This is arguably the best movie to come from Marvel yet – yes, even better than Avengers Assemble.
After the perfectly watchable – but more-of-the-same – release of Thor: The Dark World last year, Chris Evans makes sure the Marvel superhero juggernaut continues well on track into its third phase with a smart and exhilarating second stand alone outing for Captain America.
After the events of New York, Steve Rogers – the super-powered, shield-wielding man that is Cap Am – is still struggling to embrace his role in the modern world, particularly exasperated by the questionable tactics of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and the SHIELD agency.
Can he trust Fury? Can he trust Fury’s boss Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)? Can he trust top agent Brock ‘Crossbones’ Rumlow (Frank Grillo)? Can he even trust Avengers team member Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)?
All these questions become answered in a cleverly subversive plot that takes this above the average superhero movie – and punches this towards the top of the genre ladder with the likes of Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
With some great action set-pieces, nice – but not over-cooked – comedic touches, and a few genuinely emotive moments, this sequel really does satisfy as SHIELD looks to introduce controversial surveillance heli-carriers in the sky to watch our every move, in an attempt to prevent crime before it happens.
Throw in the addition of super-cool ally Sam ‘Falcon’ Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and a maniacal new part-bionic arch-nemesis in the form of The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), then you’ve got A) a bloomin’ good movie, and B) a hard film to review without significant plot spoilers.
Evans and Johansson continue to blossom, adding extra weight to their burgeoning characters, Jackson has a notably bigger role for once, and Redford and Mackie are welcome additions to an excellent cast.
If it wasn’t for some of the film’s clever work coming undone in the inevitably slightly weaker (but still noteworthy) ‘all-guns blazing’ special effects-laden final third – this would have undoubtedly been a five-star film.
The third Cap movie is supposedly going up against DC Comics’ joint Batman/Superman project – they’ve both currently got a ‘Who will blink first’ May 6 2016 date pencilled in – so Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot and co will have to pull off something major, or they should be really worried.
But as far as The Winter Soldier goes, it just doesn’t set up the Marvel canon nicely for the next Avengers film Age of Ultron – but is also a great movie for neutral movie-goers too.
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Cast: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Frank Grillo, Cobie Smulders, Emily VanCamp, Callan Mulvey, Jenny Agutter, Alan Dale, Georges St-Pierre, Garry Shandling, Toby Jones, Dominic Cooper, Stan Lee, Hayley Atwell
Running Time: 2hrs 15mins
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo[youtube id=”7SlILk2WMTI” width=”600″ height=”350″]