Writer: Elaine Ewe
Overall: 4.5 Out of 5
Cast: 4.0 Out of 5
Plot: 4.5 Out of 5
Effects: 4.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 4.5 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: Marvel films and “Captain America: The First Avenger”
Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is the studio's third film in Phase Two, and fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your tastes, the film steers clear of its obviously superheroic Marvel cousins. The film will also be remembered as the one where Scarlett Johansson's hair is so distractingly straight that it eclipses her acting, but Sebastian Stan's hair gives it a good run for money. Hair gripes aside, we think that different is good - the sequel is miles better than the original.
After the earth-shattering (literally and metaphorically) events in New York with The Avengers, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a.k.a. Captain America, is living quietly in Washington D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. He joins forces with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in order to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie). However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy-the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
The Cap'n may not be as wisecracking as Tony Stark or roguishly charming as Thor or Loki, but Evans does not let fans forget that underneath that marvellously sculpted chest, beats the heart of an honest and sincere young man who wants the best for America. This is the real appeal of Captain America - he is more than just a stiff boy scout, he is a steadfast foil to America's corruption, he is Marvel's answer to DC's Superman. And Evans does this with relative ease, so much so that it is hard to imagine anyone but him in the title role.
Fans of the comics may chide Marvel's rewriting of Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon (they even changed his name from Samuel to Sam), but at least, Anthony Mackie's character is likable. His friendship and eventual partnership with the Cap'n brings to the table a new face, witty banter and sense of camaraderie for future instalments, given Black Widow's shifting moral centre. The film also manages to find that balance between showcasing the Cap'n abilities, Falcon and S.H.I.E.L.D., so it feels less like a one-man show, which seems to be the problem with films featuring an ensemble cast.
Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, who are known for their work on the indie film "Welcome To Collinwood" and the horrendous "You, Me And Dupree", have done a fine job of keeping the film grounded after the fantastical and CGI-laden elements of Marvel's "The Avengers", "Iron Man 3" and "Thor: The Dark World". "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" harks back to ye olde' days of political thrillers such as Sydney Pollack's "Three Days Of The Condor" (which Robert Redford's character is inspired from), "The Manchurian Candidate" and espionage films such as the Bourne trilogy. With dialogue like "This isn't freedom, this is fear", the film raises questions relevant to the Big Brother society of today. The action sequences themselves are reminiscent of Jason Bourne and James Bond films, which are leagues better than the choppy steampunk-inspired choreography in "Captain America: The First Avenger".
The twists in the film are easy to spot, but overall, Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" benefits from taking the direction of an old-school political thriller masquerading as a superhero film. The film is not afraid to take liberties (the hair, Falcon) and pose important socio-political questions, while all around great acting by its ensemble cast help the film pull them off. For those who have not watched the first film, it is advisable to do so before sinking your teeth into Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" because the film references the original a lot.
Cinema Online, 26 March 2014