If you missed my review on Captain America’s previous film, catch up on it here.
As previously established, I am no fan of Captain America. In all honesty, I care very little for any of the Avengers – movie or otherwise. However, I was surprised by how good Cap. A’s first film in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) actually was. So, did the next feature capture me as much, or was it as much of a dud as I hoped?
Actually, I found it to be a lot better than the prior release. There was a lot more to this feature that drew me in and had me at least semi-invested. I found that The First Avenger (2011) had a pace that didn’t quite capture me, as well as the main plot (of Steve Rogers vs Hydra and Red Skull) to be a lot less enthralling than his transformation into Captain America and how that brought him his dream of being in the army, but not close to what he really believed in. However, this feature kept my interest the whole way through with both pacing and plot.
In this film, we see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) adjusting to life in the 21st century after being frozen for 70-odd years, as well as trying his best to lead missions under S.H.I.E.L.D, a secret agency formed by the people who Rogers had previously worked with in the war (including Tony Stark’s father). However, S.H.I.E.L.D seems to be holding more secrets than it can handle, which lead to the death of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who was last seen in Roger’s apartment, leading him to being a suspect for S.H.I.E.L.D to hunt as they believe he’s withholding information about Fury. But while on the run, Rogers and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) find that Hydra have been secretly working within S.H.I.E.L.D for all these years.
I’m gonna say it now, this review will have spoilers. No hold backs. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, go do that before continuing. Unless you don’t care. Either way, I ain’t stopping you.
I thought it was obvious from the beginning that Fury’s friend – who’s name isn’t really worth remembering – was the one who hired the Winter Soldier. I also thought it was obvious, once we found out that Hydra was still alive within S.H.I.E.L.D, that he was the head of it. It’s kind of just typical now that if an old friend of a main character is introduced as a new character in a film series (or even in one-off films, to be honest), but we’re not given a touching scene where we find out a tragic back-story to them, then they will turn out to be the villain. At this point, it’s the kind of cliché that CinemaSins would complain about. I also thought it was obvious that Fury wasn’t actually dead, beside knowing that he’s alive in following features. It just seemed too soon to kill off someone who’s supposed to be so important to the Avengers’ storyline when we’ve been given so little of him – so of course they faked his death.
As someone who doesn’t keep up with comic books, I thought the reveal of Rogers’ old friend Bucky, who we presumed dead during the last film, being the Winter Soldier was really well done, as we knew nothing about this mysterious villain for half the film, and then we’re suddenly shown in mid fight who he is. It truly is as much of a surprise to Cap. A as it is to the audience (unless you read the comics, as already mentioned. In which case, good for you Mr/Mrs/Mx I-Know-What’s-Gonna-Happen-Because-I-Ain’t-No-Casual-Fan. I hope you still enjoyed the reveal, all the same).
The acting on everyone’s behalf was really great. Though not being a fan of Captain America (at all), I’d like to give a quick round of applause to Chris Evans for giving a top-notch performance in all of the Cap. A features, as he really does capture the character well and make me care about him until the films are over. I also think the cinematography and directing in this flick are worth pointing out, as I’m not one to generally enjoys action-based movies; while I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the film (simply meaning that I wouldn’t be interested in re-watching it, rather than it just being a bad watch – which it definitely isn’t), it definitely held me a lot more than most action-based flicks do – especially in comparison to the Avengers (2012 and 2015) movies, which I felt were both too heavy on the action with not enough plot. I wouldn’t really expect anything bad to come from the Russo brothers, though.
My main complaint would be that I felt the first 40 minutes dragged out longer than they needed to, considering how little happens in that time. I understand that the things we’re shown here are crucial towards the rest of the plot, so I’m not saying it should have been cut completely – rather that it should have been half the time it was. They so could have summed up what happened in that third of the feature in only 20 minutes.
Overall, it was a pretty good film. Better than The First Avenger, but not good enough for me to fully care about Cap. A as a whole; but, while his features are on, I am drawn in enough to care about him within the plot. It’s worth checking out (but only if you’ve seen the first film).