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Wick's Review

Created Apr 08, 2014 01:55AM PST • Edited May 11, 2019 06:04AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Captain America: The Winter Solider proves that Marvel is not only continuing to deliver high quality movies, but that they are capable of delivering superlative movies, which is what this second dedicated outing of the First Avenger is. Stunningly assured, super-powered yet supremely human, touching on contemporary neuroses and yet reinforcing traditional American values, it is as good as major movies get.

    Captain America 2 joins Iron Man 1 in the Marvel Perfect Universe, even if it’s nowhere near as funny as Downey’s ironic laugh-a-thon. Both are smoothly assured in melding titanic tech, battles and plots with character development and interplay that Ibsen would admire, in service to a cheerfully commercial movie. Marvelous indeed.

    As usual, Marvel plays on a very big canvas, builds its narrative foundation on big ideas and issues of the day, deploys the biggest toys and marshals the biggest stars. About those humans, underwhelming Marvel stars Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson achieve top rank status and join the varsity respectively. Samuel L. Jackson gives us the most Nick Fury exposure yet, six years after donning the eyepatch. Topping it all off, Robert Redford clearly enjoyed himself playing a diabolical national security fiend. The Robert Redford.

    Let’s conclude by putting all this in context: Marvel has reached a new quantum in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Golden Age and we’re all privileged to be able to assemble every few months to partake in it.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Chris Evans fills out the suit with the star on the chest, as he fills the alter ego with believable humanity. Superhero acting gets no better. As Steve Rogers, he’s tender and winsome. As Captain America, he’s stout and winning. I wasn’t very impressed with him in his inaugural outing, but have grown to appreciate him more since, especially his self-abasing Captain America in Thor: The Dark World. He’s reached an apotheosis in Captain America 2 however. Good thing for us he’s now the big man at S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Samuel L. Jackson declaims “Fury, Nicholas J.” several times, each a treat to we acolytes who can’t get enough of the elusive Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. This is a very big star embodying a very big role, against Robert Redford, another very big star who has no trouble embodying a very big role. Wow.

    Scarlett Johansson elevates her game to near Angelina Jolie Salt territory with her third turn as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow. Can’t wait to see her next reprise in Avengers: Age of Ultron next summer.

    Robert Redford clearly relishes playing a militaristic heavy, the sort of handsome moviestar role he was put on Earth to play. Guy still brings it.


    • Sebastian Stan may be the title character as Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, but his face is barely seen. That’s partly because he wears a way cool mask, damn near a Bane like mask.
    • Anthony Mackie is a welcome presence as usual, here as the high flying Falcon, one of the cooler Marvel characters in a long time.
    • Cobie Smulders is crisply efficient as a S.H.I.E.L.D. field agent
    • Frank Grillo improves any movie he’s in, with Captain America 2 no exception. Talk about bringing it…
    • Maximiliano Hernandez dips his beak into a Marvel movie after his Agent Sitwell got introduced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
    • Emily VanCamp makes a welcome introduction as Kate, aka Agent 13
    • Hayley Atwell makes a touching visit as Peggy Carter from the first movie and WWII.
    • Toby Jones also lends his peerless acting chops as the evocatively named Dr. Arnim Zola, another touchstone from the first movie
    • Stan Lee makes one his funnier cameos as a Smithsonian Guard who’s “so fired.”
    • Jenny Agutter, Bernard White, Dale Coffman and Chin Han are appropriately stuffy as some global council with oversight of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Garry Shandling is a hoot as a slimy U.S. Senator
    • Salvator Xuereb is très bien as French Pirate #1
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Consider simply the final credits, which arguably top anything a James Bond movie ever did, even without the de rigueur Marvel coda scenes, both of them.

    Marvel improves their product as they go. Thor improved with its second outing in The Dark World. Captain America started higher with its under-appreciated origin picture and yet improves to perfection with this first sequel.

    It helps that The Winter Soldier is set contemporaneously, allowing directors Anthony & Joe Russo and writers Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and Ed Brubaker to play with current political anxieties.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Perfect 5.0
  11. Music Really Great 4.5
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The Real D 3D was subtly effective.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.5

    Really violent, in a mostly bloodless sort of PG-13 way. Rudeness rises well into the salty and no more

    The fight choreography is superlative, equal to this weekend’s other action movie benchmark, The Raid 2.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.5
  16. Violence Savage 3.6
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5
  18. Supernatural 3.9

    Classic Marvel: Supernatural CircoReality and double fantasy in terms of physical and biological reality. Yet it looks like it’s ripped from the Nightly News.

    How do they do that? A crew of thousands and a nine figure budget, that’s how.

    The Avengers assemble again next year.

  19. Circumstantial Supernatural 3.5
  20. Biological Fantasy 4.1
  21. Physical Fantasy 4.1


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