I decided to catch one of the screenings Thursday night instead of waiting until Friday or Saturday. I wish I had just waited. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a complete mess. When I saw the trailer for the first time I saw that Marvel was not using the corny style and retro look that was in Captain America: The First Avenger. I found the first film to be cheesy, especially in its dialogue. I felt the film was overall mediocre. The trailer for The Winter Soldier showed that the studio had switched to a modern style, similar to that of Iron Man. Ironically, I thought The Winter Soldier was actually darker, in terms of lighting and colors, than Iron Man. What I found even stranger is that it seemed like the writers were trying to crack more jokes than the other Marvel films, as if they were trying to get in all of the one-liners they possibly could. Ultimately, they had a movie that looked dark, but dialogue that was actually more light-hearted, which to me seemed pretty conflicting.
My problems with the film have nothing with to do with the acting. All of the actors in the movie do a good job. I am a huge fan of Anthony Mackie and found him to be a great addition to the cast and cannot wait to see more from him. Acting aside, my problem with the movie is its screenplay.
To be honest I don’t really know where to start. The screenplay just seemed to be a jumbled mess. Number one, so many elements of the movie are unrealistic. Yes, I realize I’m saying that about a superhero movie. Sometimes during a movie it bothers me, sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on the movie and I think the reason it bothered me so much with The Winter Soldier was the fact that the filmmakers appeared to try really hard to make it look realistic. However, this caused me to be more judgmental towards the craziness. I’ll give you an example. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want it spoiled for you, STOP READING NOW. The most implausible part of the movie to me was when Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is running across a high floor of a building that is being demolished by a Hydra aircraft. At this moment he does not have his Falcon wings on because the Winter Soldier destroyed them. He’s calling to Nick Fury and Black Widow for help. They are in a helicopter and he asks them to pick him up. Right before the floor is demolished, he jumps from the building. Fury sees where he jumps and tilts the helicopter to the right. Wilson falls probably over ten floors and lands straight into the helicopter, and suffers no injuries. WHAT?! For a brief moment I thought I was watching a Fast & Furious movie. The writers seemed to forget that Sam Wilson wasn’t superhuman like Captain America for a second, which is funny because they make it pretty clear in the beginning of the movie that he is not. Sam Wilson is essentially like Tony Stark. Which means he’s only a superhero if he has his technological device. So, when he’s jumping from a collapsing building without his wings he is an ordinary man. He does not have the ability to grasp onto a helicopter to safety after falling more than ten floors, especially without getting hurt.
The second aspect where I think the movie fails is being consistent with elements it had previously established. I’ll give you an example. There is a part in the movie where Captain America jumps from a S.H.I.E.L.D aircraft without a parachute. He hits the water and doesn’t experience any pain, to our knowledge. Scientifically, based on how high he is the air, it should be like hitting concrete. That’s not the problem though. Later in the movie, the Captain jumps out of an elevator and hits the concrete of the bottom floor below. It’s important that I mention that the distance he fell was not nearly as high as he was in the aircraft jump. When he hits the concrete after diving out of the elevator, he appears hurt by his fall. He falls a few other times throughout the movie at less greater altitudes than the aircraft and appears hurt, but there are also times when he doesn’t.
What also bugged me about the movie is that Hydra and Alexander Pierce completely overshadowed the Winter Soldier. Maybe I’m alone here, but the Winter Soldier was the enemy that I was most interested in. Hydra went from being a subplot to the whole movie and I didn’t find it that interesting. It was as if the Winter Soldier was merely a plot device. The writers needed someone for Captain America to fight so it would still be an action movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier seemed to go from being a Marvel movie to being Transcendence, which doesn’t even come out until April 18th.
Several parts of the movie didn’t seem to make sense. It seemed like the writers wrote what they wanted and whenever they ran into a problem they just solved it with whatever, no matter how little sense it made. The part where Black Widow pretended to be the councilwoman and beat up all of the Hydra henchmen is an example. After she defeats the men, she reveals herself by removing a tool/device from her face. I thought I was having a X-Men flashback when that happened. Mystique is that you? Also, where did Black Widow get this device? It looked like the masks used by the Kryptonian villains in Man of Steel. I would have preferred to be given some background on how she came to acquire the device and maybe where it came from. It’s important to note that that is not the only moment in the film like that.
Keep in mind I don’t read the comic books. I just watch the movies. So I apologize for my huge gaps in knowledge. That aside, it is a writer’s job to properly inform the audience on elements in their movies that require more in-depth explanations. There were way too many moments where certain things appeared to happen only because it’d look cool. One of them would be shield ricochets that were mathematically unrealistic, but that’s something not worth getting into. Let’s just say the Captain’s shield has a mind of its own and leave it at that.
In conclusion, I did not like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I think that’s pretty obvious based on what I have said in the past several paragraphs. I do not believe I expected too much from this movie. I could probably go on about the movie, but this review is long enough. I’m not supposed to be writing a novel. I know it’s weird to say because Man of Steel came out last summer, but Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the biggest superhero movie disappointment since then. The upside is at least The Winter Soldier was more watchable. So if you’re in some weird position where you have to decide between the two, watch The Winter Soldier. Nevertheless, you should probably see it if you plan on seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron. Waiting for the Blu-Ray or DVD wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea though. Still, I’m not telling you to do one or the other because it’s a movie you would probably get more out of by seeing on the big screen, but at the same time its movie you may not want to spent $10-13 dollars on. The decision is yours, as it always should be. You might even like The Winter Soldier. There’s actually a really good chance you will, because based on what I’m seeing, I’m in the minority here.