FilmReview

Review: "Captain America" Sequel is a Game Changer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Michael Moccio ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Managing Editor

Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Photo Credit: Marvel.
Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Photo Credit: Marvel.

Since Iron Man was released in 2008, the Marvel Universe has grown exponentially and is one of the main reasons for the revitalized comic book industry, bringing in new and old fans alike. None of the solo titles have yet to meet the standard set by Iron Man; sure, Captain America: The First Avenger was enjoyable, as was Thor, but neither of them can compare to this movie that revolutionizes the superhero genre. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a movie that redefines what the genre’s capable of and proves to be a thrilling and engaging film.

The directors of the film—the Russo brothers—had talked about the movie prior to the release, saying that it was more of a political thriller than anything else. They managed to synthesize all the enjoyable elements of a political thriller, an action movie, and superhero movie to create something utterly unique and, quite frankly, game-changing. Their creative direction was incredibly innovative, essentially breaking the foundations upon which S.H.I.E.L.D. and the governmental-related aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were built upon. They tackle real-world issues like availability of information, corruption in government, and the threat government could pose if given too much power.

The ultimate reveal is completely unexpected, but believable, and adds another dimension to The Winter Solider that pushes it beyond a simple “superhero” film. That ability to be something other than a straightforward “superhero” movie will prove invaluable to Marvel as they continue to diversify their future projects. The Winter Solider proves they’re not only able to step out of their comfort zone, but succeed in taking these creative risks.

Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Photo Credit: Marvel.
Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Photo Credit: Marvel.

While The Winter Solider is groundbreaking from a genre-standpoint, the movie essentially sets the board for future Marvel projects and hints where the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe plans to go. Easter egg references are riddled throughout the film, and indicate a wider range of B-list superheroes making it to the big screen, which will further increase the exposure of the lesser-known Marvel Universe.

Beyond that, The Winter Solider has consequences and effects that will span throughout the rest of the universe. Marvel utilized Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the popular television show, to act as a prologue and an opportunity to expand on the consequences of the events in The Winter Solider. This is something that’s never been done before and gives the studio an impressive opportunity for future projects.

For anyone who wanted a Black Widow solo-movie, look no further than The Winter Solider, as Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson) gets almost as much screen time as Captain America (Chris Evans). She plays an integral part in the film and stands on equal ground with the likes of Steve Rogers. Likewise, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), aka Falcon, creates an interesting new dynamic between the main trio of characters, adding a sense of humor and depth that Captain America, Black Widow, and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) aren’t able to provide.

Cobie Smulders in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Photo Credit: Marvel.
Cobie Smulders in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Photo Credit: Marvel.

All the main actors and actresses get their moments to shine throughout the movie; even the side characters like Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and an unlikely villain making a reappearance succeed in earning a spot in the limelight. Make no mistake, however, because Evans impresses once more in his portrayal of Marvel’s “boy scout.”

If anything, The Winter Solider shows what’s possible when cinematic universes are planned from the get-go. It connects past plot points from a variety of the other films and sets up others with future storylines. While the movie might be criticized for functioning too much along the lines of a set-up film, that doesn’t change the fact that it captivates the audience from beginning to end. Longtime Marvel fans will be rewarded for understanding all the references made throughout the movie while more casual fans should, at least, be able to relish the fact that Marvel is promising a more eclectic array of movies for the future.

The Winter Solider is a must see for anyone invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or anyone who just wants to have a good time. And, please, stay for the scenes after the credits—you won’t be disappointed.

Overall Grade: A

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