movies: captain america: the winter soldier

captain america: the winter soldier - in heroes we trust
I swear that Marvel just goes from strength to strength with their movies... and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the strongest entries in the catalogue.

I think a couple of the reasons (which I only found out afterwards) is that the directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo insisted on live action over visual effects wherever possible and the fact that producer Kevin Feige described the film as "a 1970s political thriller masquerading as a big superhero movie".

Which absolutely shows within the movie. It's less about superpowers and gadgets and more about what happens when Steve Rogers' world is turned upside down yet again.

Thanks to the internet I knew about the Hydra related twist in the tale (which I won't repeat here... but thanks internet, this is why we can't have nice things) and about the identity of the titular Winter Soldier (which is one of those things I just knew without really knowing how I knew it)... but even so it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story.

The story is definitely where the movie is strongest... not that it doesn't have it's issues here and there... I still can't get past the fact in any of the "post Avengers" movies, that the characters don't cross over more. I mean, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't have called in all possible favours/help for the big battle at the end. But I also understand that that's not going to happen for reasons that have nothing to do with the in-movie universe.

Unsurprisingly, the cast is excellent... I mean a number of them should be since they've been playing the same characters for a number of movies now. Chris Evans is brilliant as always as the World's Biggest Boyscout, and manages to show the fact that while Captain America has adjusted to the modern world, he's still adjusting to how much people have changed, and knowing who he can trust.

I'm pretty sure this is also Scarlett Johansson's best portrayal of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow so far. Part of me would love her to get her own movie, since I think both the character and Johansson deserve it, but at the same time this version of Romanoff is a really mysterious character (I'm not sure if she's the same in the comic books) and it would be kind of a shame to ruin that with a lot of backstory. Plus Johansson gets most of the dryly comedic lines, usually at Rogers expense, which she delivers perfectly.

Newcomer to the Marvel Universe, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon is my new favourite character... and not just because, you know, wings. There's just something about Mackie's performance, which I can't quite put my finger on yet... but he makes Wilson seem like he has a lot more going on than I think the character really does on paper.

To be honest I wasn't completely sure that Sebastian Stan was the same actor who played Bucky Barnes in the first Captain America movie since he looked so different. Although weirdly in the earlier part of the movie the Winter Solider has weird black makeup around his eyes, which then completely vanishes later on. I did like the fact that they didn't take the usual route of having the character do a total 180 within the space of a single movie. But since Stan is signed on for nine movies, so this isn't the last we've seen of Bucky.

It was also nice to see Samuel L. Jackson given a chance to do more than just deliver exposition in one of these movies.

It'll be interesting to see how the events of this movie affect the future of the Marvel movies, especially the Avengers sequel.

yani's rating: 4 Helicarriers out of 5

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