Posted March 21, 2014 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review


cap

Marvel’s latest solo venture sees the return of Steve Rogers, but instead of establishing the character in the WWII era and leaving him stranded and alone at the films close – here we pick up, post avengers as Steve has day by day been getting on with life in the modern world, and is a fully active agent of SHIELD leading missions.

Nick Fury is still his boss, and his colleague Natasha Romanoff (Scarlet Johansson) is around often enough – but as usual, colleagues, bosses and SHIELD in general are keeping secrets from him. It isn’t long then before Rogers starts to unravel a few mysteries. But it is also not long before the titular character comes calling in a variety of urban assaults and before we know it it’s all a conspiracy and Rogers is on the run.

Steve starts to lose patience for the amount of so called good guys turning out to be bad and relies mainly on Romanoff and new found friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to get the job down and straighten out the threat in hand. Wilson (AKA Falcon) right from the get go we see a natural and progressive friendship between the Cap and he. It’s strong evidence that Rogers does in fact usually influence others for good when he’s not facing off against the bad guys.

There is, however, a lot of posturing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It seems that when SHIELD is involved characters must face off against each other on a regular basis either in verbal or physical confrontations.

All too often the enemy is often within so there, like in Avengers Assemble, is a lot of mistrust and double dealings going on. Sam Jackson and Scarlett Johansson do more Heavy lifting this time round and get to both step forward with their characters. Although we suspect that Romanoff in her next appearance will have yet another brand new hairstyle to show off. Cobbie Smoulders returns as Maria hill as do some other SHIELD personal – Watch out for (Jenny Agutter’s stand out moment).

New recruits to the franchise are SHIELD big cheese Alexander Pierce played by the excellent Robert Redford and Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow a member of the SHIELD team (who fans of the comics will recognise as an antagonist who goes by another name). In a much smaller capacity is Sharon Carter – whose time in minimal – but enough to set her up for future instalments as a potential love interest for Steve (Despite how questionable it is considering whom she is related to!). There are a couple of other reprisals here that are well written into the plot and offer a few turns in the plot. Stan Lee naturally gets his funny cameo – and it is one that punch lines of something that may make fans of Roger’s retro look cheer.

And this brings us to the film’s secret weapon. And that is, well, the secret weapon! Cleverly they hold titular character in the shadows and concealed as much as possible for the first half of the film at least. It’s an old trick, like with hiding the monster to build tension to greater effect, and here it works a treat. Sebastian Stan had to create a brand new character from scratch here and he does not disappoint. Both physically and later on emotionally you can see the damage that has been done to his character and how tormented he becomes after his encounters with Steve Rogers.

The action itself is a real step up. Captain America does not aim to be an Avengers Spin Off with a smaller budget – clearly leading the way as one of the big boys. The scale of the film is vast and the Russo Brothers who directed this film have earned themselves a free pass for what they go onto do next (Thankfully at the moment they have signed on for Cap 3). It’s nothing short of jaw dropping what they have done for their first big screen venture and are likely to find themselves swarmed with offers from here on in.

One thing worth mentioning is that that although CATWS brings out a lot of new toys, it doesn’t destroy all the pieces. And it is characters we are talking about here (not disposable machinery). There are plenty of supporting struts left with which to build further and develop characters on both sides of the playing field.

Word has to also go out to writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Returning from Cap 1) who have put a lot of thought into making the story and characters as complex as they are. This film expands the universe buy retaining as much as it can whilst delivering a satisfying climax. Post credits; there are a couple of scenes we won’t spoil. But if you have enjoyed the film dramatically then it is worth staying right to the end of the credits.

This puts the comedic and daft exploits if Thor 2 to shame with its dumb one Liner spouting supporting characters and forced relationships. CATWS is the way forward for Marvel. It’s clever, intelligent, dramatic and still finds time to relax, charm, excite and fulfil audience expectations.

5 Stars

 

 

Steven Hurst


editor