Okay, I actually approached this film from a unique, somewhat dodgy point. I have a confession. I hadn’t actually seen Captain America: The First Avenger all the way through. I mean I knew the gist of the storyline, but never actually committed myself to watching it all the way.
Of course, this is the second instalment of the Captain America solo franchise and predominantly features Chris Evans as Captain America and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, or Natasha Romanoff. The film, if you hadn’t of guessed, picks up after Avengers Assemble and Steve Rogers is trying to adapt to live again in the present day, this is played on by comedic ways when he meets with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and he reveals his list he must catch up on.
I hadn’t watched many trailers for The Winter Soldier, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but I originally thought the titular character The Winter Soldier was referring to an ally that Captain America would fight with against a new enemy. I was sadly mistaken, as a glance at the IMDb synopsis states that Steve Rogers is trying to come to terms with present day lifestyle whilst battling an ancient enemy in The Winter Soldier.
As I mentioned in my review of Thor, Marvel have recently hit a decent stride with the mix of comedy and action that has been seen during their current surge of films. However, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is different. Of course there is the comedy, none like that in Thor or Iron Man as the charming characters make the comedy better. Captain America on the other hand is more stern, more to the point, but of course that’s expected of a 1940s character now stuck and adjusting to life in the present day.
This difference I saw in The Winter Soldier worked though. It’s close to being the favourite Marvel film as the twists and plot, however implausible and foreseeable they are, are different to what has come to be expected of a Marvel film. I’ll try not to give any spoilers away, but Captain America, when meeting with Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) learns about S.H.I.E.L.D’s efforts to keep threats at bay using these mahoosive sky planes (Similar to the one in Avengers, except there is three of ‘um) called Project Insight. He learns this after retrieving some data from a ship that is owned by S.H.I.E.L.D, but raided by some mercenaries led by Batroc (Georges St-Pierre) who is a complete nutter and badass. (Something fishy is a afoot) But not as bad ass as The Winter Soldier. Then it becomes a seedy web of lies and things happen. With a pinch of ass kicking from The Winter Soldier and Captain America.
Captain America discovers things aren’t what they are and it becomes a tale of corruption and deceit, which is different as it’s not the classic tale of finding oneself and then an exciting sequence of action, which kind of happened in Thor: The Dark World, but it doesn’t in Captain America. Sure I said it’s kind of foreseeable, it’s in no shape or form edge of your seat stuff, but it’s enough and keeps the movie chugging along at a decent pace.
The Winter Soldier (takes a while to show up, despite being a titular character) simply put, turns up and kicks ass every so often and seems to be a past soviet weapon as Romanoff seems to know about him. Sam Wilson on the other hand is not integral, but helps move the story along and of course by the end of the film you see the brotherhood that Captain America and Falcon have formed. I, for one, am looking forward to the third instalment (should there be one) because of this brotherhood. Anthony Mackie and Chris Evans don’t share a whole lot of screen time, but you can tell they are a dynamic duo, much like Black Widow and Hawkeye in Avengers Assemble. That being said, there is a certain chemistry between the two (Captain America and Black Widow), especially with the playful banter back and forth about Captain America trying to find a date as an on-going joke and is spoken about during a mission.
I haven’t really mentioned the characters because everyone has come to know the characters already present in the Marvel movies, but The Winter Soldier is still the most intriguing as I mentioned due to the story behind the character and Anthony Mackie is nothing special, but the film is a nice platform for his character and the introduction of him. This behind a not all too complex narrative doesn’t offer a mind boggling effort of story and overload of characters (which I found in Avengers Assemble, man there were an abundance of characters to deal with).
It stands at just over two hours which has become the standard measure for a Marvel superhero film now, and due to the pace of the film, it doesn’t feel long and the filming is genuine, you can tell the use of CGI has been reduced, giving it a more natural feel. And of course, with this new angle of corruption and deceit, mixed in with the comedy that Marvel has now become as common as blood in horror movies. It’s different and I liked it. It shows Marvel aren’t prepared to dwell on a success and keep trying new things. And of course these solo films always provide a platform for new characters and characters to improve their own characters, which happened with Black Widow. (Although her hair really annoyed me throughout the film, I don’t know what it was)
If you go into the movie expecting to see a movie where Steve Rogers is trying to adapt to modern life, your in the wrong film, although it is sold like this, it turns out it’s nothing like this. Either way, it is really compelling and enjoyable for the superhero movies. I’m not going to lie, it might be my favourite modern marvel film, but alas, I pine for The Incredible Hulk instalment.
P.S. I have since watched Captain America: The First Avenger and although serving as a introduction to the character of Steve Rogers and Captain America, this one is much better for some reason. It’s a different approach to the movie as a whole for Marvel, and I cannot reiterate this enough, because it felt different.