The blockbuster summer season is here! It kicks off with; you guessed right, Marvel’s latest addition to their cinematic universe – Captain America: The Winter Soldier! This isn’t Marvel as we know it, as the audience is immersed into a world of espionage, plot twists… And did someone say spy thriller?!
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo | Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Redford | Running Time: 2hrs 16mins
Marvel’s new film ventures far from what we’ve become accustomed to, and opens a new door into their world. A new door far from fantasy, AC/DC and smashing, the audience are put into a more relatable, horrifyingly ‘closer to home’ world. After the events of The Avengers, the world has become more paranoid and even more secretive. SHIELD has learnt from being “hopelessly out-gunned” to having a weapon that’ll eliminate millions if need be. To make things even tougher for our hero, Cap learns of a plot to destroy millions. How will Cap face this alone without his super friends? Who can he trust? And where on earth are Barton, (Hawkeye) and Banner, (Hulk)?!
The Living Legend, Captain America himself, returns in the latest Marvel Studios picture. A man out of his time, Steve struggles to find his place in the modern world, and continually questions his allegiance to Nick Fury and SHIELD. All that is cast aside when a new threat arrives from within SHIELD, and Cap is left with no one to trust, as well as face the ghost story that is, The Winter Soldier.
“Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky”, It’s this kind of dialogue, either when it’s emotional; aggressive; compassionate; or hilariously witty, that enriches the film. The Russo brothers have chosen to put less priority on big scale action sequences, (which there are), and CGI. Instead, the ‘shared womb’ duo have incorporated what every great film needs – the holy trinity of movie-making: Strong directing; powerful writing and solid performances. Sounds like those ‘serious’ movies that a neutral audience likes to avoid and would rather ask for less talk and more boom right? Wrong! The Russo’s stating that they were influenced by The Raid: Redemption couldn’t be more obvious!
The action is intense, overwhelmingly realistic and will have every viewer’s adrenaline pumping. The CGI is kept to a minimum, instead the directors chose to go for the more traditional ‘old school’ style of film-making, shooting on location and keeping everything as real as possible. This translates into the film almost perfectly, because the script was written in such a way that these events could happen in the real world. This is something we haven’t really seen from Marvel before, but then again, nobody on their roster is as real as Cap. He can’t fly, summon thunder, build a weaponized suit, or test stretchy pants every time he hits a pole on Flappy Bird.
He’s just a man who is a sheep among wolves, trying to find his place in the world, and nobody could do this as well as Chris Evans who gives his best performance of Cap to date. He’s accompanied by a less wooden, more fun Natasha, (Johansson), and a new member to the MCU roster, Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, (Mackie) who plays the part so well that his career will only ‘soar’ from here. Also new is SHIELD Director himself, Alexander Pierce, (Redford), whose casting was a sign that Marvel are upping their game with brilliant actors who deliver brilliant performances, and Redford doesn’t disappoint. Then we have the main man behind all the terror that is scary enough to make even Natasha shake – The Winter Soldier… Those that haven’t seen the film, this is where you stop reading and skip to the last paragraph. (cough SPOILER ALERT cough).
The Winter Soldier is portrayed by one of Hollywood’s next best talents, Sebastian Stan. Only a select few actors can portray the conflict and darkness of a character by just using their eyes, and Stan does this almost effortlessly. For those Cap fans watching, this is definitely the actor who is fit to ‘carry the shield’. Sebastian Stan is the actor to watch as his role in the MCU is only going to get bigger and bigger.
Watch out for multiple comic book references, (Ed Brubaker’s cameo; “Who the hell is Bucky”; the winter soldier holding Cap’s shield), as well as Henry Jackman’s score which only elevates every scene in the film. This is a film not only for comic book fans, but for any person that wants to go out and have their minds twisted, turned and left in awe. The tone of the film starts from a place where everything is as we know it, until you have no idea what’ll happen next. Marvel have made a huge statement that they aren’t out to make great comic book films, but brilliant films that can stand on their own.
This is a rollercoaster any moviegoer will certainly enjoy, and in more ways than one, be inspired by. The emotion alone will tug at the heart strings. The new and old relationships are put to the test, and will leave a bright glimpse into the future. As many questions are answered, even more are asked, which is what has made Marvel Studios so successful! Remember to stay behind until the very end of the credits, because those two end credit scenes give the audience a hint as to what’s coming. This film will stand as one of Marvel’s best, if not the best. It delivers what heroes are supposed to – inspiration. It echoes Cap’s promise to Dr Erskine in the first film, “to stay who you are, not a perfect soldier, but a good man”.