Friday, 9 May 2014

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

by Will Hall

As a fan of the Marvel films, I eagerly anticipated the release of the second Captain America film. I loved watching the first film called The First Avenger and as this sequel would be set in the modern day vs WWII from the first film I was intrigued about how this film would pan out. Before you read this review, I would definitely recommend watching the first Captain America film before this one as you will probably not understand much of the story without the knowledge of the storyline from The First Avenger.

The film is set two years after the events that occurred in New York from the Avengers Assemble in 2012. The film opens with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans – by the way it’s a different Chris Evans!) running around Washington D.C. He meets a man who later introduces himself as Samuel Wilson. You can tell that he is in some way going to be involved in the film as a new character. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) has been given a secret mission by Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to retrieve S.H.I.E.L.D. data for him from a hijacked ship whilst Rogers defeats the pirates and rescues the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Fury is suspicious about what’s really going on at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ as the leader of SHIELD called Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) is secretly working for the Nazi deep science division called Hydra which you will probably remember from the previous film.
As it is a superhero film, there are unsurprisingly a lot of special effects, featuring a lot of ‘blowing stuff up’, from helicarriers crashing into rivers to buses being repetitively shot at with grenade launchers. The ‘Winter Soldier’ himself is Captain America’s best friend ‘Bucky’ from The First Avenger who was thought to have plummeted to his death by falling off a train. I find this really quite clichéd as, after watching The First Avenger again only a few days ago, there is absolutely no chance Bucky could’ve survived the fall. It’s probably over 150 feet which is definitely a death on impact. Nevertheless, this adds a lot to the story as Bucky can’t remember Steve at all and just as he starts to remember, Hydra wipe his memory and order him to kill Captain America. The Winter Soldier also happens to be an unbelievably well trained soldier who is probably a better soldier than Rogers is... Again maybe rather clichéd, but, it’s a superhero movie…

Director Fury is 'killed' after an intense car chase with Hydra agents (which he survives) when the Winter Soldier puts a rifle round through him. With the Avengers 2 & 3 still to be released, Fury obviously wasn’t going to die. He is secretly recovering in a safe location whilst Hydra think they succeeded in killing him.
Hydra have now effectively taken over SHIELD and are trying to launch three ‘helicarriers’ with capabilities to take out individuals who will be a threat to Hydra in future from thousands of miles away. Rogers and Romanoff meet the conscience of Dr Zola from The First Avenger who appears to be the only character who’s actually dead from the last film. His genius mind has been uploaded to a computer and Zola’s algorithm is used to calculate whether someone will be a threat to Hydra in the future. Captain America has to bring down the helicarriers by disabling their weapons with a chip with the assistance of a mechanical jetpack/red squirrel suit called Falcon which Watson is trained to use.

Similar to the Iron Man films, some comedy has been thrown in. For example, when Romanoff is telling Rogers about her previous encounter with the Winter Soldier, she shows him her scar on her waist where she was shot by Bucky. She says ‘He shot through me… good bye bikini…’ and Rogers replies ‘I bet you look horrible in them...’ This humour takes away some of the seriousness of the action to great effect.
At the end of the film, Rogers gets into hand-to-hand combat with Bucky and refuses to fight him. Bucky still can’t quite remember and beats up the hero. Rogers falls through the glass in the helicarrier unconscious and smashes into the river. As expected, Bucky jumps in and rescues him, drags him to the shore, and leaves for good. Captain America sets off to find Bucky and the film ends. There’s an exciting clip at the end of the credits that you’ll want to see if you’re seriously interested in the marvel films, but I’ll leave it for you to see yourself.
The film itself is very exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat as Hydra attempt to take over SHIELD, and the world. The storyline has clearly been very cleverly thought out with the return of Hydra and the characters from ‘The First Avenger’. Although still quite clichéd, there aren’t anywhere near as many clichés as there are in the previous film, which gets a bit ridiculous if I’m honest. I would definitely recommend watching this film if you haven’t already and I think it’s probably my favourite Marvel film to date apart from possibly the Avengers Assemble. I’m not a fan of movie clichés, but as mentioned, there aren’t as many as there are in other Marvel films.

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