May 6, 2016

Ranking The Avengers Movies Before CIVIL WAR

Ranking The Avengers Movies Before CIVIL WAR

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Truthfully, when thinking about the number one Marvel Studios film, the competition is fierce. It is almost a four-way tie between Iron Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Yet, when quantifying the pluses and minuses, it is clear–Winter Soldier is the very best film of the Marvel Universe.

This film had a lot to prove. It was Evans’ first time solo as Captain America in modern day America. Could this “man out of time” be relevant?  The filmmakers did give Cap a broad support staff. In a post-Avengers world, Captain America is still a fighter for S.H.I.E.L.D., allowing Johansson’s Black Widow, Cobie CaptainAmerica2-2Smulders’ Maria Hill, and Jackson’s Nick Fury to play major roles and make Winter Soldier feel like Avengers-lite.  They needn’t have worried.  After two films, Evans is confident in this role. He plays well off these other known characters, but Evans alone carries the film’s emotional thread.  This weekend Cap faces off against Iron Man; that battle would have felt quite one-sided before Winter Soldier.

More than just characters, though, The Winter Soldier is the only one of these dozen Marvel movies to be truly plot-driven. It is a political thriller, covering such real world issues as government secrecy and protection versus personal liberties. Every action in this movie has an authenticity to it–something all these other films lack.  Winter Soldier carries the Universe’s most credible threats, personified in Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce and his gunman, the titular Winter Soldier played by Sebastian Stan.

The interpersonal relations in this movie overshadow its tight plot. Cap is trying to find his place in the modern day, a soldier without a war. On this journey he meets up with ex-airman Sam Wilson (played with infectious cockiness by Anthony Mackie), an elderly Peggy Carter, and even experienced spy Black Widow. Steve Rogers is a man haunted by his past–and in this film it comes back to haunt him. Winter Soldier takes several clumsy elements of The First Avenger and reshape them into shocking twists, including scientist Arnim Zola, and Cap’s personal relationship with Winter Soldier.

Yes, the quiet moments of this film zing just as much as the action–which is hard-hitting and extreme. Few superhero films (by any company) make me think a punch really hurts, and that falling from a bridge can break bones. This movie puts you in the action and makes you feel the punch. With the quick cuts, the shakey cam, and the depth of action, every time I watch this film I see something new. The elevator fight and the bridge fight are scenes I ca watch, rewind, and rewatch, they’re that engrossing.

It’s a credit to Marvel Studios that they put this movie in the hands of The Russo Brothers — two directors who had worked in TV since their last feature You, Me, and Dupree. But, like Joss Whedon before them, their television ensemble experience served them well.

With The Winter Soldier Marvel delivered a masterpiece that truly transcends its genre. And now the pressure is on to keep it up as this weekend The Russo Brothers return to Captain America with Civil War.  I do wonder if that can usurp The Winter Soldier for this top spot–or at least bring this four-way tie up by one.

Join us at this Tuesday for our review of that newest Marvel film!

Hear Now Playing Podcast’s full review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Do you agree with these rankings? Let me know and rank them yourself in our forums!

Comments 1

  1. Chris Sharp

    Excellent breakdown. I’d move IM1 and Avengers 1 around, but the rest is pretty spot-on. Can’t wait for the CW review.

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