“Marvel At Its Best” 10/10
The Winter Soldier follows on from the first Captain America pretty seamlessly (although there are tiny moments throughout that won’t quite be understood if you haven’t kept up with The Avengers (2012) and Thor: The Dark World (2013), as in typical Marvel fashion everything links back to previous stories). This time we catch up with Captain America as he struggles to integrate into modern life and find his place within S.H.I.E.L.D, facing new enemies with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
I reviewed the first Captain America film and described it as “action-packed family adventure”, and The Winter Soldier surpasses that description right from the beginning. Matching the tougher, more advanced modern world, the Captain has developed accordingly, shedding his more innocent superhero image from the previous film in favour of a rougher, more masculine warrior who goes in all guns blazing. This film is even more action-packed than its predecessor, full of gunfights and car chases; and the budget was well-spent on a huge array of visually impressive special effects. The story was one of the best Marvel has produced: dark and secretive, constantly changing and developing, keeping you guessing right to the last moment. Eagle-eyed viewers (like me) may pick up on the hints dropped throughout as to the true identity of the Winter Soldier, but regardless of whether or not you work it out before the end, it still makes for a thrilling finale.
Chris Evans once again provides charm and likeability as the ever-moral and slightly vulnerable Captain America, and there is a surprisingly big role for Scarlett Johansson’s Agent Romanoff (those who have seen The Avengers (2013) will be familiar with this character), who works well as a contrast to her fellow avenger. Samuel L Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury and brings a refreshingly comic performance to the character which is greatly enjoyable and helps to ease some of the tension and darker moments within the film. Like with the other Marvel films there are many smaller characters that add to the overall enjoyment of the story; and of course it wouldn’t be a superhero film without an enemy, coming in many and varied forms, the Winter Soldier not being the most surprising.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier has a firmly modern feel, dealing with the ever-prominent theme of conspiracy and secrets in a way that is surprisingly adult for a Marvel film. With plenty of action and excitement, this film holds your attention firmly throughout, keeps you guessing, and makes you want more. It is darker and more dangerous, making it every bit as thrilling as you could want from an action film, and it is Marvel at its best: you won’t be disappointed.