I'm going to start this off by saying I'm very glad the Russos (who direct the delightful, character-driven Community
, in whom I have absolute faith they will do characterization justice) are back to direct Cap 3, because what they have done with this film is very, very good.
The film's strongest point really is the characters. I was clapping in my seat because of how well-written Steve, Sam, and Natasha are. Their character arcs within this film are clear, and heartwrenching, and really just make you want more — Steve as the torn cultural icon, Natasha as the self-loyalist, glib veteran, Sam as the strong point of normalcy. Steve's dynamics with both of them flow very smoothly, and all three of them grow from it. Sebastian Stan as Bucky is excellent
. The childish repetition of "I knew him" as a lifeline — wow. Hill and Fury are great, too.
I think the political thriller/espionage angle worked very well - because you cannot define Steve without politics, not without real-world commentary. It really understood the heart
of espionage thrillers. The film's whole message that the dynamics between institutions are not solid but are shifting patterns, that an institution might be awful but the people in it might be — an excellent climax that really shows the MCU's Steve Rogers is more than a boy scout. He's not representing America, he's representing what America could
be, and he gives the SHIELD personnel the chance to prove that, too.
What I liked about this movie was that it never tried to compromise emotional punches for speed (yeah, I'm talking to you, Thor 2). There are action scenes that leave you on the edge of your seat but also very well-acted emotional scenes that leave you wanting to curl up. The high production values are also apparent. The fight scenes are very well-choreographed, the Scenery Gorn
All in all, this film really takes Phase 2 and pushes it to a whole new level. I'm excited to see where they go with this.
Overall rating: 9/10, for some qualms about the political intricacies that would require spoilers to discuss.