Franchise fare can occasionally engage the mind as well as the eyes and ears. In a post-Snowden context, 'The Winter Soldier' explored the nature of espionage, cyber warfare and surveillance dystopias not seen since the denouement of Nolan's 'The Dark Knight'. The laborious spectacle is matched by a complex tale of institutional duplicity akin to 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'. Better than expected.
The Greatest Generation lands in an era where America might not so easily be the good guys. That's the flavor of this blockbuster, and Robert Redford gives it a fine 70s government conspiracy vibe. Granted, flavor is all it is—as the plot reaches its climactic slugfest, the politics are whatever you want them to be. But it's nice to be in the hands of filmmakers who know that ideas can spice up entertainment.
A sequel that lacks everything that made the first film stand out. Gone is the period setting and witty situational comedy, as well as the character drama and layers of Evan's title hero that are much weaker than the first. Instead, there's more action scenes, yet they are never particularly creative, and certainly aren't tense or surprising. Even the traditional themes of duty and service are thin this time around.
If it's too much to ask for a Marvel Studios film to possess a distinct visual style, then we can at least hope their superhero output continues to be as strong as "Winter Soldier." During its best moments, the film feels like a Ed Brubaker storyarc come to life, with snappy banter and larger than life heroics lifted straight from the comics. But not quite enough goodwill is generated to overlook the tired third act.
Demanding respect while honking a clown horn,this movie takes its fairytale world laughably seriously and wants you to be gasping at the stakes even though none of it has any basis in human life. I'll take the laziest grindhouse tripe over movies like this any day of the week.
Captain America steps up his game and becomes a likeable and capable superhero... in fact he's badass. Scarlett Johanson as Black Widow is as likeable as ever, and even Sam Jackson gets a memorable scene. I actually enjoyed the plot and felt it took a more original approach, and all in all this is one of my favourite Marvel films now. Saw it twice in the cinema.
If you strip down the nice, clean imagery and the undeniably well constructed action sequences, and stop to think about the plot you'll realize how ridiculous everything actually is. It's a shame that Redford decided to be a part of a project such as this.
If The Dark Knight was a crime drama masquerading as a comic book movie, this Captain America movie is disguising itself as a 70s political espionage thriller doing the same thing. Plenty of the signature Marvel humor to go around and the cinematic translations of the new characters were well done. The performances were pretty great and the ending did a great job of getting me fired up for the next one.