The Oscar Project Reviews
While the first Captain America film focused on his history during WWII, Winter Soldier picks up the action after The Battle of New York in The Avengers. This is Cap's first appearance in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, other than a quick cameo in Thor: The Dark World.
Now that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is making himself comfortable in the 21st century, he makes use of his time cleaning up issues for S.H.I.E.L.D. around the world, at the behest of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). He is supported in his missions by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson) and they bicker like old friends, discussing Steve's love life while fighting baddies in the field.
When Fury is killed in a professional hit by a mysterious assassin called The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) Rogers and Romanov end up as fugitives on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. which they discover is infested with undercover Hydra operatives. They enlist the help of former military man Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) who obtains a high-tech jetpack with wings that allows him to fly and bring help from the skies for Rogers and team.
Hydra's master plan for world domination involves Project Insight, a S.H.I.E.L.D. initiative built on the back of three new helicarriers created after The Battle of New York. I personally love the idea of the helicarrier, even if in practice it would be incredibly impractical. I'm not sure if the design is really the best way to implement the concept, but they are pretty cool flying over the Washington D.C. skyline in this film.
Overall, this film feels like it is starting to open up the MCU to multiple threats. We went from arms dealers and terrorists in the Iron Man films, to aliens from outer space in Thor and The Avengers, and now come to realize that we can't even trust the people who have been fighting side by side with us for many years. The film feels very real for the time in which it was made, realizing that threats to international peace and security are changing ever faster. It addresses questions of how far any government or organization should be allowed to go to maintain peace and what the true cost of freedom can be in a world with so many threats.
While Captain America: The First Avenger did not receive any Oscar nominations, The Winter Soldier did receive a nomination for Best Visual Effects, losing out to the Christopher Nolan film Interstellar.
As this if the first film in the MCU directed by the brothers Russo, it should be required to help set up the events of Infinity War and Endgame.
8 out of 10
Previous: Thor: The Dark World | Next: Guardians of the Galaxy
Get Ready for Endgame