Greetings ATG fans, Jake here with a first time movie review of Captain America: Winter Soldier. I am presuming that since all of you are geeks this movie is already well known to you, if not stop reading this now and go see it. The movie is well worth the money, and arguably the best marvel movie to date (though not my number 1 pick). A warning, this review will contain at least partial spoilers as I pick apart what I liked and did not like. I will start with what I did not like, so I can end on a positive.
The bad stuff, honestly there was little to complain about this movie. A viewer less critical then me may argue it was even flawless; however, I did have a few minor problems.
The glass breaking gets ridiculous in this movie (as previously mentioned by Warren and Terrell in the show). At first it did not bother me, but by an hour it if felt like more windows were broken then every other marvel movie combined. It made no sense, a couple of times is cool, literally over 15 times is repetitive! To make matters worse not a single scratch or cut was caused by this barrage of flying glass. Captain America has a shield, so I can at least partially believe he could avoid cuts by riding that bad boy through the window, but what about Black Widow or Falcon, both of which are unarmored, but jumping through windows with not a scratch! This combined with the flood of glass breaking had me rolling my eyes, but is a relatively minor complaint.
My biggest problem was one which Terrell and I have discussed back and forth, that he doesn’t consider a problem, but that I consider a big writing flaw. While Hydra is essentially on the verge of taking over the world, and massacring 7 million people where were the rest of the Avengers? Unlike past comic movies, the Avengers have been established in this timeline. The writers did not forget this because there are continual references to the other Avengers. Hell Tony Stark is even targeted by Hydra’s guns! So where were The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, or even Hawkeye (a member of shield)! The movie never tells. This was a major oversight. If you are part of the biggest, most bad ass super hero team in the world, and the world is on the verge of being taken over by an evil organization you call your super friends for help! To make matters even worse the movie harps on the fact that at times it seems like it is Captain America and Black Widow against the world, but why? At no time is this rationalized.
I understand logistically this was a Cap movie, so the writers wanted the focus on him. I also understand the producers most likely did not want to pay major actors to show up for brief instants in the movie. But why was it never mentioned why Cap did not make the call? This could have been simple, Falcon or Black Widow suggests calling Tony or the others, and Cap says “No, we have no idea how far this goes.” Or “No, they would probably arrest us.” But instead the issue is ignored! It did not ruin the movie, but it did baffle me.
The good, this movie is amazing. The action is well paced, with each hero having a moment to shine, but also challenged by villains. The movie has an interesting moral argument at its core which makes it even better. Characters once on the side lines like Nick Fury show why they are major characters, kicking ass and taking names. The movie had the perfect blend of pithy dialogue, funny moments, action, and emotional interactions that make a great comic movie. Even non-comic fans could enjoy this movie. This movie made some great improvements on past marvel movies such as the Avengers and Captain America.
Perhaps one of the best things the movie did was less overt and unnecessary sexualization of Black Widow. Scarlet Johansen is hot, but the Avengers essentially made her eye candy posing her in ridiculous ways, dressing her scantily, and generally adding to the reasons why female characters are not taken seriously. In this movie Black Widow’s raw looks are there, but not exploited. She shows herself to be a strong character with value on the team beyond her feminine physique. She dresses competently, but still femininely, and doesn’t bend over/ show of her butt for random reasons. This was a great step.
The movie also had a great caste of villains. Each part of the movie had its own minor henchman, while the overarching organization of Hydra pulled the strings. This helped the pacing a lot, lending fights a great deal of variety. Overall, I cannot recommend this movie enough; despite its minor flaws it is still excellent. Though it does not take the place of my favorite marvel movie, which remains Amazing Spiderman, it certainly is in my top 5.
If you liked my review, have questions, constructive criticism, or want to argue against my opinions feel free to contact me on the Around the Geek Facebook page. I would be more than happy to discuss the movie. If you want more reviews from my perspective let the ATG writers know and I will keep doing them (potentially even taking requests).