One of the movies I was really looking forward to watching this year. Warning, SPOILERS AHEAD.
So what's Captain America 2 about? It basically takes place after Avengers but I'm not sure if it takes place after Iron Man 3. Captain's been working for SHIELD, mostly because he has nothing else to do in this time and era. However he isn't too happy with the direction SHIELD has been taking. Cue Shield being compromised and Nick Fury *seemingly* dying and leaving Captain America with a mysterious thumbdrive and the ominous words "Don't trust anyone". And so Captain America has to go on a long adventure that's really more spy espionage than super hero beatemup, eventually gaining Black Widow as an ally and discovers that Hydra has basically compromised SHIELD ever since it was formed. And then it's a race against time to stop Hydra's latest plan to take over the world, this time using SHIELD resources.
I'm going to have to say I liked this movie. I liked it so much I would most definitely buy the blu-ray for it. It's not really like the usual super hero movies in the sense that there isn't that many beatemup scenes in the movie but it has to do a lot more with espionage stuff, which is weird considering this IS Captain America, who's the furthest thing away from a spy. But then again, it kind of makes weird sense in the film-verse because he does work for SHIELD and SHIELD is a spy organisation.
Plus the fight scenes in TWS were a lot more intense than the ones in the original Captain America. Mostly because in this film, there's actually someone who CAN fight on the level of Captain America and does so several times in the film. I'm talking about the Winter Soldier. The fights between him and Captain are some of the best fight scenes I've seen in Marvel films. In the Iron Man series, there's a lot less fighting and more shooting/flying around like aerial dogfights. In Thor...Well, Thor is more of a brawler and it really shows in the fight choreography. But in this film, the films are intense and viscerally exciting. Especially the close combat scenes between Cap and the Soldier. They're both fast, strong and brutal. They also seemed to have upped the CGI effects for the shield this time since it flies much more smoothly than it did in the first one and the bounce effects are much more believable.
The plot is decent. I did like the reveal where they said that Hydra had compromised SHIELD ever since it was first formed, thanks to Armin Zola and the US governments way of taking in Nazi scientists and using them. And then when Captain America is in disbelief and says SHIELD would have stopped them, that's when Armin says menacingly "Not if they were stopped first" and then they have a bunch of headlines flash on the screen, including the ones saying Tony Starks parents died in a carcrash, along with a photo of their corpses. OMG, right in the feelz. I loved the way they managed to tie that in and it felt horrible for Cap cause he realised his good friends had basically been murdered by Hydra, the same organisation he gave his previous life in fighting against.
Again, I like all the little references in the film, like how they're constantly mentioning Stark Industries, etc etc etc or how Sharon Carter is now guarding Steve Rogers. There's a lot of little comic book throw-ins in the film. Also, that scene with Peggy Carter where Peggy has dementia or alzheimers or something and keeps forgetting that Steve survived and keeps defaulting back to surprise and joy at seeing Steve alive and Steve having to pretend he's seeing her for the first time...Right in the feelz again.
I'm kind of mixed on how they handled the Falcon though. It just seems like he didn't do much throughout the film. Sure, he took care of sabotaging one helicarrier but mostly because Black Widow had to be elsewhere. And in the end, they had him fight against a B-list villain who's only barely better than a nameless mook in the sense that he HAS a name and the guy can't defeat the villain. No, he won cause a helicarrier crashed into the building and seemingly killed the villain. Who SURVIVED. Wth man.
I also thought there was a bit of romance between Black Widow and Captain America. It felt like there was some tension there, what with Black Widow slowly bonding with Captain America. But then at the end, she's like "You should ask that nurse out"; referring to Sharon Carter, the SHIELD agent who was posing as a nurse to guard Steve Rogers. Otoh, this film was pretty much the film with the BEST Black Widow moments so far, surpassing Iron Man and Avengers by far. This is the film that really made Black Widow seem like an actual character and not just a random member of Team Avengers.
However, not to say there weren't some flaws with the film. I didn't really like how the good SHIELD agents were shown to be utter n00bs in the film compared to the compromised Hydra-SHIELD agents. Near the end of the film, where there's a fight between good and bad SHIELD agents, the bad SHIELD agents seem to slaughter all of the good ones like they're red shirts. That doesn't seem quite right for an elite agency...
Another issue would be the same one I touched on in my Iron Man 3 review, which is "WHERE IS EVERYONE IN THIS FILM?". Since Marvel is bent on making a shared film-verse and since everyone knows everyone, it just seems to make sense they would band together more often. Like Captain America would go to Tony Stark for help maybe, instead of the Falcon. Also, where's Hawkeye? He's part of SHIELD as well yet he's conspicuously missing in this entire film.
But overall, I'd say watch this film. Watch this film AND buy the blu-ray.