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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Review 2)



143390_poster_gross_200 Released: 26th March 2014

Directed By: Joe and Anthony Russo

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford

Certificate: 12A

Reviewed By: Darryl Griffiths

From super-skinny to super soldier. From the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch to the First Avenger. Chris Evans’ Captain America is often declared ‘the star-spangled man with a plan’. Frozen for many a decade after his World War II showing against HYDRA and Red Skull, only to be awoken to a startling modern world at the close of his first solid solo outing? Rather doubtful that’s what the American patriot had in mind.

Marvel Studios’ ‘Phase Two’ instalments thus far have seen them intertwine the obligatory comic-book wit and spectacle with established genres. The psychological warfare faced by Tony Stark/Iron Man after the carnage that engulfed New York during Avengers Assemble. Thor’s fantastical ‘Dark World’ jarring with an under-threat ‘reality’. With the Cap’s latest adventure, directorial duo Joe and Anthony Russo here throw a ‘thawing’ Steve Rogers into the deep end of a politically charged conspiracy thriller.

‘The Winter Soldier’ is underpinned by Roger’s eagerness to protect and serve and the inner torment of a ‘lost life’ whilst adjusting to the demands of an increasingly murky new world, where the moral compass of authority figures is regularly under question. Still proving an invaluable ‘weapon’ on behalf of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and aided by the feisty Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), a dramatic rescue mission involving a sea-based vessel owned by the organisation, sets the stage for a thorough examination of S.H.I.E.L.D’s credibility as a source for good.

A far cry from the simplicity of his previous heroics, Rogers is advised by a close ally of Fury’s by the name of Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) in the advanced enemy, as he himself attempts to push through a top-secret passion project called Insight. Thriving on the element of surprise, sneak attacks conducted by a fierce adversary solely known as The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) only accentuates the mystery that engulfs the film’s premise.

Adopting such an intricate approach, it’s to the Russos’ credit that ‘The Winter Soldier’ proves as nimble-footed in its storytelling as it is serving up the impressively choreographed fisticuffs and exhilarating action set-pieces. Where his fellow Avenger Iron Man and his gadgetry has drawn stylistic comparisons with the ‘James Bond’ franchise, Captain America’s second outing is an unlikely yet suitable companion piece, deftly complimenting with an injection of teamwork espionage that you’d easily find in a ‘Mission Impossible’ entry.

For all its political jargon with seasoned veteran Robert Redford’s casting an astute choice in navigating the audience through its exposition with a terrific turn, it’s the swift subversion of the belief that Captain America is a bland one-note hero in comparison to his wisecracking/hulked up teammates, that is the film’s greatest asset. The spontaneity in the forming of the brotherly bond with Anthony Mackie’s ex-Paratrooper Sam Wilson/The Falcon, both assisting in their adjustment to their surroundings after being in the line of duty. The playful chemistry shared with Johansson’s Black Widow as she hints that a relationship would fill the void, yet the beloved ‘one that got away’ (Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter?) continues to plague his psyche. Captain America’s old-school beliefs juxtaposed with the complexities of ‘today’ is what makes the moral dilemmas, particularly in his thrilling face-offs with Stan’s tormented Winter Soldier, compelling in how the surprising resolutions are reached.

Both an intelligent throwback and a superior step forward in its tone and scope, whilst neatly tying into the framework of its predecessor, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ like Mackie’s Falcon, soars. Superb.




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