Another month, another Marvel movie. Can Captain America: The Winter Soldier continue Marvel’s good streak? My answer…
“America! F*ck Yeah” 🙂
I really enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. More than I thought I would. In fact:
- It’s miles better than the first Captain America film
- It’s better than the last Marvel movie, Thor: The Dark World
- Slightly better than Iron Man 3 (although I still love that film)
- Better than The Avengers movie.
The last one is a bit significant. I still love The Avengers movie, but after watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the first Avengers film felt like small fry. The stakes have been raised and once again, Marvel has delivered another consistent and well made feature film.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) struggles to find his role within modern society. As a new threat emerges in the form of The Winter Solider, Steve must face his past to save the world once again.
So why is this film so good? This is the first opportunity where we actually see Captain America lead. In the first Captain America film, he was just getting started without doing anything fantastic. In The Avengers we saw glimpses of his leadership and bravery but ultimately felt there was a lack of development. This film addresses that. The character development was emotionally spot on, often sympathising with Rogers. It uses the same concepts of a soldier re-adjusting to life after combat. Out of the freezer, he now has a lot to catch up on but he has to come to terms with his past, his newfound attention, finally seeing Peggy Carter again and most of all, fighting in a technological war.
How do you fight a war when the enemy is hiding in the shadows, where morality is more than a shade of black and white? That’s the biggest hurdle for the Captain.
“Captain, in order to build a better world, sometimes means turning the old one down… And that makes enemies.” – Alexander Pierce
It’s essentially S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. as Steve Rogers battles the core essence of what they stand for. S.H.I.E.L.D. is all about protection and they’re using every gadget, weapon and political posturing to combat the enemy. A disapproving Rogers views their stance and their covert secrets as a scare tactic, especially if it affects the mission. The film wasn’t afraid to make the obvious parallels in our modern world.
Tonally this film is darker than any other Marvel film made. It was a risk but I’m happy to tell you that it paid off. I didn’t feel bored and found myself surprisingly engrossed by what was happening. The big difference is that every character, whether it was Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) or the Winter Soldier himself (Sebastian Stan) felt developed, both for story purposes and emotionally. I enjoyed the inquisitive banter between Natasha and Steve Rogers with Natasha breaking away from the serious stuff to offer Steve some dating tips. I enjoyed seeing Nick Fury with a fuller, richer expanded role. I enjoyed Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce – a man with ideals but it comes at a price. The Falcon/Sam Wilson got more screen time than War Machine ever did in the entire Iron Man film trilogy! Oh yeah – keep your eyes peeled, cameos are in abundance, and that includes the post credit scene.
“Looks like you’re giving the orders now, Captain.” – Nick Fury
The heart of this film is Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. His emotional connection to the past was his best friend, Bucky Barnes. He took responsibility for his “death” and as Bucky transforms into the Winter Soldier, their friendship (or at least memories of it) are tested. It’s his empathy and scenes where he’s pushed to the limit and suffers because of it that develop Captain America into something more.
It’s easy to say that Rogers should have called his “super friends” to help him, but the honest truth is this film didn’t need it. This film was about strength and growth for Steve Rogers. This is Rogers finally stepping up and becoming a leader, giving his own orders rather than following someone with ulterior motives. Having Hulk “Smash” or Iron Man flying in would have been a distraction in my opinion. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a more grounded affair instead of something fantastical.
While Marvel once again deploys the “I’ve got to kill off a major character” rulebook to forward the story, overall there’s nothing much to say as a negative. The film’s concept and plot line is how Iron Man 2 should have been. Tony Stark was faced with almost the same question about technology and morality but the message got sacrificed into a loose story. Here, it’s balanced and direct and it’s very exciting to watch.
The action sequences were brilliant although some scenes were guilty of too much shaky cam, making some scenes hard to watch, especially with the 3D glasses on. Maybe leave the shaky cam business to Paul Greengrass…
Overall I admire the direction Marvel is heading and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next. Captain America: The Winter Soldier basically set the tone and long may it continue.
It looks like with the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, we are in for one hell of a ride, and Captain America is leading the way.