Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America 2

When a deadly new foe surfaces, an increasingly restless Steve Rogers transforms into Captain America and allies with Black Widow.

Year: 2014
Certificate: 12
Director: Anthony RussoJoe Russo
Starring: Samuel L. JacksonRobert RedfordScarlett JohanssonChris EvansAnthony MackieSebastian StanToby JonesEmily VanCampCobie SmuldersFrank GrilloHayley AtwellMaximiliano Hernández

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This is a condensed version of an old review – see here for the full version.

Captain America’s first big-screen outing was most notable for its gloriously realised classic war movie feel and, in a strange way, “The Winter Soldier” aims for something similar. But, instead of the Second World War, this sequel deals with 21st century conflicts. Gone are the black and white bad guys, and in their place is something far more complex and insidious.

S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised and it’s up to Cap and his band of surviving operatives to neutralise the threat as close to the source as possible. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the writers, take this template and use it to deal with issues of terrorism, corporate crime and international subterfuge, resulting in much of the film playing out as a superpowered political thriller.

Most of these characters had been in at least three movies by this point, and the threat suddenly feels that much more real when these seemingly immortal figures are in danger. Not since The Joker has a superhero movie featured such a terrifying villain and The Winter Soldier aims straight for the heart with soul-destroying accuracy.

I felt genuinely shaken up by some of the early action scenes as the directors, Anthony and Joe Russo (who have gone on to helm “Civil War”), ratchet up the tension to unbearable levels with their kinetic camera work and bone-crunching violence.

Even the mildly campy reveal of the true evil is handled with care and a sense of old-school charm and, when the finale goes on for one or two explosions too many, everything is brought back by Steve Roger’s admirable, and refreshing, moral compass.

Chris Evans makes for a truly captivating screen presence, as does Anthony Mackie. His character, Falcon, is a more-than-welcome addition, partly because we finally get to see an African American Avenger, but also because his origin story, while tragic, isn’t drowned in self-pity. In a way, he just seems to be out for a good time and that makes him great to watch.

Marvel have done it again. “The Avengers” may never be topped for sheer comic book thrills, but “Captain American: The Winter Soldier” is gripping popcorn entertainment and one of their best efforts to date.

For the full version see here.

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About Benedict

Freelance culture journalist and Film Studies graduate. Netflix is his happy place.

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