Hollywood
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The Winter Soldier is a perfect balance of thrilling superhero action and tense political thriller, and despite coming out in April, it sets the bar ridiculously high for this summer's action movies. At this stage in the game, Marvel have honed their action movie chops to such insane precision it seems they just can't do no wrong.

Rating  

A tense political thriller wearing a flashy superhero costume.

[do action=”play-by-play-spoilers”/]

[do action=”moment” emo=”Insane” title=”Stealth for the digital age.”/]

Remember the days when special agents would lurk in shadows, waiting for the right moment to hit their targets in complete silence? This is the same thing, only loud and fast. We get reacquainted to a Captain America in total control of the situation, casually non-flirting with Black Widow and distracting us from George St-Pierre’s horrible acting. If ever Robert Downey Jr. decides to hang up the heavy metal suit, we’re sure Mr. Evans will make a fitting replacement as Marvel figurehead.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Laughable” title=”Speaking of George St-Pierre…”/]

Look, the staff of the Critic’s Remote is from Quebec, so we have no choice but to talk about this a little bit more. See, the team that hijacked the ship was supposed to be Algerian, yet there’s St-Pierre with a thick Quebec accent and an utter inability to act. Imagine George W. Bush playing a British spy and you get the idea how ridiculous that sounded to us Quebecois. Still; nice fight.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Geeky” title=”Let’s take a moment to talk about crossovers.”/]

So last Wednesday on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Sitwell showed up and had his name repeated two times so we’d be sure to remember it when we sat in the theater. Nice of Kevin Feige to share a third-rate actor with the TV show, but we guess that’s all the crossover we’re gonna get. Where was Coulson and his team during the events of this movie? Oh, we’re sure the show is gonna make up a reason for them being totally out of it, but just seeing, I dunno, Ward in the thick of the action would have made a hell of a difference to the show viewers. As it stands, the movie didn’t even call the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters by the same name as the series, and they sure don’t share aesthetics or style. This makes us feel like the previous sixteen episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were just filler for the major events in this movie.

You can argue that Marvel makes efforts to keep the two coherent, but we’re pretty sure at this point that the people making Captain America call the shots, and all the S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunners can do is say how high.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Clever” title=”Ingenious exposition!”/]

Thinking back on the movie’s events, it’s clear Steve Rogers visits the Smithsonian for one major reason: to remind wandering viewers just who the hell Bucky is. Turns out they also give us a glimpse of who Agent Carter was, not to mention a recap on HYDRA. Was this an elaborate attempt at exposition camouflage? What a genius move.

[do action=”moment” emo=”HolyShit” title=”Nick Fury finally gets his action moment.”/]

At last, Samuel Jackson shows us he can do more than talk heroes into fighting the big fight. The car chase pushed Fury to the edge, even though his car looks better armed than the Batmobile. This whole scene was perfectly directed and almost too tense for safe popcorn chewing.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Triumphant” title=”Cap raises the action bar even higher.”/]

The elevator fight scene was used all over marketing clips leading up to the movie release, but it was still incredibly effective and tense in context. The action is crazy fun, and ends with Captain America taking down a VTOL plane with only his shield. Zack Snyder’s emo Superman can retire now.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Exciting” title=”Who put Heat in our superhero movie?”/]

The long fight scene on the bridge between the Winter Soldier and Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon is going to be the action scene to beat this summer season, even though we’re not near summer yet. Perfect mix of somber, thrilling action, and over-the-top superheroics. The whole thing had this gut-wrenching realism to it, even though it featured a guy with a flying shield taking on another guy with a metal arm. Seriously, Marvel has raised the bar so high on action movies that you need a cape to even reach that high.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Creepy” title=”HYDRA makes a comeback courtesy of Facebook.”/]

Wow, we never saw THAT one coming. Way to actualize the good old Nazi scare by employing veiled references to Facebook and the NSA. Great to see Arnim Zola back in full form, too.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Exciting” title=”The heroes take down the helicarriers.”/]

The helicarriers turned into a great menace, transforming the vague sense of dread of the American public at invasion of privacy into an over-the-top suborbital gun platform designed to individually kill any rebellious individual the world over. (Hey, we even saw Tony Stark on that list.) The action, once again, was top notch all the way through, including some insane flak-dodging action by Falcon, and a personal, up close fight between Cap and Bucky. We’re sold.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Puzzling” title=”Why, it’s Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.”/]

We’re starting to wonder whether the mid-credits scenes add much value to the Marvel experience anymore. Did we need to see Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch? Not really. They’re totally out of the scope of this movie, and if you know who they are, you probably know they’ll be in Avengers: Age of Ultron.


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