~~~WARNING: RAMPANT SPOILERS~~~
Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier Rides Again or whatever the movie is called. There was wit, there was action, there were some very necessary Cap-as-a-man-out-of-time moments. I think this movie contains my favorite 30 seconds of Nick Fury ever, and small touches like Natasha wearing an arrow necklace (Black Widow + Hawkeye = OTP) really added depth to the Marvel story as a whole. The action was impeccable—the elevator! Bucky and Steve mano-a-mano! Every scene with a car!
But while I liked all of the individual pieces of the movie, as a whole they didn’t add up. I enjoyed the heartbreaking scene with old lady Peggy, but narratively it didn’t need to be there. (Maybe it would have been a good post-credit sequence?) The first third of the movie dragged for me, until the actual Plot showed up and there was a clear reason for the movie to be happening.
Mostly, the surprising/not-surprising twists annoyed and bored me. (I wasn’t kidding about the spoilers, guys, stop now.) We all know they’re not going to actually kill Nick Fury. He’s a spy. He’s the spy. Even his death lies. And we all know Robert Redford is the bad guy the instant he strolls on screen. The people I saw the movie with argued that those things weren’t supposed to surprise the audience, they were just supposed to surprise the characters. OK. That’s a perfectly valuable narrative device—except that for the entire movie the audience knows that the Winter Solder is Bucky Barnes and is waiting for Steve to figure it out and react to it. You can’t hang all of the major points of the movie on the same narrative device. You just can’t.
On that topic, I was also disappointed in how little Bucky Barnes actually meant to the story. That assassin could have been anyone and the only thing that would have changed was the final “I won’t fight you” fight scene. There was so much going on, and I think the Bucky story suffered in the grand scheme of events, which is a shame because there was so much potential there.
As an entry in the Marvel universe, the movie is overall satisfactory, and I’ll definitely rewatch it and enjoy it. However, I’ll be rewatching it the same way I watch, say, Watchmen—because aesthetically I enjoy all of the individual scenes, characters, and jokes, but not because I enjoy it as a movie event. Which is a shame.
The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer looks amazeballs, though. Bring it, Marvel.