Marvel has upped their game again with CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, and while it never quite reaches giddy fan service highs of THE AVENGERS, it firmly stands above their other films to date in its breadth of accomplishments. Familiarity with these characters certainly helps them keep the plot tighter, but I think Marvel is just getting better and better with each try at figuring out what makes an adventure blockbuster totally kick ass!
While Cap’s learned some killer new moves, and The Falcon flies in with some exhilarating aerial badassery, the most impressive thing about WINTER SOLDIER is how these players are handled. In a beautifully earnest moment, Cap admits that the only reason he persists as a soldier (which he is increasingly growing uncomfortable with) is because he doesn’t know what else he would do, or what makes him happy. Similarly meaningful treatments of Black Widow and Nick Fury help them shine brighter here than in any of their previous appearances.
I only have two real gripes with the film. One is that the superdense plot feels like it needs more room to breathe. The film will leave audiences reeling, as there’s almost enough going on here for a whole other film. The result of this is my second gripe, and that’s the handling of the exposition. For a film that revolves around digging into the secrets of the most secretive of all secrety organizations, Cap was able to figure out what was going on relatively easily with a little help from his friends, and some remarkably blabby villians.
Minor quibbles aside, if you like Marvel movies, you’ll love CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLIDER. It’s one of their best efforts yet!
3D Recommendation: Shaky cam, quick cuts, and a few weird character builds may be occasionally disorienting to those susceptible, but a generally decent stereo blend and some killer aerial bits with the Falcon definitely help the pros outweigh the cons.