Title – Captain America: The Winter Solider (2014)
Director – Anthony and Joe Russo (Welcome to Collinwood)
Cast – Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Cobie Smulders, Emily VanCamp, Haley Atwell
Plot – Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Evans) is trying to adapt to modern day life while juggling his role with SHEILD. When a mysterious foe in the form of the Winter Soldier appears and threatens to end the life of Nick Fury (Jackson), Rogers must team up with Black Widow (Johansson) and delve deep into the recesses of SHEILD intelligence and find out who is behind this new world threat.
“That was not my first kiss since 1945. I’m 95, I’m not dead”
Review by Eddie on 21/08/2014
Captain America’s first solo venture in Joe Johnston’s 2011 film was met with a relative ho-hum reception and rightfully so thanks to a pedestrian like telling of an arguably far more interesting character, but due to 2012’s mega hit The Avengers, Captain America found a whole new level of popularity and the prospect of seeing him defrosted into a modern day solo scenario all of a sudden became a much more appealing venture. With TV comedy mainstays the Russo Brothers behind the helm, hopes were high that the Captain would shun the mediocrity of the first instalment and deliver in what is really a cold war thriller masked in disguise as a superhero adventure, but finished results suggest that Captain America remains alongside the Hulk, the weakest of Marvel’s solo journeys.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what disallows Captain America to truly achieve its potential, yet despite this being far more polished than its World War 2 set predecessor this venture still feels frustratingly light on heart and soul and Rogers/Captain America as a character feels distant inducing cold when we really need him to be the beating heart centre of a pretty stock standard predictable heroes v villains tale. In saying this it’s a nice change of pace that for much of this film you feel as though you’re watching a thriller not an average CGI beat-em up that sadly feels undone by a more stock standard and overlong finale. It’s almost as if Marvel didn’t truly have the confidence in shunning their usual 3rd act shtick and it will be a joy to one day witness a less mundane us against the world last act. While what ends this blockbuster may be more typical, a major plus for Winter Soldier is what occurs sporadically throughout, thanks to the direction of the Russo Brothers.
The Russo Brothers bring a fresh perspective to many scenes throughout Winter Soldier, from an untypical car chase sequence involving Nick Fury early on, an elevator dust up that feels like something out of the Raid and a neat freeway showdown with the titular Winter Solider feeling like a Heat showdown, there are great moments in a film that seems torn between becoming something different yet playing to what the audience expects/wants. Humour littered amongst the film also at times strikes a nice rhythm, which is to be expected from the men who have crafted some of Arrested Development and Community’s strongest episodes and the brothers draw out nice turns from Evans (despite not an overabundance of charm, which he is capable of) and Johansson, yet the supports don’t achieve too much with Robert Redford wasted in his role as Alexander Pierce.
You get the feeling that there is room still to grow for the Captain America solo brand but you also can’t shake the overwhelming sense that his best work will always be a part of the Avengers ensemble. A hard time seems to be had figuring out exactly how to portray the Captain and a hero that spends a majority of his time throwing a shield at bad guys can only really be taken so far. If Captain America really wants to take itself to new heights a throwing out of the rulebook must take place, an occurrence that happens mildly throughout this film only to be reigned back in again by the Marvel schoolmasters. Winter Solider isn’t particularly bad, but it’s also entirely forgettable and for superheros that is a mortal sin.
2 and a half convenient escape holes out of 5