the scene that pretty much forced Steve and Natasha to kiss. Even though it was clearly in keeping with the film’s premise and plot lines, and glaringly platonic, it still made me uncomfortable to know the filmmakers were throwing that idea in there even as a tease. First of all, Steve and Natasha don’t make a good couple. (Sue me!) Second, though, I think it lent Natasha’s character a weird vibe.
In The Avengers, she seemed pretty heavily involved with Jeremy Renner. With her history as a Russian traitor out there, it’s not hard to draw a connection between her being fickle in her personal life as well. So, if she’s supposed to be a thing with Jeremy, then why the half-flirting situation with trying to get Steve a date the entire movie? (Yes… it’s a running thing through the whole movie.)
That right there is for real the only reason I knocked half a star off Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I will say this of Natasha Romanoff, though: weird vibe or not, she does prove herself in the film, and I find that exciting in a female character. Not only her, but the other two female S.H.E.I.L.D. agents are given an element of depth that Man of Steel would not have known what to do with. (That’s a gripe or another time.)
Now, for the big cahuna of the film, let’s discuss Captain Steve Rogers himself.
I have one thing to say for this one: GOOD JOB, FILMMAKERS. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!
No, seriously. Steve is so layered and yet so fundamentally him in this movie that I can’t even begin to explain it with any amount of efficacy. If you like me thought Captain America was just a beefed up do-gooder with a shield, this movie will have you thinking otherwise. He demonstrates purposeful, admirable and heartbreaking development throughout the entire film to match that of his antagonistic counterpart, The Winter Soldier.
It’s actually pretty impressive, what he accomplishes in the duration of the film, as a superhero. Personally, Steve seems like much more of a superhero than he ever was in Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. And a ten-thousand-times more relatable character, as well (and, no, not just because he’s getting with the times). If my husband can recognize the development of Steve Rogers from the other two movies to now, then that should really say something – he won’t even read an article if it’s too long.
And, my God, those fight scene are what is up!
I just hope this trend of well-rounded characters and stunning cinematography continues in this upward fashion! It’s so exciting!