Let’s cut to the chase, “The Winter Soldier” is arguably one of the greatest comic book films ever made. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War) made this film in the same category as “Logan,” “The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight.” Although there are no wrong answers as to which film is better, “Winter Soldier” delivers on all fronts and then some. But what makes it so special and sets it apart from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
***SPOILERS ahead for the 10 people who haven’t seen this film***
In this film, we find Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), who is trying to embrace his new life at S.H.I.E.L.D., just after the events of “The Avengers.” He comes to find out that there is this mystery assassin who has been at work for decades and no one seems to really know, all while learning that Hydra has been operating from within S.H.I.E.L.D. for years.
The acting in this film is phenomenal and by far one of the best storylines in the MCU thus far. Chris Evans just owns the role as Captain America as he embodies him more and more each time he’s in a different film. When he learns that S.H.I.E.L.D. is not what he thought it was you can literally feel how devastated he was. Not only that, but learning that his thought-to-be-dead best friend, Bucky has been the Winter Soldier the entire time. When Rogers discovers this half-way through the film after that intense fight sequence, it’s almost as though his expressions is exactly what the audience was feeling at that same moment for the first time.
Samuel L. Jackson back as Nick Fury is crowd pleasing as always and having Scarlett Johansson back as Natasha puts a cherry on top of this delicious film. The addition of Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson was also a nice touch for the film with adding a little humor. While Marvel has had some issues in the past with their villains, there’s not really a standalone villain to face-off at the end other than Steve fighting Bucky. Hydra was basically the main villain and it worked because we cared about who he is and Sebastian Stan does a fantastic job.
The action in this film is jaw-dropping and precise and it doesn’t let up. From the one-on-one between Cap and Georges on the ship, to the elevator fight, to the high-way battle sequence was flawless. The way the sequences were shot was stunning, nonetheless, as you were able to tell what punch was going where and it gets to the point where you can almost feel it. Just the fight between Fury and those Hydra agents in the middle of the street was intense all by itself.
Even though the acting was great, the action was impactful and entertaining, none of this film would have worked without the script. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote a fantastic script that was executed perfectly by the actors. The story alone was engaging and had the audience at the edge of their seat the entire time.
This film is by far the best standalone MCU film to date, while also being the most grounded. Out of most of its entirety, it doesn’t even feel like a comic book movie. It serves more as a political thriller and transcended the comic book genre moving forward. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” delivers on all fronts by displaying a riveting story while also paying homage to comic book movies in general. This film deserves all of the praise and is certainly a film to hold up for years.