The Winter Soldier represents a more sophisticated Marvel movie.
Captain America: The First Avenger is my favourite non-Avengers movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I was as excited as a superhero movie buff could be when the opening credits credited away on screen for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The trailers were awesome (did you SEE The Winter Soldier catch Cap’s shield mid-air?!), and the film itself doesn’t fail to live up to the trailer.
What directors the Russo brothers have done here is strip back some of the pomp and explosiveness of previous MCU movies and focus on the core of Captain America as a character, which is being the moral compass of this entire cinematic universe. What made The First Avenger so refreshing was the timeless, almost lost, core values of honesty and doing the right thing no matter what, being brought into the big, loud, sarcastic Marvel universe. The Captain’s role is to bring a little class and all-Americanness to the screen.
In The Winter Soldier the villain is less obvious. Less a person than an idea. Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers goes up against everyone and everything he knew before to figure out who the hell the bad guys are and whether he has the resolve to do what he knows is right. The political tones in this movie are achingly relevant with what’s happening right now in world politics, touching on issues like surveillance of citizens and the loss of freedoms and privacy “for the greater good.”
There are some great twists here and certainly events in this movie will have far-reaching consequences for future MCU movies and TV shows. “Game-changer” is a term thrown around a lot these days but in terms of this ever-growing and incredibly intricate cinematic universe game-changing is an accurate descriptor.
Chris Evans is awesome (as always) in a role he seems born to play. From the opening shot you see he embodies the Captain, especially physically. Seriously. How the heck did he get so big? Robert Redford brings some amazing political weight to the film, and slinks on to the scene to take a blender to right and wrong. Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson return as Black Widow and Nick Fury respectively, and continue their pitch perfect performances as the Cap’s right-hand lady and the ever-tough head of SHIELD.
Marvel-heads will love this solid entry into the MCU canon, for non-fans there is also lots here, particularly the relevant political undertones and a particularly explosive climax.