The Horror Honeys: A Boy Scout No More!

A Boy Scout No More!

A Revenge Honey Release Weekend Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

It takes a lot for me to break down and admit that anything is better than a Joss Whedon creation, let alone a Josh Whedon creation featuring Robert Downey Jr. And it's even more rare for a sequel to outshine its predecessor by leaps and bounds. But Captain America: The Winter Soldier is timely, expertly directed, perfectly acted, and perhaps even the best movie Marvel has released... ever. Don't look at me like that! It hurts me to say it too.

The Plot: Still disillusioned with the role he is playing in the "new" America, Steve Rogers discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. may not be all they claim to be, as they are about to launch a new program that will spy on every living human being on the planet... for the purposes of protecting them, of course. (Sound familiar kiddies?) However, with the help of The Black Widow and new friend, Falcon, Captain America discovers that an old foe may be more intertwined with his employer than he could have ever imagined, and it may be impossible to draw out the real enemy of America.

The one reason I never particularly connected to Captain America as a superhero was that he was too perfect (much the way Superman was DC's resident boy scout before Zack Snyder got his hands on him and made him a neck snapping, murder happy sociopath... yeah, I said it.) But The Winter Soldier introduces us to a far more conflicted and thus, interesting Cap. Because HYDRA has become so intertwined with S.H.I.E.L.D., Rogers doesn't know what he's fighting for anymore, which leads him to question where his loyalties actually lie. Add in the reappearance of an old friend in the seemingly indestructible Winter Soldier, and this version of Captain America is one that seems far more perfectly matched with the ragtag reluctant heroes that are The Avengers.

The story of The Winter Soldier isn't the only element which sets it apart from last year's rare Marvel misfire, Thor 2: The Dark World. The music, the effects, the makeup, the editing, the supporting performances... they're all wonderful. I've heard complaints from some that the film runs too long, but to me that is a lazy criticism. If you are engaged in an excellent story, who cares how long the movie is? I didn't feel like a minute was wasted in this movie.

I was absolutely enamored of the fight scenes in The Winter Soldier as well. They are so brilliantly choreographed, that it is almost like watching a gorgeous ballet of carnage. Evans especially, along with Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier/Bucky and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, have really nailed the grace and movement necessary to make the fights look realistic, but still elegant. Again, while I hate to harp on Thor 2 (okay, I don't hate it... sorrynotsorry, that movie was such a train wreck), the fights in that film were clunky and awkward, to the point of distraction. The Winter Soldier was like a breath of fresh air.

The addition of Sam Wilson/Falcon, played to eager perfection by Anthony Mackie, was a brilliant decision by the writers. His past as a veteran brought an element of reality to the superhuman qualities embodied in Rogers, and their easy camaraderie was one of the high points of the film. It was also a total thrill to see Robert Redford suit up (literally... that man can still wear the hell out of a three-piece suit) in a Marvel film, especially given the political thriller leanings of The Winter Soldier. Redford's roles in Three Days of the Condor and All the President's Men are some of my favorite, so it was delightful to see him take up that mantle again in a Captain America film.

I really can't say enough about how wonderful Captain America: The Winter Soldier was. It wasn't just a brilliant superhero film; it was also a first rate political thriller, which is a totally new angle for the Marvel universe. I loved it.

Also, any Marvel junkie will know this, but stay tuned for TWO after-credits scenes: one in the middle and one at the very end! One sets up Avengers: Age of Ultron while another could either further add to Ultron or perhaps be setting up a third Cap movie. Let me know what you think!

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 and 1/2 Bionic Arms out of 5