‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Review

Super-sequel is among Marvel’s best yet

Just as Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) starts to get comfortable in his new role working for S.H.I.E.L.D, the Captain starts to discover there’s a lot of shady stuff going on at his new employer. He already knew that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was far from an open book, but it is his superior Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) who reveals himself even more so as a man with very disturbing ideas about security and how to maintain it. Captain America has barely discovered what’s going at S.H.I.E.L.D. or he finds himself chased by many new enemies, the most powerful of which is the mysterious assassin known as The Winter Soldier. In this struggle Rogers receives help from Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and his new friend The Falcon (Anthony Mackie).

Captain America The Winter Soldier 1While 2011’s ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ was just okay, this riveting folllow-up blows its predecessor right out of the water. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is a massive epic of a sequel jam-packed with action, suspense, laughs and well written characters. The main flaw of the first film was that it didn’t use the interesting aspects of Captain America’s character at all, but here they are worked out in an excellent way. Steve Rogers is not just a patriot, but a man who wants to do good for a country that he discovers is not always as idealistic as him. He is also a man out of time, still struggling to adjust to today’s society and coming to terms with the fact that everyone he used to care for is either dead or in a retirement home.

The Captain America comic books have had a political undertone for quite some time; in recent years he fought a conservative movement clearly modelled after the Tea Party, and to symbolize the moral bankruptcy the U.S. had descended to during George Bush Jr’s presidency the iconic superhero was even killed off during Dubya’s second term (only to be revived Captain America The Winter Soldier 2during Obama’s first term, no Marvel character dies forever). Just like the comics, directors Anthony and Joe Russo have filled their action thriller with political aspects as well: main plot points refer to the controversial use of drones and the NSA’s invasive privacy policy.

With his character being worked out so much better Captain America’s star shines significantly brighter in this sensational sequel, and his support cast shines along with him. Scarlett Johansson’s smirky Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow is much more fleshed out this time as well, without losing any of her mysterious aura. Jackson’s Nick Fury is also given more of a backstory, while Redford clearly enjoys playing the villain for a change. Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson relates to Steve Rogers because he also is a natural optimist who is coping with military traumas of his own. The only character missing here is Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye; since he is a S.H.I.E.L.D.- operative just like Black Widow and Cap you’d expect the super-archer to pop up here, but he is nowhere to be seen.

It is hard to believe the Russo brothers have only done comedy-film and Captain America The Winter Soldier 3tv-series so far, since they absolutely deliver here as directors of a giant-sized action blockbuster. The action is superb, although that’s just icing on the cake since the great story and witty dialogue are enough to keep you wanting more for two hours straight. No wonder Marvel already contracted the Russo’s to direct Captain America 3, which is scheduled to hit cinemas May 2016. Frank Grillo’s character is clearly being set up to become the main villain in the Captain’s next solo adventure, and our star spangled superhero had better watch out: in the comics Grillo’s Brock Rumlow went on to become Crossbones, the villain at whose hand Captain America faced his demise. But before the third Captain America film Steve Rogers will of course unite with his teammate for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, and make sure to stay seated during the credits for a glimpse of some brand new characters.

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’is now showing in Australian cinemas