Film review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
This is Cap’s third outing, but the second within a film of his very own. The first film, despite making Richard Armitage part of the Marvel universe, was a bit lacking here and there. Luckily the sequel is better.
Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans) seems less traumatised by the event in New York than, say, Tony Stark. Steve seems to fit into modern society fairly well, even though his newly beloved Peggy (Hayley Atwell) is now a very old lady. But then, she got to old age by doing awesome things like founding S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of being stuck inside an iceberg, so kudos to her.
Steve doesn’t get to just jog along, though, because Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) comes to pick him up. (Side note for others who enjoy learning things like Russian naming conventions and grind their teeth at her surname: according to Wikipedia, citing Wolverine: Origins, her full name is Natalia Alianovna Romanova. Natasha Romanoff seems to be more of a westernised nickname/alias.)
They go on a mission to save hostages on a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship from bad guys, but apparently the Black Widow has another objective which doesn’t go down too well with Mr Goody-two-shoes, who confronts S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) about it. Important stuff happens and an assassin called the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is introduced.
Also starring Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Emily VanCamp as Kate (o hai Rebecca from Brothers & Sisters), Toby Jones as Dr Arnim Zola (or the voice thereof), Jenny Agutter as Councilwoman Hawley (about a million miles from being a nun in 1950s/1960s London).
I won’t go into any more plot details, because OH MY GOSH it would be such an unbelievable spoilerfest, and this is a dish best served unspoilered. Worth mentioning is that there’s a mid-credits scene and an end-credits scene, so stay put. If you’re reading this when the film’s out on disc/streaming service/whatever, you have a fast-forward button.
The only headscratcher is really how on earth the events of the film is going to affect the TV-series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., because reasons. If you’ve seen this film, you know what I’m talking about. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
There’s a lot of edge-of-seat things happening here, and the film has managed the 191st spot on the IMDb Top 250 list, although when I started writing this post, it was a slightly higher #181.
Is The Winter Soldier better than The First Avenger? Yes. Was I ever bored or felt as if I was watching people running through a film set? No. Did I miss ? No. Did I miss Dum-Dum Dugan? Sort of. (Did I miss Dugan’s ginormous ginger snot-stopper? Ick, no.) Should Black Widow get her own film? Yes. Is Cap my favourite Avenger? No. (It’s probably Thor.) Have I since seeing the film wondered what a Captain Britain would be like? Yes. (He would be sarcastic, self-deprecating, wear a bowler hat and run on tea.)
Don’t sit here reading my ramblings, because I can’t really talk about the plot without revealing massive spoilers, and because of that I’m reduced to uttering nonsense. Go watch the film, because them folks at Marvel sure know how to make a decent superhero story come to life. DC might have [had] Christopher Nolan, but Marvel’s currently where it’s at on the silver screen.
4.7 out of 5 Pulp Fiction references. Or nefarious schemes to do very bad things indeed to very good people. Either way.