Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Film Review



Marvel Studios continue their extravagant adventure in their ‘Avengers Universe’ with the second Captain America film, the third to feature the titular hero and the 9th to be set in this particular Marvel universe (until a future film merges all of them together). The material put forward by Marvel in the follow up of the Avengers film have been unfortunately a little stale, with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World both coming off slightly dull in comparison to their previous amalgamation. Captain America has however struck a strong chord with some British cinema viewers as well as reviewers, others dispute the claims that this is ‘the best Marvel film so far’.

The film is unchallenging in any degree. The formula of action set-pieces, cool quips and a quick dip in the pool of emotion rarely fails Marvel and is frequented in their films but after the extravagance of the Avengers the mark still has not quite been hit. The Winter Solider is undisputedly the better of the post-Avengers films but still comes off fairly dull when mounted with the high expectations one has over Marvel films, an expectation slowly being shown the light of reality. The lack of many high-scope set pieces does allow some breathing room for the cast but the consistent running and gunning does water down any emotional bond toward the cast. The running and gunning however is done exceptionally well, Capt. himself ten times more active than in his previous run in and moves away from the star spangled banner into a tighter, more cutting edge stealth beating up machine. The large set pieces are great to watch when they do arrive, the slightly larger ones could benefit with a bit more ‘realism’ instead of looking like a port from a video game.

Though criticism can be subjective, none can ignore the matter of The Winter Soldier himself. Everyone knows who he really is, it’s no disguise. But in the film he’s barely a lead role, he’s the equivalent of Oddjob to Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce (who does provide a good antithesis). The Winter Soldier however should have been the forefront of the film, instead what was displayed was a culturally relevant plot-line with a cool villain.

The plot-lines focus on pre-emptive justice and worldwide surveillance, peace through fear, is something of relevance in our era, especially during these post-Snowden months. The resulting story comes off with a moderate sigh, the aim too ridiculously imbalanced and no daringness in the continuity. And as aforementioned, where was The Winter Soldier. 

A redeeming factor of the sub-titular character is however his music, the scream that plays when he enters a scene or commits an act really helps make the character seem darker. The end result ended up almost unnecessary for his involvement.

That being said it’s a popcorn flick and it’s entertaining whilst providing a dip into the Marvel universe again before Guardians of the Galaxy. If The Winter Soldier is anything to go on it will be explosions and quips. There’s nothing wrong with this, James Bond did it for 40 years. It’s keeping it fresh though and if Marvel want to continue their legacy they need to quicken their pace before the hype before the next sequel is equivalent to the visit from estranged family members you’d rather ignore.

Credit is due for being an entertaining film for the most part, as well as having a relevant plot-line. The Marvel universe needs an ounce of freshness however, perhaps a deviation from the ever repeating formula in favour of a more striking, surprising and emotionally engaging story.

Verdict – 3/5


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