Avengers Assemble may have been the movie that changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but now we’re moving on to the film that really shook things up; Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
RELEASED: April 4th 2014
DIRECTED BY: The Russo Brothers
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
STARRING: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell & Robert Redford
As I said up top, Avengers Assemble changed the Marvel Universe and the landscape of cinema forever. However, it was Captain America: The Winter Soldier that really shook things up. First up, it took one of what was considered to be the less interesting Avengers, Captain America, and made him awesome. Second, it changed the dynamics of the way the fictional world saw and interacted with their heroes. Third, and most importantly, it really dove into its own unique genre, laying the groundwork for later films to go off and explore different branches of superhero storytelling. Sure, Iron Man was a techno-thriller, The Incredible Hulk a monster movie and Thor a cosmic fantasy, but at the end of the day, they were all still superhero films to some extent. Conversely, The Winter Soldier is a full-on action thriller that just so happens to feature a costumed hero as one of the central players.
The film sees Captain America working with S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of Avengers Assemble, and heading up his own division called S.T.R.I.K.E. Paired with Black Widow, Cap stumbles upon a new agenda by Nick Fury and his peers to change the way law enforcement works, hoping to take out threats before they even happen. However, in becoming embroiled in this ‘Project: Insight’, Cap soon finds a greater enemy pulling the strings, as ghosts from his past life as a World War II soldier come back to haunt him.
This film is excellent. Arguably one of, if not the, best of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
It takes Captain America and gives him a serious upgrade. Although he could be quite brutal in The First Avenger, in The Winter Soldier you can truly see what it would be like for villains to take on a super-soldier, as a single kick from Cap will send them flying across a room, and pulling a knife on him probably won’t end very well for you. You truly believe that this is a hero who could stand amongst Gods and armored millionaires and hold his own, unlike it sometimes felt in Assemble.
In short, he seems much more capable, and on top of that, he’s an inherently good person that you can’t help but root for.
This is down to the highlights of the film. The writing and the choreography. It’s amazing that the Russo Brothers previously worked on TV comedy, and yet, here, demonstrate such an impressive command of putting together a solid action movie. Each fight sequence seems like it’s been meticulously rehearsed to be as natural and powerful as possible, and each character feels like a real person, honest, desperate at times, always relateable.
Furthermore, the story, although told through great stakes and an explosive finale, seems timely and important; the debate about civil liberties, and the way it relates to the real world, makes for a great Captain America story, and just a great story in general.
In a way, this is another way it differs from its Marvel peers, because although it does have the occasional wisecrack, it, for the most part, takes itself seriously, and isn’t too beholden to the mould that Joss Whedon and the other Marvel Movie directors have crafted.
If I had to pick an issue with the film, it would be that the Falcon slips into the events a little too easily, but frankly, Anthony Mackie is such a delight that it just doesn’t matter.
All-in-all, I give it: