Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie
UK Release Date: 20th March 2014
My rating: 4/5
So I actually saw this before I saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which I have already reviewed but as I had plans to see it again I thought I'd wait to post so it was fresh in the memory.
It's nigh impossible to write this review without any kind of plot spoilers so *****SPOILER ALERT***** just in case.
What I'll say to start off is that I knew the identity of the Winter Soldier long before the film came out. Not to say it ruined the film for me because it didn't but being the keen fan that I am I read all about it months before the film was released. I just thought I'd mention it because I guess it means my viewing was maybe a little skewered? I don't know.
Anyway. As you've probably heard the film is great. It is the ultimate conspiracy theory and has possibly one of Marvel's strongest story-lines. Throughout the film we see Steve Rodgers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) struggle to acclimatise with modern society while sticking to his really rather strong morals. He is now a fully fledged S.H.I.E.L.D. agent but he's struggling with it; questioning whether being a superhero-for-hire is really for him. When he's left only able to trust the morally questionable, killer-for-hire Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson) it's no wonder he struggles and when the identity of the Winter Soldier is revealed to him in the midst of it all his world is well and truly rocked. Sam Wilson aka the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is almost a flashback to when Steve Rodgers was just Steve Rodgers, just an ordinary man willing to do anything to make a difference and with the end of the film teasing that he'll be a relatively permanent fixture by the Captain's side I'm interested to see where his character goes (especially as his wings were destroyed and I'm sure he said they were the only ones left).
There are the witty one-liners that are now a staple feature in the new phase of Marvel films and some not-so-subtle teasers of potential future spin-off films (Dr. Stephen Strange for instance) this gritty storyline really is one for both the comic fans and those who are just looking for a film to watch. It is one of the few superhero movies that is actually set in quite a recognisable reality. The freedom vs. security debate of S.H.I.E.L.D. is relatable to all. Obviously the film delivers on the action front and the Winter Soldier gives Captain America a worthy opponent. Their fight scenes are scrappy and (thankfully) relatively CGI-free! They're honest and gritty fights of evenly matched heroes that no one can really complain about.
The key role of Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow kind of made me feel sorry for Hawkeye who, outside of the Avengers, has only found himself in a cameo role in Thor. I'm sure thats just me and a love for Jeremy Renner but there's only so often I can hear Natasha/Natalia Romanov's I don't know and don't want to know who I am, my past doesn't define me, I'm going clean spiel before I start to stop caring.
There is only really one thing that I came out still questioning and its the character of Batroc. Now Captain America is a super-soldier, we all saw that happen in the first film, so we know that he is super strong and most people tend to go down after the first hit. Batroc however was really quite resilient, springy and remarkably good at avoiding death and I feel we weren't given a reason why or how that was possible. It's a small problem really but if anyone saw something I missed feel free to drop me a comment.
Marvel have a lot of clearing up to do before The Avengers 2 of both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Winter Soldier issue and I quite look forward to seeing how they're going to do it.
After a Quicksilver teaser in both the Captain America 2 (for Avengers 2) and the new Spider-man (for X-Men) credits I'm also intrigued to see how Marvel is going to handle this character-off. Personally I'm backing Evan Peters over Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Angus, Thongs. That's all I'll say.)
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment :)
Naomi Joy x