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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan | Review

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3sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE Judy Thorburn

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3lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the ninth movie that Marvel Studios has made in its interwoven superhero universe of the Avengers and its spinoffs that has become a cultural phenomenon grossing more than $6 billion in worldwide box office revenues.

So right off, regardless of what I or any other critic has to say, die hard fans of the comic book will be lining up in droves to see this film at their local theatre. As for me, this followup directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo (2006 comedy “You, Me and Dupree”) from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely is not as good as the first.

In the original 2011 film patriotic Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was a ninety five pound weakling in the early 1940's who wanted to do his duty and sign up for the military to help his country and found himself transformed into a pumped up, superhuman killing machine aka Captain America by a secret army experiment and then cryogenically frozen in the Arctic for 70 years.

The follow up, a blend of political conspiracy thriller and action packed superhero movie, is set in present day and involves a plot that rings a bell regarding drone warfare and recent revelations by Edward Snowden concerning NSA snooping.

Steve Rogers aka Captain America has been living in Washington DC for a few years trying to adjust to civilian life when not sent on counter terrorist missions by his boss, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s director, patch eyed Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). The plot kicks in after Nick Fury is hunted down and nearly killed after an assassination attempt. Warned by Nick, “Not to trust anyone”, Captain America finds that he, too, has been marked for death and is on the run with fellow Avenger/former KGB agent Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (a kick ass, Scarlett Johansson) and newly acquired friend and high flying ally, Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon (an underutilized Anthony Mackie) to uncover a devious plot to control the human population by intercepting private communication, identifying and killing anyone deemed a threat. As a “necessary security move” after the attack on New York in The Avengers, that nearly leveled the city, the top secret “Project Insight” was put into place involving a fleet of massive heli-carriers, armed with uber missiles that could wipe out millions.

Robert Redford, who starred in the 1970 political thriller “The Three Days of the Condor, this time is cleverly cast against type, and pitch perfect as SecretaryAlexander Pierce, head of the World Security Council, who is actually a slick villain in a suit with ties to HYDRA, a group of Nazis seeking world domination. Their chief assassin and Capt. America's biggest nemesis is the mysterious, masked The Winter Soldier (with a back story that links him to our hero, Steve Rogers), armed with super strength and a powerful silvery robotic arm.

As a super hero movie,  “Winter Soldier” delivers the usual over the top action sequences including gun play, flipping and burning cars, eye dazzling computer generated special effects plus some witty banter between Capt. America and Black Widow. I would like to say the hand to hand fight sequences are well orchestrated, but the camera movements are so jerky and dizzying, more often than not, it is hard to tell what is going on, which is an issue I have with so many action movies.

That isn't to say fan guys and girls who know everything there is to know about the source material won't be in super hero adventure heaven.  But  others like myself will find this followup to the original suffers from excessive exposition and convoluted narrative.

All in all, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, didn't leave me cold.  It fills the bill as popcorn entertainment. The thing is, with the potential to explore its timely and relevant elements in a smart, comprehensible way, I was hoping for something more.

Footnote:  Stay after the closing credits to catch two teaser clips from future franchise installments: The Avengers: Age of Ultron (in theaters summer 2015) and Captain America 3 (undisclosed release date).

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