Captain America: The Winter Soldier is pretty much exactly what you want out of a Marvel movie. It’s not just a well-done action movie, it’s one that captures the spirit of the comics without slavishly adapting any one plotline. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun, into the bargain. I’ll avoid spoilers, as it’s best to go in cold.
Needless to say, I politely and respectfully disagree with Vince’s review in most respects. There are a few nitpicks: If you’ve seen every Marvel movie to this point, this has a lot more payoff on some levels than it would otherwise, although nothing that will ruin your enjoyment of the movie. And, yes, there’s a little more exposition than one would hope, even if the payoff is often very clever in one way or another.
But the movie itself stands alone, not least because it nails what Captain America is about as a character. What place does trust and loyalty have in a world where you can’t trust anybody? How far do both go when neither are really rewarded the way they should be? And is liberty more important than security? It ties this fairly well to the current political situation; suffice to say that while the weapons that the ultimate villain deploys are science fiction, the ideas he’s working on are not.
It helps that Robert Redford holds down a key role. Really, this is the most fun the guy’s had in years. Chris Evans actually gets a chance to show off his acting a bit, here, as well. Scarlett Johansson, on the other hand, gets barely enough to justify her character being in the movie, and it does leave her in the lurch slightly.
Lest you’re concerned that this is all serious and stuff, it’s chock-a-block with fight scenes and actually fairly comedic for such a serious political thriller. This is a movie that knows why a good chunk of the audience shows up, and it doesn’t disappoint. A nice touch is that this movie doesn’t pull any punches; a lot of people cack it before the dust settles, and the Winter Soldier is a highly effective action villain.
In all, it’s a great action movie and an even better Marvel movie. Go see it, especially if you love Cap; this movie treats him with the respect he deserves.