?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
23 April 2014 @ 08:19 pm
Film Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier  
I write this review as someone who barely remembered the first Captain America movie. So no one was more surprised than I that this film affected me way more than I thought it would.


Like most of the audience, I knew well in advance the identity of the Winter Soldier. I mean, even if you didn't read the countless articles out there that more or less spoiled it one way or the other, if you watched the trailer or even saw a photo of the Winter Soldier it was fairly obvious to me who was behind that mask. And since I didn't really recall much about the Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes best friends forever friendship in movie one, I was ready to file this reveal as yet one more thing to give Steve Rogers intense man pain. So I was rather surprised that the film handled the entire thing with way more effective intensity.

I liked how the film had a general running theme of war veterans suffering from PTSD. From Sam leading that support group to Steve clearly still suffering not just as a man out of this time, but also someone who has started to lose touch with why he does what he does. By the end of the movie, the latter point is brought enough to the forefront where the playing field in this war between HYDRA and SHIELD has gone so morally gray that I could honestly believe Steve just being tired and fed up and damaged by the entire process that he was willing to go down with ship, so to speak. His last scene with Bucky could have just been one eye rolling cliched moment of Steve not leaving his best friend because CAPTAIN AMERICA does not do that. But it instead said more about Steve's mental state that after all the garbage he's had to go through, he was absolutely not going to want to live through killing his best friend.

I'd also like to applaud the somewhat surprisingly wrenching performance by Sebastian Stan as Bucky/Winter Soldier. Apart from the first Captain America movie, I remember Stan from NBC's last high conception show before Hannibal came on the scene, Kings. The series had some problems but I was rather addicted to it when it aired back several years ago with the entire cast, Stan included, turning in strong performances even if the scripts didn't quite deliver. He also did a brief turn as the Mad Hatter in Once Upon a Time which I saw some of but I was never able to judge my feelings about his performance objectively since his characterization of the Hatter hit all my "OMG EVERYTHING I WANT AND MORE!" buttons when it comes to characters. So, yeah, it was good to see he's only gotten better as an actor.

The Winter Soldier showed up rather late in the film and had maybe a handful of lines but I was surprised at just how tragic the entire performance was. I was glad that as militant as they made Winter Soldier, he wasn't like an actual machine. If they had brainwashed Bucky to the point where he was basically a robot following orders with zero emotion behind it, I probably would have felt less. But that whole scene where Pierce tells him he's doing a service for America and giving the world salvation meant to me that the scientists actually kept enough of Bucky's humanity intact that they're appealing to some buried sense of patriotism and duty to get him to do his missions which makes his story about a million times worse. "That man on the bridge knew me. I knew him." Oh Jesus, I do not envy the poor therapist that has to begin tackling that broken mind. Or Steve Rogers for that matter.

The rest of the movie as an action film was quite good. I liked that unlike other Marvel films, this really became a solid ensemble piece when it came down to defeating HYDRA. Sure, Steve has super serum strength but as Chris Evans once said about Captain America's role in the Avengers, he's just a regular guy when compared to characters like Thor who is a god and the Hulk who can rip apart jets with his bear hands. As such, it felt more reasonable to me that Steve is aided in his mission by Sam and Natasha, both of whom employ brains and brawn to tackle the enemy.

So I guess the stage is set for the next onslaught of Marvel films. I'm curious how and if they're planning on tying in this movie and the next one to anything in the upcoming X-Men film given what we saw as an end credits scene.
Tags:
 
 
 
saphicwicca: Banshee Lydiasaphicwicca on April 24th, 2014 12:36 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this movie on multiple levels. I'm an old school CA comics fan, so I knew the Winter Soldier's story before going into the movie and therefore that aspect of it and the Steve/Bucky interactions and the scenes with Bucky himself weren't so much of a surprise as much as what was unfolding between HYDRA and SHIELD (and how that has in turn affected the ABC television series).

However, as for the end-credits scene, my understanding is it's more a hint of things to come in the next Avengers movie, as opposed to anything X-Men related, because both characters are slated to be in Avengers 2 (though due to the Marvel/Fox legal issues they are not allowed to be referred to as "mutants").

Still, Marvel is fond of saying "everything's connected" so I'm sure as the 'phase 2' movies wrap up we will be seeing some plot threads interweaving.

Edited at 2014-04-24 12:37 am (UTC)
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 25th, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC)
I strangely ended up feeling more for Bucky than Steve but that could very well be that I knew next to nothing about Bucky so just completely took in his story of someone who ends up becoming a broken victim and pawn in the war between HYDRA and SHIELD.

though due to the Marvel/Fox legal issues they are not allowed to be referred to as "mutants"

Ah, I didn't know that. I'm curious given these characters are also to appear (or at least one of them) in the next X-Men movie so I wasn't sure if there was going to be an explicit reference.
aelfgyfu_meadaelfgyfu_mead on April 24th, 2014 01:30 am (UTC)
But that whole scene where Pierce tells him he's doing a service for America and giving the world salvation meant to me that the scientists actually kept enough of Bucky's humanity intact that they're appealing to some buried sense of patriotism and duty to get him to do his missions which makes his story about a million times worse.
YES!

I went to the movie because I heard that I should see it before watching the next episode of Agents of SHIELD, which has really hooked me lately. I was complaining that they conned me into seeing it in the theater when I'd have just watched it on Netflix except that I needed it for the show I like.

And then it pushed so many of my buttons! I knew Natasha would appear, but I didn't know she'd have a big role in it, and I knew who the Winter Soldier was, but I had no idea how that would hit me—I'm now reading Captain America fanfic. Kind of a lot of it, given that I read none before the last ten days. And I plan to get the comics with this storyline (or something sorta kinda roughly approximating this storyline; sholio has given me recs, but I haven't managed to get the right first one yet).

And now I'm eagerly awaiting the next Avengers movie and the next Captain America movie and making fanfics in my head. . . . (I don't know that they'll ever go farther than my head because they'd need little things like beginning, middle, and end.)
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on April 24th, 2014 01:38 am (UTC)
I don't watch Agents of SHIELD but saw this movie with a friend who does who tried to explain some stuff to me. I'm impressed by how so many of the Marvel stories are connected now. I imagine it's kind of a nightmare for the writers. It's like a round robin where writers tag each other before peace-ing out and the newbies have to pick up the threads.

I'm now reading Captain America fanfic. Kind of a lot of it, given that I read none before the last ten days.

Oh my god, so am I. And I NEVER thought I'd be reading Captain America fic. I go back and forth between wanting to at least imagine how in fic form someone would tackle trying to give therapy to either Steve or (Jesus, good luck) Bucky. I almost feel like for the latter there has to be some level of hand-waving to ease up the trauma that I really can't imagine anyone recovering from.
tommycruisestommy50702 on May 4th, 2015 03:33 pm (UTC)
Everybody loves this movie. Chris Evans nailed it again!