Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, and starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Redford. This was a highly anticipated movie for me because I was a big fan of the first in the series. There was also a certain expectation because I had heard nothing but good things about this sequel.
Synopsis: This takes place two years after The Avengers (2012) and Steve Rogers (Evans) is working for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency. Rogers is still coming to terms with being in the future, and this certainly shows at various points in the story. The main story centres on the fact S.H.I.E.L.D. have been compromised, and Rogers has been branded a fugitive by S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce (Redford). With the apparent death of Nick Fury (Jackson), Pierce believes Rogers has withheld important information from him. We see Rogers team up with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Johansson), and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to try and restore S.H.I.E.L.D. but also in trying to defeat assassin, the Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan). The Winter Soldier works for Pierce, and has some very strong links to Rogers. He has been brainwashed by Pierce, and is a killing machine.
Overall, this is one of the best Marvel movies I have seen. This really does surpass the first in the series, and has some really good action sequences as well as character development. There are some touching moments where Rogers (in disguise) visits a museum dedicated to Captain America. Here he is able to see pictures of love interest Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and have some sort of link to his past. There is also a poignant scene where he visits the modern day Peggy and sits by her bedside. Although Rogers has adapted to many aspects of the contemporary world, there are still elements like the loss of what could have been with Peggy which has affected him.
Natasha Romanov works well with Rogers despite their contrasts in identity – Rogers is still very much a man of his time whereas she is the result of the modern day world. However, they complement each other effectively. Johansson and Evans have very good onscreen chemistry, which may be the result of them having worked together four times in the past.
To briefly discuss the supporting cast, Samuel L. Jackson does not disappoint as Nick Fury. We learn a bit more about Fury in this movie, and even get to see his damaged eye which is apparently the first time this has happened. Sam Wilson is a very likeable character, and provides some good comic relief in the story. The first scene of the movie shows Rogers lapping him on a morning jog which provides some laughs. There are also some good action sequences when Wilson uses his mechanical wings.
Robert Redford plays a very effective antagonist, and makes this seem effortless. He is extremely menacing in his smooth demeanour. Sabastian Stan also plays The Winter Soldier well, and provides this air of mystery in which comes across as quite unsettling. For a lot of the movie his face is disguised which also evokes this. He also serves as an effective antagonistic doppelganger to Rogers. The Winter Soldier has a mechanical arm, which provides a good match for Roger’s superhuman fighting abilities. He also uses Roger’s shield effectively when it is thrown at him which shows his abilities. Without giving too much away, there are some very touching moments when the true identity of this character is revealed.
The writers (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) have crafted a story with heart, but also very political. Redford’s character is political in nature, and speaks of killing millions of people in order to save more which really does clash with Roger’s and other character’s ideologies. The writers of this movie also do a good job in conveying Roger’s strong morality, and staying true with the character from the comic books.
Overall, this is a very good movie and one not to be missed. This sequel is a fantastic addition to the Marvel franchise, and one definitely worth seeing at the cinemas. The visual effects are also truly amazing, and there is nothing I could really find at fault here. There are some nice twists that arise, but I am not going to give them away. Go and check this out, and stay for the end of the credits.
By Robert Spence