Well, we are less than a week away from Age of Ultron opening in the United States, which means I should be getting close to the end of my trip back through the MCU. Today, it’s Captain America The Winter Soldier, and then there is just one more film left, Guardians of the Galaxy. I really feel like the best have been saved for last. These last two films are two of my favorite films in the MCU. The Winter Soldier is not just one of my favorite MCU films, but it might make my overall top ten of all time (which would make an interesting post…hmmm…). This movie has it all. Action, intrigue, comedy, story, really a little bit of everything. It is a solid storyline that stays true to the original source material, without being too married to it that it loses out on being a great film. This is a hard balance for movies to hit sometimes, but his one pulls it off.
One of the best things about this movie is the continuing evolution of Captain America. In First Avenger, we get his origin story see how he becomes a legend during World War II, and how he ends up in our modern-day. In Avengers, we see that Cap has not fully adjusted to his role in this new world, in fact, by the end of Avengers, he has barely figured out what his role should be. He is still sticking out like a sore thumb in the modern world. We really see that adjustment in The Winter Soldier, as Captain America realizes how he can fit in, how he can make the world a better place. It’s not just joining in and blindly following orders. He realizes he can make SHIELD better, even if it means starting over like Peggy suggests. At the beginning of the film, Cap is somewhat content with the idea of Fury sending him on missions, and him completing those missions. He is bothered by the fact that Fury seems to keep secrets from him, like giving Black Widow a separate assignment on one of their missions, without telling Cap, but he is still somewhat on board. After everything really starts going down with SHIELD, IE Fury gets “killed,” Cap begins really questioning his role, and SHIELD’s role and how different is SHIELD than HYDRA? There begins to be a shift, as Cap begins to settle into his natural role as a leader. You can see this happening with Sam Wilson, The Falcon, who is simply there to follow Cap. The big scene where the full shift finally occurs is when Cap and Black Widow and Sam and Agent Hill are meeting with Fury (who is not really dead), and they are discussing what they are going to do to take HYDRA out. Fury wants to keep the three helicarriers, but just get rid of HYDRA. Cap says no, they are going to take them out, take out SHIELD as well as HYDRA. Fury protests, but Hill speaks up and is with Cap, and then Black Widow says she is too, and Sam says he only does what Cap does, only slower. Fury then says it looks like Captain America is calling the shots now. That’s the moment when Cap is in charge, where he takes his place as the leader in this new world, and not just a soldier.
The supporting cast in this movie are fantastic. In the middle of everything that is going on, we have the appearance of the Winter Soldier, who we find out is really Bucky with a metal arm. His memory has been wiped (numerous times it looks like), so he doesn’t remember Cap or his previous life during World War II. The role is played very well by Sebastian Stan. He doesn’t have a lot of lines, to make his character dark and mysterious, but that can sometimes be harder to play a role with no lines. He does it well, playing the part of not recognizing Cap, and wanting to kill him. He also plays the part well at the end of the movie when he saves Cap, and then goes off to find himself, as it were. He is supposedly locked into a contract for multiple future films, so I assume we will be seeing the Winter Soldier again.
The highlight of the film, however, is Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/The Falcon. He was fantastic from his first scene where Cap keeps lapping him as their jogging, to when he puts on the wings and becomes Falcon. Mackie has great timing throughout the film, and offers a lot of heart when Cap is trying to figure out his place in the world. In fact, he is the moral compass in the film, which is one of the most important roles of any sidekick, or partner as the case might be. I am hoping he is in Age of Ultron (that’s the rumor) and in Civil War, and in any number of future MCU films. He was just so good, I came out of the film thinking he was one of my favorite characters in the MCU now.
Overall, Captain America The Winter Soldier is one heck of a film. Marvel’s best to date, in my opinion. Age of Ultron looks good, but it will be tough for it to top this movie. When I sat down to watch it earlier today, I was thinking that I remembered it being really good, but as I watched it again, I was surprised by how good it was. That’s the sign of a good movie, I think. If it surprises you with how good it is each time you watch it. It’s rare for me to give a movie 5 stars across the board, but this is a rare movie.
What did you all think of The Winter Soldier? Did it live up to the hype? Is it one of the better MCU films, or are there others you would rank above it? Let me know in the comments.