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REVIEW: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

By on March 21, 2014 10:29pm |
REVIEW: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

If you’re a fan of the any of the Marvel Avengers series already, go and see this movie, you’ll love it. The series has really come into it’s own, and this second instalment from Captain America packs even more action, witty dialog, and in my opinion a more engaging story than the first. There are also several tantalising hints of things to come in the next Avengers film.

Comedy. It’s something that has played a key part in the Avengers franchise, and it seems we’ve arrived at a real sweet spot. There is a nice selection of witty one-liners and running-gags throughout, and some moments that had the whole audience laughing outloud. The timing of the humour impeccable and cleverly breaks-up any of the slower-paced sections of the film where things might be more plot than action-driven, or lighten a potentially deep or emotional moment, a style very much akin to how it was used in Thor: The Dark World.

The action in the film is top-notch, as you’ve come to expect, with explosions galore, giant guns, and intense hand-to-hand combat. There were a few occasions though, where I was surprised at things that seemed a bit uncharacteristically gritty for the series. One scene in particular depicted someone meeting their death being sucked through a jet engine, while others featured considerable “collateral damage”. That said, there moments are few and far between, and rest of the action scenes are incredibly well done, and are laden with some pretty-seamless special effects.

The main storyline is quite a moral one, and it feels like there is a strong message to the film. The overriding story won’t be a huge surprise in itself, but turn-by-turn this movie really keeps you guessing. There were several occasions when the whole theatre gasped at a reveal, or was stunned into silence by what had just happened, at one point it even mustered a round of applause, but I could see the outline of the end coming, right from the beginning. For those of you that haven’t seen the first film, you needn’t worry, as there are sufficient flashbacks to any key moments you need to know, but these are unobtrusive enough that they won’t bother anyone who has.

For fans of the Avengers series, there are some nice little hints and references, and it leave a lot of questions open about what’s going to happen next. As always, you must stay right till the very end of the credits to see all the bonus footage, there are some real teasers for the next Avengers film in this one! There is of course a lovely little cameo from Stan Lee (because where would any Marvel film be without one?), and the film screens with a nice little trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy.

A couple of gripes….

While I really enjoyed the film, there were a couple of moments that just felt overly cliche. One self-professed “baddie” divulges a major plot-point while assuming our heros are about to die in some uncertain convoluted way, and there was a speech later on that wouldn’t have felt out of place shouted by Mel Gibson amidst cries of “Freedom!” (though this was joked about afterwards). While I really liked his role, it did a couple of times times feel like Anthony Mackie’s character was just there as a source for one-liners.

When I read about it happening, I was quite excited at the prospect of a Captain America / Black Widow love interest, but honestly, I felt a little underwhelmed about how much of a back seat this took. It never really got off the ground, where there could have been a lot more potential to play on it. There was also no explanation at all as to how Black Widow and Hawkeye were no longer a double-act.

There were a couple of places where things just didn’t add up, or were served up without any explanation. There’s a scene where one character can’t access their own file, which is built up as a big deal, but then never resolved beyond the general idea that “something is wrong”. Or a piece of technology was used, which even for this universe of superheroes, just didn’t seem realistic. I also noticed a couple of tiny continuity errors which just took me out of the flow of things a little bit.