Captain America: The Winter Soldier

REVIEW: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

My original Captain America: The Winter Soldier review from April 2014 is here.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is attempting to make a life for himself, working for Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and SHIELD when an assassin from history known only as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) resurfaces.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a brilliant film. It combines spy thriller with superheroes who are really down to earth characters, so well that it almost goes beyond being a “simple” comic book movie. The superheroes here are all very human, and besides Steve Rogers himself who’s pretty strong but still human, they are all people who get hurt and bleed.

Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is a spy who’s used to showing people what they want to see, so her developing friendship with Steve is quite special. They are almost moral opposites in how they see the world, but they find a common ground and seeing them work together is great. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is a brilliant character, he’s a soldier like Steve but he’s never been a part of SHIELD so is someone Steve can talk to and trust. Because that’s the thing with SHIELD, it’s a super-secret organisation where everyone has their own agendas, you can never be sure who to trust.

Secretary to the World Security Council Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) is new character who personifies SHEILD’s shady agenda. He’s an old friend of Fury’s but being at the top of the SHIELD hierarchy means he definitely knows more than he lets on. Captain America: The Winter Soldier presents the idea of an organisation with almost limitless control thanks to its surveillance and ability to act outside of the law – this is political thriller territory and it handles it all incredibly well.

The fight scenes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier thrilling and generally well-shot. There’s a lot of hand to hand combat sequences and while there is quick editing and a variety of shot types, there’s moments where the camera tracks whoever’s fighting or there’s a wide-shot, so you can actually see the actors go at it and it makes the whole thing feel more real and tense.

There’s so many stand-out scenes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier but one of my favourites is the attack on Nick Fury’s car and subsequent car chase. Not only does it show off SHIELD’s technology and what a badass Fury is, but it’s tense and exciting and you get worried because Nick Fury is not a man who’s supposed to be able to get hurt.

I can’t not talk about the Winter Soldier. He’s one of the most ruthless yet interesting villains in the MCU. The music when he’s on screen, ‘The Winter Soldier’ composed by Henry Jackman, is haunting as well. It has this low bass rumble and these mechanical sounds that are almost like screams, you can imagine this is what the Winter Soldier hears in his head. It’s a great piece of music and the whole score is one of the most memorable from the MCU.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is magnificent. It’s got the usual spectacle but with its characters who are so relatable and human, it makes it a superhero film for the ages. 5/5.

My Top Ten Films of 2014

This past year I’ve been to the cinema 63 times so narrowing all what I’ve seen to my top ten has been a bit difficult to say the least. When I first went through my Films of 2014 list I narrowed it down to 16 – getting rid of six films from this list was hard so they are my honourable mentions.

Honourable mentions:
12 Years a Slave
Don’t get me wrong this film is amazing but I saw it January, it really affected me then but I have never felt like I wanted to see it again.
Tom Hardy is incredibly in Locke but it is a slow moving film.
The Purge: Anarchy
Frank Grillo is totally badass and awesome in this and it was the perfect audition to play The Punisher… if he wasn’t already Crossbones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is
Lilting is such a sweet yet heart-breaking film and both Ben Whishaw and Pei-pei Cheng are brilliant.
Fruitvale Station
It starts like a punch to the gut with the real footage of the incident on the station platform. Michael B. Jordan’s performance is brilliant and Fruitvale Station is all the more important and sad because what happened to Oscar Grant is still happening today in America.
Begin Again
The music’s wonderful (listening to the soundtrack on repeat got me through my dissertation), the characters are all flawed but ultimately likeable.

Now for the top ten, these are all very close and really they could probably be in any order but here we go!

10. Belle
Belle is a brilliant period drama that’s led by Gugu Mbatha-Raw who gives a great performance as a woman born into wealth and status but isn’t seen as one of the elite due to the colour of her skin. The supporting cast is also great and it’s a beautiful film.

9. 22 Jump Street
It’s very rare that a sequel is better than the first film, especially when it comes to comedy sequels, but 22 Jump Street is brilliant. I love the meta and how self-aware it is and Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the perfect duo.

8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
It’s political, it’s a family drama, it’s about survival and the performances and animation are incredible. (more…)

C is for: Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

new-captain-america-the-winter-soldier-poster-lands-155226-a-1391176963-470-75This review will be split into two parts – the first part general thoughts and no spoilers, the second part will have a lot of spoilers and be under the read more.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier sees Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) working for SHIELD, trying to figure out if he can really trust the agency and sees him fighting soviet agent Winter Soldier. Returning to the Marvel Universe is Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Anthony Mackie joins the team as the Falcon.

The thing about Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that it is more like an old-school spy thriller than a superhero movie – and it works really well. The action is shot well (you can actually see what’s happening and there’s very limited shaky-cam) and the pace never lets up. It’s a solid addition to the Marvel Universe though of course there are those moments where you do wonder how they’re going to explain the absence of certain characters. That being said I did like it when characters names are thrown in here and there, it adds to the whole universe building thing.

The stakes are higher compared to other films. With the far more human characters of Black Widow, Fury, and (while he is a super-soldier he still bleeds) Captain America, people do get hurt. There are dangerous situations, where you fear for these characters safety. The violence is far more real, and violent, compared to previous superhero films. Also the soundtrack is brilliant and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

In short I really enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I think it’s my favourite of the Phase 2 Marvel movies. The finale is a huge amount of explosions but at the same time I couldn’t really be bothered that much by it since the action scenes leading up to that had been much more realistic and grounded – for instance the car chases are brilliant!

PSA: There are TWO end credits scenes so make sure you stay right till the very end!
PSA2: WARNING! There may be spoilers in the comments.

Now on to the spoilers….


TRAILER REACTION: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Woke up this morning to a new Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer – this is what happens when you’re a Brit who doesn’t care for the Super Bowl, everything appears over night as if by magic!

And wow! This trailer looks amazing! Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of my most anticipated films of this year for a number of reasons, it’s a continuation of the Avengers-verse, it’s got more Black Widow in it, Anthony Mackie’s in it and they seem to be taking a more serious turn with this movie. This trailer feels like it’s more for a spy movie rather than a superhero movie and I love that. I think it’s the perfect setting for a character like Captain America with his strong moral judgement.

I am really excited to see this film and I think part of the reason I’m excited is because I’m seeing it with my mum. My mum loves the Avenger-verse movies, she got upset when Bucky fell from the train in Captain America: The First Avenger, she actually shouted in the middle of the cinema when Loki stabbed Coulson in The Avengers – she is a great person to see this film with and especially as she doesn’t know the history of the Winter Soldier so I’m excited to see her reaction to it all (mum, if you’re reading this don’t google it!)

I love spy movies and I love Marvel movies so it looks like a winning combination for me. The stakes look higher (Fury’s getting in serious trouble which looks interesting), the effects look great, the action scenes look fantastic, and I’m now super excited for this movie.

I’ve watched many of the other Super Bowl trailers but none of them have got me as pumped as the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer has. Well done Marvel, you took a film I was already looking forward to and turned it into something I’m desperate to see.