Group Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Welcome to another comic book movie group review. Instead of scoring it, the participating writers/reviewers of Comic Bastards are just going to give their thoughts. We have plenty more Captain America: The Winter Solider for you to experience including an upcoming solo review for the film and our special edition CBMFP that went up earlier today as well. In the meantime check out what Erik, Samantha, Jordan, Dustin and Carl all thought of Marvel’s latest cinematic romp.

--- Erik:

I don’t get excited for comic book movies like I used to, but they’re still primarily why I go to the movies. I don’t seem to spend a lot of time in the theater watching movies about things that could actually happen. I think that I’ve outgrown my independent/artsy/low-budget college film student phase. You probably didn’t know that about me. Yes, I was a film student. I graduated and everything. So I do have a miniscule amount of knowledge and experience in that realm. I also know what it takes to organize and produce a film (crappy student films mind you), but films nonetheless. It’s hard work. And being able to do that and make a good film at the same time? That’s almost impossible. So the fact that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is what it is, is very impressive. This movie doesn’t just rank high on the list of comic book movies, but it will be remembered as one of the best films of a generation. I know that the compliment sounds like a lot of fluff, but I really can’t think of a better way to describe it.

Marvel has impressed me year after year with the caliber of their big budget productions. I was completely sold when I saw Avengers. I think that from then on, I knew that everything would be terrific. Now that they have this incredibly strong foundation built up, they can’t really go wrong. Now if only they could make a decent Spider-Man movie. Of course, that isn’t a Marvel Studios production.

But back to Cap, they did everything right. The evolution of the characters alone was enough to check this out. Black Widow has become an incredibly impressive addition to the team. Nick Fury has grown, and of course, Captain America has become the hero that we all knew he was and could be. The addition of the Winter Soldier storyline was a work of pure poetry. The ad people did such a good job of covering up what the movie was actually about, that I was impressed with every twist and turn. The plot seemed realistic and steady. I couldn’t see any plot holes, and trust me I had every intention of looking for them. Fortunately, there was so much going on that I didn’t really have time to see the negatives. But from an action junkie perspective, there isn’t a better looking movie out there. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was definitely a non-stop adrenaline pumping ride that will leave you wanting more. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get outside the theater and turn right back around. I almost did.



It isn’t any surprise that Captain America had a huge weekend. Also not a huge surprise that Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s comic that started it all is selling big this week too. I have to say the movie was pure awesomeness. I loved the new setting of Cap in present day. Chris Evan’s first Captain America movie wasn’t my favorite, but the next installment added everything I was looking for.

Bucky or the Winter Soldier brings in the emotional side of things, and let’s face it; Cap is a pretty emotional dude, so it fit in perfectly to him trying to find his place in the modern world. Sebastian Stan added just the right flare to the Soldier. By far the best side character was Scarlett Johansson though. Not being the biggest fan of her, I am always nervous to see how she plays in each of the Marvel movies. The Winter Soldier proved she can carry a solo one. She was badass with her moves, talk, and style. Just when I thought she wasn’t going to be a huge part of the story, she comes sweeping in giving the audience entertainment throughout. With a strong villain and a strong sidekick, I was impressed with the team the movie created. And of course Chris Evans fits in right where he belongs as Cap. Personally I love him as this character and glad he didn’t get overlooked being the Human Torch and all.

The action, although slow in the middle for some time, was explosive. It delivers on all ends from kick butt car chases to fist on face action. I did cough up the extra money to see it in 3D, only because I saw the matinee, and you could skip that part of the movie. It didn’t need it. The only cool scenes involved Falcon, but even then I would have liked his parts just as much.

All and all, I just hit on the top highlights of the movie. There are some slower parts, and Falcon needs a suit, but other than these two minor flaws the movie rocked! It will go my top list from the Marvel Universe. Oh and obviously the after the credits scene was pretty rad too. Totally stoked to see where the third installment will take us.



Captain America: The Winter Solider is kind of a dream come true. Never in the history of a superhero film have I felt more transported into the tripped-out, life-is-drugs mentality of a kid and his action figures. Not only that, but aside from all the muscle-bound action splendor and high-budget set pieces, there’s a damn good story here, a simple one, but a good one. But, really it’s the characters themselves that shine most in this Cap film. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely do such a good job in this regard that even weaker roster members of the other franchise movies (be they due to under development or underuse in plot) like Black Widow and auxiliary characters like Falcon are damn likable and honed to perfection here. I`ve never liked Sam Jackson`s Nick Fury this damn much, he finally gets the treatment he deserves as a cold, cunning black ops badass and Anthony Mackie`s Falcon goes from being “that gimmicky looking character with the metal bird wings on the poster” to “yeah, I totally hope he comes back regularly.” This film does it right.

The Winter Solider himself is freaky and intense, being set up first as an urban legend that we don’t fully see until nearly half way through the film, when we do though its full tilt bad as hell and some of the fights between ol` Winty and Cap will make you have to reign back a HOLY FUCK! In the theatre.

I literally can’t think of a major fault in The Winter Solider, it did everything it needed to and a little bit more, surprising me by making its supporting cast some of the most likable characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after its 136 minute running time. If you like comics, go and treat yourself to this movie.



I’ll keep it short since you can actually listen to me, Kevin and Erin talk about this on a special episode of the podcast. My thoughts, it’s the best solo character movie in the Marvel Cinema U. That said as much as it was about Captain America, it wasn’t about Captain America and that was fine. Let’s be honest, the most interesting part of his journey is over. He’s in the modern era and now he just needs to fight, fight, fight for what’s right.

Two things that surprised me was Falcon and that other spoilerish thing. I didn’t expect them to engage a storyline that took years to execute in the comics, in just one movie. It’s interesting and shows that maybe the films have more guts to change the status quo than the comics. As for Falcon, wow. Not only did he play a relevant role in the movie, but he wasn’t annoying. He didn’t come across like War Machine in which he’s forced upon the story and never really does anything that Starks couldn’t just do on his own. It was a good angle.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, but the Black Widow rocked throughout the film. Other than her annoying dating gimmick, she became a fully fleshed out character and yet given room to grow in the future. It’s definitely worth seeing at least once.



This movie finally made Captain America a significant character.

Chris Evans can be an outstanding actor; just watch Danny Boyle’s Sunshine to get an example of his prowess.  I never thought he was a great Cap, though.  He always came off as flat and stilted.  In The Avengers, Joss Wheddon’s dialogue fleshed Captain America out and gave him more of a leader role akin to the comic character.  But that was the dialogue and not the acting.

The Winter Soldier provided a platform for Evans to make the character more dimensional against a backdrop of some amazing action and intrigue.  And this film sold me on how great a character Captain America can be.

Still adjusting to life after the thaw, Steve Rogers takes time to understand this world while making a few friends along the way.  He will need those friends because Hydra, his mortal enemy from the first film, still lurks in the shadows.

I went in to this film having seen as little about it as possible, save for some trailers.  That made all the difference.  Therefore, I won’t spoil any more of the plot so as to permit you the best experience possible.

What I will say is that this film exceeds the genre of mere comic book movie by being intelligent, well-acted, and excellently paced.

The crux of the plot focuses on the issue of America’s fascination with intelligence gathering and control.  As stated in the dialogue, we gladly sacrifice freedom for safety—and we don’t understand the ramifications of that.

Captain America never comes off as holier-than-thou.  He admits that his generation committed acts that made it difficult to sleep at night, yet those acts were done with the intention of the others.  In today’s world, security seems to be to favor those who wish to use information against us or to claim power, and that is criticism that is true and unexpected from a popcorn film.

As mentioned, Evans brings depth to Cap.  Steve Rogers flirts with his neighbor to awkward results.  When visiting his Army training grounds, his faces emotes the pain/fondness of his bygone era.  And when he acts opposite A-list celeb Robert Redford who chews a little scenery, Evans as Cap holds his own.

I might be the lone voice, but I don’t like Scarlett Johansen as Black Widow.  She seems to prim and proper, and she does not convey Romanoff’s haunted past with her beautiful doe eyes.

Only a few elements of the story made me grimace, and one part of the film was predictable.  While Captain America also slightly suffers from the same malady as Thor and other Marvel films (namely that nothing really changes at the conclusion of the films) the end of this movie felt like a significant course direction for Captain America.

The Russo brothers helmed this film, and the action moves like a Bourne movie.  The writing staff consisted of talent that worked on some of the Narnia movies, yet their script came off as though written by a Ludlum or Clancy.

Please see this film on the big screen.  It is well worth it.  Of all the stand-alone Marvel films, this has been the equal—if not the superior—to the first Iron Man.  While this is no Nolan film it has kicked off the summer movie season in the best possible way.

Chris Evans, I thank you and the crew for making a movie worth the admission price while also giving me a lot to think about.  Kudos and much success to you all. --- Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely Studio: Marvel Studios Run Time: 136 Min Release Date: 4/4/14