Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Image: Marvel

Three years ago Marvel Studios unleashed the poodle that was Captain America: The First Avenger. Gentle, loyal, sophisticated but a bit of bore, The First Avenger proved to be the weakest among the studios’ top dogs. Thor’s hammer produced a hit, we couldn’t get enough of Iron Man, and records were broken when the Avengers assembled, and so, naturally, The Captain had some catching up to do. Fast forward a few years, a tepid Thor (The Dark World) and a mediocre Iron Man 3 and we have Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel’s strongest foray since The Avengers.

Picking up after The Avengers, The Winter Soldier follows Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as he continues to adapt to life in modern America. However, it’s not long before he’s back doing what he does best as he finds himself on the hunt for a masked soldier and answers to questions about S.H.I.E.L.D..

While the capabilities of Rogers haven’t changed much: he’s still, ultimately, a regular guy with artificially enhanced biceps, strength and speed, just running around with a star-spangled shield, the action sequences move much faster in this instalment and the effects do give The Captain a Spidey-like quality as he leaps and swings from tall buildings and takes out bad guys with his fists.

Evans is joined on his mission by Scarlett Johansson, whose Black Widow adds sparkle to a previously dull franchise and proves that, in this case, a partnership is so much better than none as she spars nicely with her leading man and helps give his character some depth and a heart that we actually care about. Anthony Mackie is also on hand to help fight evil as Hancock ex-paratrooper-turned-superhero The Falcon. His presence isn't felt as strongly as Johansson's, but he does good work in his silver suit, and it's pleasant and fitting to see Captain America represent America.

Up until now, audiences (or I) have wondered what makes this man the leader of such a gifted pack, but a solid, mature and entertaining script (although predictable), great performances from the cast, and the ideologies behind the war front demonstrate why The Captain could emerge, surprisingly, to be the superior of them all.

4/5

FG