Big Screen :: Captain America – The Winter Soldier

April 7th 2014


This isn’t really a superhero film at all…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier tells the further adventures of the world’s nerdiest superhero: the 90-something year old virgin who dresses up in the Stars and Stripes, Captain America.

Filmmakers face a tough time trying to make this guy interesting; he’s from World War II, and his uncompromising, unquestioning morals fitted well in a time when everyone knew who the bad guys were, and could generally agree that they were a bunch of arseholes.

Thankfully the filmmakers haven’t tried to just recreate that in the present day – they’ve recognised that would be boring. Instead they have made a spy thriller that forces Captain America to re-think his allegiances.

If you have to make a movie about this guy, and to be honest you really don’t, this is at least the very best way to approach it.

In the film, Captain America is carrying out dodgy black ops missions for SHIELD; the weird United Nations-type spy agency that was last seen in The Avengers (and that cheap looking TV show hardly anyone watches). When SHIELD unveils its plan to launch giant floating aircraft carriers to circle the world and wipe out threats before they happen, even the old Captain thinks that’s a bit shit.

Before he knows it, Cap is on the run with Scarlett Johanssen and a new friend named The Falcon, who has mechanical wings. They are going for a sort of gritty 70’s political thriller feel, so as you can imagine they struggle to fit the guy with wings in organically. He will sell a lot of toys though.

The last Thor film was so heroically nonsensical that trying to actually figure out what happened required David Lynch-like leaps of logic, so it’s good to find out that Marvel Studios have made a real movie here. There is a mysterious plot that is interesting and engaging, and has consequences for the characters involved. It’s not just some chase-the-magical-do-dad story. It’s about surveillance, trust and questioning patriotism, which are not safe choices to make a superhero movie about.

In fact, this isn’t really a superhero film at all.

You could take The Captain out and put in James Bond or someone and you would actually have a marginally better movie, just because your lead character wouldn’t have to dress up like such an idiot all the time. The climax is a computer-generated mess, but I was right there with the movie up to that point.

I think Chris Evans is as good as anyone could be in this role. It also benefits immensely from having no less than Robert Redford as the head of SHIELD, and the film is not afraid of using every bit of history and baggage that he brings to a role. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior example of this type of thing… Worth a look.


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