"Looks like you're giving the orders now, Captain..."
Putting The Avengers (which is an entirely different level of cinematic entertainment) aside, The Winter Soldier ranks as the best among the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. With great action sequences, suspenseful moments, and emotional unravelling flow of events, this film strengthens Marvel Studios' status as not just giving quality entertainment, but also giving fans & audiences the thrill of cinematic experience, while also adding new dimensions to the easily predictable superhero genre.
The film starts a bit slowly by re-acquanting viewers with Captain America and his story, so it sets up the situation & emotion for the main plot. The first half an hour felt rather casual, but it didn't really matter when the remaining one and a half hour is full blast entertainment filled with action, drama & suspense. The action sequences are great, despite being less superhero-ish, employing hand-to-hand combats, gunfires, and shield bashing. So, after a specific event happening in about the half hour mark, the movie takes a turn, and suddenly Cap finds himself surrounded by enemies & shrouded by trust issues, and the suspense takes over.
The strongest aspect of this film is the unfolding plot. Now, Marvel being Marvel means there will be twists & reveals in between. For the sake of this review, I'm going to throw a bone and divide it into the little twist and the big twist. The little twist (comic book fans will know) is what accounts for the existence of drama, striking hard into the personal life of Steve Rogers himself. Meanwhile, the big twist is a game changer. It changes a big part of what we know in the universe, and brings in a bigger threat in place, thus changing the future of the cinematic universe.
On the little pieces, this film (as compared to others in the MCU) is the one which has the most connection to the other films, both past and upcoming. This film has drama flowing through in the personal life of Steve Rogers, and one good thing is that it didn't follow Thor: The Dark World's sense of humour (otherwise it would be a permanent identity of the franchise) but still manages to give audiences the laugh. And yes, this film has mid-credits scene and post-credits scene, and they are the best yet, so I highly recommend you to stay back until the very end.
On a side note, SHIELD being a major part of the film, introduces the sense of a political thriller and the vague concept of intelligence, which is what I previously mentioned as the extra dimension in this film. The soundtrack plays a part too. While not every minute of it is great, but when it needs to, it brings added suspense & thrill to the action. And with the help of it, the Winter Soldier's presence on screen is chilling and worthy of a mysterious yet ruthless villain. The fight sequences between Cap & Winter felt awesome, both physically & emotionally.
Note 1: I will be writing a spoiler-filled discussion in two weeks time.
Note 2: My claim is fixed: The Winter Soldier is now my favourite character in the Marvel Universe.
Good: Great action sequences, Full of thrill & suspense, Brilliant unfolding plots, Decent soundtrack, New dimensions to the genre
Bad: Slow start