Sunday, 15 February 2015

Noteworthy Films of 2014: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

While Captain America: The First Avenger was a rather mediocre affair, it’s sequel highlighted a very different approach to the character, the genre and Marvel Studio’s overall direction. Look back throughout the history of “superhero” cinema and it’s clear that the origin story and the standard “arrival of a new threat” approach has been done to death. However Winter Soldier evoked memories of 1970’s espionage thrillers such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Conversation, maintaining a strong balance between action and an engaging plot. Suspicion, conspiracy and ulterior motives provided a narrative that felt refreshing and relevant both to the character and the nature of S.H.I.E.L.D. The rise of Hydra and fall of S.H.I.E.L.D has indefinitely left a creative platform for Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War to build on, which should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Captain America is quickly becoming my favourite superhero character alongside Black Widow, and this has been helped by Chris Evans. He lives for the role, and it’s clear that he has melded perfectly with the character, providing a touch of charm and genuine charisma to the role. Meanwhile Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Anthony Mackie’s surprisingly enjoyable Falcon offered a strong supporting cast, so too did Robert Redford as the film’s main antagonist. Marvel Studio’s first menacing villain makes his appearance, the Winter Soldier, and even though he’s only a small part of the bigger picture, he still proved an impressive and formidable adversary with some impressive set-pieces and brawls. 

Winter Soldier is my favourite film from the Marvel, blending intense action with an engrossing plot that feels relevant to the character and the franchise. Though the burdensome prospect of a yearly barrage of superheroes over the next 5 years is worrying, I still have hope for Captain America’s own cinematic progression.

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