'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Gets Solid Reviews [Video]

Shawn Bailey

Whatever the critics of Captain America: The Winter Soldier decide to nitpick, all of their reviews contain praise for the summer blockbuster, even if it's reluctant and hidden in intellectual critic-speak.

The sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger officially opens tomorrow on April 4. But the in-crowds have already watched screenings, and critics have inundated us with their wit-infested reviews. Reviews in general are very positive.

One negative review from the LA Times referred to the movie as formulaic and uninspiring:

That cinematic blueprint is religiously enforced in everything, from the required cameo by comic creator Stan Lee to the involvement of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the requisite waves of action and surprise plot twists that don't feel that surprising anymore.

How do you not have a formula, to some degree, when you're working with comic book characters? There are certain things we know; like how the good guys always win, the hero gets the girl, someone betrays the hero, and the hero never dies until Stan Lee says so. We expect the formula in Captain America. It's a blockbuster, not an Indie film appearing at SXSW. There is one way to stray from this particular formula. Though this method itself, some high-minded individuals might say, is a formula.

You kill a major character. Some reviewers have given overly transparent hints that I will not subject you to. But it's apparent that someone dies. It's probably not Scarlett Johansson's character Black Widow, since some critics say her scene stealing performances warrant her own spin off movie. One reviewer for the Washington Post exclaims:

If Hollywood was waiting for proof that the Black Widow was ready for her own installment, here it is. Get cracking, fellas.

Positive reviews, like this one from The Huffington Post, point out the things about Captain America that movie goers expect from a blockbuster; CGI that is well done and used when needed, awesomely brutal hand to hand combat, and a pace that tricks your mind, and hopefully your bladder, into believing the movie isn't over two hours long. On a separate note, as movies constantly expand in length, how long before we cycle back around to having intermissions in movies? Anybody else old enough to remember those?

Another non-formulaic element of the movie is that it addresses very real modern-day concerns. The trade off between security and freedom have never been more prevalent and mainstream than now. Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes on these issues, and I'm sure we can count of the Captain to abide by his set of moralistic rules.

Whatever Americans have to say about Captain America: The Winter Soldier, its popularity in China is not in question. China is big on censorship and only allows 34 foreign movies in the mainland cinemas per year. Zhao Zhiyong of Beijing's bureau of press, publication, radio, film and television says that:

"The film has to be able to produce strong emotion in Chinese viewers, and this is related to cultural understanding. This doesn't mean that the film has to feature Chinese actors or actresses, rather it should know what Chinese are interested in."

A billion Captain America fans can't be wrong.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier follows The Avengers and the salvation of New York from otherworldly destruction. Steven Rogers, otherwise known as Captain America, and well-played by Chris Evans, is trying to get a handle on modern society. The perceived villain and namesake of the movie is the Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan. Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury. New players are introduced onto the Marvel playing field including Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, and Anthony Mackie as Falcon.

As far as plot twist, sometimes you can tell more by what is not said. But critics appear to be holding back information on some of the newly introduced characters for fear of giving away plot twists. So look forward to a few new variables in the 'formula.'

The film currently has a rating of 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb.