Monday, 5 December 2016

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

"This isn't freedom.This is fear."


This was an extraordinary film when I first saw it at the cinema on my honeymoon and, even with the main twist spoiled, it's an extraordinary film today. The Russo brothers have done a superb job with what is effectively the spy genre of the Marvel superhero films, but Chris Evans is extraordinary too as a World War II Roosevelt New Dealer out of time, struggling to adapt to a time where nobody cares about civil liberties and the military-industrial complex has grown to monstrous proportions.

We begin as Cap bonds with Sam Wilson, another military veteran with similarly invisible scars, and we get a glimpse of Cap's notepad filled with things he needs to catch up on such phenomena as Star Wars, Nirvana (yay!) and the Berlin Wall, "up and down". It isn't long until his first exciting mission, a hostage crisis perpetrated by Cap's old for from the comics, - moustache-free George Batroc. But cracks begin to show between our SHIELD comrades as Cap and Black Widow are given markedly different mission objectives. Cap's complaint to Nick Fury leads to his being shown Operation Insight-a massive and, in Cap's view, disproportionate armoury. How can this be synonymous with freedom?

It can't, or so it seems, as there is a cancer within SHIELD, one that disdains Cap as much as it disdains liberty: HYDRA. And the revelation of this, and that Cap is suddenly hunted prey, is the most shocking and exciting part of the film.

There's so much more, though; Cap's heartbreaking meeting with the elderly Peggy, the nice bit of exposition in the bunker as Arnim Zola spends his last moments as an uploaded AI life form expositing on how HYDRA's takeover of SHIELD came to be, Natasha's general awesomeness, capped by a kick-ass session at a Senate hearing, the whole sequence with Nick Fury under pursuit in the car that leads him to fake his death. But the film is ultimately about the Winter Soldier; Bucky, Cap's oldest friend. Behind the explosions and the awesomeness the film always has a heart.

There's a lot of Marvel life here- HYDRA's targets include "Bruce Banner, Stephen Strange"- but the film is about two things: civil liberties vs. security and friendship. Hence Cap's new yet strong friendship with the Falcon. Hence Bucky being unable, when the moment comes, to kill Cap. It's an incredible film, but it ends with Bucky still at large...


  1. Excellent movie, a sequel that is better than the original no doubt.

  2. The next one is even better, but I'm getting ahead of myself!