Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Solider

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The Captain is back in his Red, White, and Blue colors eager and itching to take on the newest threat to his country. Unfortunately for him, that threat is more obscure than he, or anyone would like. S.H.I.E.L.D. has created drones which can take out any person at any time. “They’ll stop threats before they even happen” Nick Fury tells Steve. “I thought the punishment came after the crime” Steve replies.

With S.H.I.E.L.D. taking more and more liberties to protect the world, Steve has to defend the freedom which S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to preserve (and in doing so, destroying) “This isn’t freedom, this is fear!” Steve states to Director Pierce but alas, they refuse to listen because “S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the world as it is. Not as we’d like it to be.”. With that going on, add on an assassin who has killed dozens of people- over the last 90 years. The Winter Solider. His next hit strikes close to home, so close that Captain America can’t help but be hit by the shrapnel effects of losing someone so close.

Now with two clear threats threatening the freedom Captain America swore to uphold, he has got his work cut out for him. With the lines of good and bad blurring more and more everyday though, even the Captain doesn’t know who he can trust, or who is on his side. The side of freedom.

Things I Liked

Steve is one of those rare, idealistic guys who everyone likes, but no one gets. He is so perfect and good in every way, that most don’t believe he is real. Indeed, his moral aptitude and choices are indicative of  his accentuated nature. So much so that most of the time, he is not relatable in anyway, because he is so far to the side of moral perfection in regards to freedom. This results in several actions which are admirable and commendable.

The greatest action I remember was that of truly loving his enemies. At one point he can let an enemy die, or he can save that person. He chooses the latter, at the risk of his own life, even though they were shooting at him only moments before. Steve shows a quality which most rarely consider, much less put into practice. That action showed that his character was not of circumstance, but of innate integrity.

Steve also knows in himself what is right in terms of American Freedom, and pursues this completely. It is his moral law, and if something goes against that law, then he will keep the law and break the command given. He also truly serves selflessly at all times, and decides to trust people, even though it is dangerous.

Things I Didn’t Like

While Captain America may be morally respectable, the other people in the movie are not as much, if at all. One of the greatest things I struggled with in this movie was the lack of clear good and bad. At one point a solider asks Steve “How do we know the good guys from the bad?” To which Captain Rogers replies “If they’re shooting at you, they’re bad.” S.H.I.E.L.D. and some other organizations are shown to be on shaky ground at best, while completely deceptive at worst. While Captain America may be part of S.H.I.E.L.D., he certainly isn’t fighting for them, or any other organization, as they all are questioned on motives… and something which we are never really given answers to.

Couple the blurry line of good and bad with some intense fight scenes, and you get a battle where you wind up rooting for just one person. You guessed it… Captain America. The violence in this film shows dozens of people getting gunned down, blown up, knifed, and strangles. The Captain deals his fair share of painful looking blows with his shield, fists, and feet. However, like batman, it never is implied he kills anyone. He just has no qualms about others doing it for him. Other action includes Captain America falling out of a building, blowing up a few planes, and getting pummeled by the Winter Solider.

The Winter Solider was also a peeve of mine. He is the main antagonist of this film, yet so much remained shrouded about him, you hardly find out anything save for how he got his metal arm. In the final battle, there is no resolution with the character, so again, no growth or lessons learned. The only thing we do learn is in a fight, he can beat up Captain America pretty badly.

The Black Widow (Natasha) kisses Steve to avoid being caught by enemy agents. She teases him later about being out of practice.

Cursing is prevalent in the movie and come in pairs. D—, S—, a–, b—- all come in twos. Hell is used out of context, and I think God’s name is profaned twice.

Closing Thoughts

The price of freedom is high, and it’s a price I’m willing to pay. You told me not trust anyone and this is how it ends- Everything goes. ~Captain America~

As one of the most anticipated films of this year, Captain America 2 is breaking records in the box office. This comes at no surprise really. I mean, what better way to kick off the summer movie season with a superhero blockbuster? We are going to have plenty of those this year. The Spiderman 2…. X-men… More Marvel stuff… Hollywood has settled into a routine of sequels and reboots that satisfies the public craving with a sound and sure recipe for financial success. This recipe is honestly no different in this movie.

As heroes go, The Captain is the same guy we know and love when we first saw him in his debut, and then in Avengers. He is honest, courageous, selfless, dependable… the list goes one. He is the perfect solider. Perhaps, too perfect. See, in this movie, we are shown early on Steve being a little bit lost in life, and a little bothered S.H.I.E.L.D., and a little puzzled as what to do next in life. When conflict comes, that is all tossed out of the window and replaced with Steve fighting and striving for the standard of freedom he swore to uphold.

While what The Captain does is admirable, and how he does it praiseworthy, I honestly was not impressed by the film as a whole. It honestly felt rushed, convoluted, and lacked the depth it could have if only more time had been spent on the internal conflicts (and subsequent developments) of the characters- Specifically Captain America and The Black Widow. And less time spent on “How many fights can we setup where Steve gets to use his superhuman powers?”.

In the end though, I’m not surprised they went this route. We’re seeing progressively more and more violent films from Marvel, because that’s what the world wants to see. This disappoints me, because there is so much more lasting depth available to be expounded upon in all of these characters. Steve may be hero, but he is also a solider, and this movie never lets you forget this fact.

Ultimately in this film, Captain America is still the honorable and respectable hero we all have come to love, but that heroicness is almost drowned out by the vast amounts deaths and violence shown, the blurring of right and wrong apart from the Captain, and the lack of resolution regarding the Winter Solider. This movie isn’t completely without a cause for freedom, but it certainly isn’t anything revolutionary either

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