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Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Movie Review

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Review by Frances Winston

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie

Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson

In cinemas March 28th

While comic book adaptations are not to everyone’s taste Captain America is a somewhat different breed with the fact that he is a man from the 1940s in a modern well giving it an interesting spin. More mannered and trusting that his modern contemporises his struggles to adapt to the modern world always make for an interesting element to the story. This is movie serves as a sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger however it is set two years after the events of Avenger’s Assemble. And thankfully if you are a Marvel virgin it is not necessary to have seen either of these to follow the story here.

We meet Captain Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Evans) living peacefully in Washington and working for government agency S.H.I.E.L.D while still trying to adjust to modern life having been frozen for decades. Sent on what seems to be a regular mission with Natasha Romanoff aka The Black Widow (Johansson) to free hostages from a ship he discovers her copying data and resents the fact that information about the mission was withheld from him. Confronting Director Nick Fury (Jackson) about it he learns that he shouldn’t be so trusting. This is reinforced when Nick is targeted by assassins and Steve and Natasha find themselves on the run accused of betraying S.H.I.E.L.D. Realising that there is a corruption within the organisation and that the rot goes right to the top Steve is forced to confront his own past and genesis in order to overthrow it. He and few loyal agents and friends must hatch an elaborate and dangerous scheme to try and thwart a plan that will see 20 million people wiped out. However, they are being pursued by the deadly Winter Soldier (Stan) a ruthless mercenary and brainwashed killing machine whose sole focus is killing his targets. An equal to the Captain in strength and tenacity the pair go head to head with the fate of the world in their hands.

Evans captures Rogers conflict at being a man out of time beautifully as well as the loneliness that comes with being the last surviving member of your peer group. Loyal, polite and trusting he is an excellent contrast to Johansson’s Natasha who is brash, outspoken and whose loyalties shift at a moment’s notice. Anthony Mackie is a great addition to the cast as Sam Wilson/Falcon and there are some lovely scenes between he and Evans as they share their army experiences. Redford is suitably Machiavellian as Alexander Pierce one of the senior leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D. and brings a gravitas to the role that only an actor of his stature could. Meanwhile Jackson as Fury adds his trademark laid back cool to proceedings.

Compared to many other movies of this ilk they are not heavy handed with the CGI and there is a good balance between the big set scenes and the lovely character driven moments. When those set scenes do come however they are spectacular with epic explosions, car chases and building collapses all enhanced by being in 3D. However, if you are not a fan of effects there is plenty of live action here to sate your appetite.

Fans of the comic books will love the nods to the Marvel Universe and we briefly get to see characters here that will no doubt go on to have as prominent a role in the movies as they do in the comics. Stan Lee also makes his now compulsory cameo and as usual it is totally worth waiting for. There are also plenty of in jokes for full on nerds. Fear not though as there is equally plenty of built in humour and references for those who don’t know their Star Trek from their Star Wars.

As with most of these movies it sets itself up nicely for a sequel (which has already been announced for 2016) and there is the obligatory post credits sequence which is worth hanging on for. Despite this though it The Winter Soldier works well as a stand alone movie and manages to have mass appeal being part spy thriller, part espionage movie, part super hero movie and part action adventure while remaining true to it’s comic book roots. It also has a well rounded main character that you care about and a clever storyline that will keep you guessing right up until the final few minutes. Great fun and with more depth than many of these films this is definitely worth just under two and a half hours of your time.

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