RELEASED: 26th March 2014
DIRECTORS: Anthony and Joe Russo
CAST: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Emily VanCamp, Toby Jones, Maximiliano Hernández, Garry Shandling, Callan Mulvey, Georges St-Pierre, Alan Dale, Chin Han, Jenny Agutter, Bernard White, Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $714.4m
AWARDS: None (1 Academy Award nomination)
Set two years after the Battle of New York in Avengers, we find Steve Rogers working for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D under Director Nick Fury in Washington, D.C. As Rogers also tries to adjust to modern society, an attack on a S.H.I.E.L.D colleague throws him into a web of intrigue that places the world at risk. Joining forces with Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, and Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, Rogers struggles to expose an ever-widening conspiracy, but he and the team soon come up against an unexpected enemy.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out at the end of March 2014 and was directed by the Russo Brothers, Anthony and Joe, coming back into directing a feature after working the last few years on television shows such as Happy Ending and Community (side note: their last directorial feature…2006 comedy film You, Me & Dupree). While Captain America: The First Avenger is a film that’s well like fine wine for me in relation to comic book origin films, The Winter Soldier not only proved to be a superior sequel, it also remains for me the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date. Considering that they were handed a huge tentpole project coming from the budget they would’ve worked on in the television landscape, The Winter Soldier feels confidently directed by the Russo Brothers, as well as how it fines balance in crossing the superhero genre with spy espionage. From the S.H.I.E.L.D vessel mission with Rogers, Romanoff and the S.T.R.I.K.E team having to free the hostages, to Nick Fury being ambushed, to The Winter Soldier attack on Rogers, Romanoff and Wilson on the freeway, the action sequences are well directed and (for the most part) well edited by Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt. The cinematography by Trent Opaloch is also solid as well, particularly in how they frame the shots at Triskelion (S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters). The score as well from Henry Jackman is terrific (Take A Stand and The Winter Soldier tracks being absolute highlights). While the reveals are well documented, from the identity of The Winter Soldier, as well as whose behind the assassin as well as the attacks on S.H.I.E.L.D, the film does well to take time and make it a slow-burn reveal, with the revelations still being effect several years later. I also enjoyed how the theme overall was that our heroes are having their own identity crisis. I’ve grown to really appreciate Chris Evans’s performance as Steve Rogers throughout his character journey, and here in this film is where his moral compass is tested as the man out of time thrown into a world that’s no longer as clear cut as he once knew, trying to figure out whether his purpose is to serve as a soldier or to become something else…something more. Natasha Romanoff is still trying to wipe that red off her ledger, but she’s also trying figuring out exactly fits in the grand scheme of things, and the interaction/chemistry between Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson works really well here. Nick Fury is made to look more vulnerable than he’s ever appeared and Sam Wilson is trying to figure out what to do with his life after a mission after a pararescuemen mission went south. The ensemble give really good performances here. Scarlett Johnasson adds depth to Natasha Romanoff here going forward in the MCU, Samuel L. Jackson is good as Nick Fury, Anthony Mackie gives a solid outing as Sam Wilson aka the Falcon, Frank Grillo gives a memorable impression as Brock Rumlow, Robert Redford is as reliable as always, bringing gravitas to the film as Alexander Pierce and I also enjoyed Sebastian Stan’s as the Winter Soldier, with the limited screen time he has, everytime he appears there’s an instant menace and dread as what’s going to unfold before us.
FAVOURITE SCENE: The highway sequence involving the Winter Soldier and his group versus Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson. From the destruction of the car, to Steve going off the highway through a bus, to the one-on-one between Steve and Winter Solider, it’s arguably the best sequence in the film.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “41st floor! 41st!
It’s not like they put the floor numbers on the outside of the building.” – Sam Wilson and Nick Fury
DID YOU KNOW: Anthony Mackie’s appearance in this film fulfills his dream of playing a Marvel comic book character. He wrote a series of e-mail pleas to Marvel, wanting to play any comic character that would appear on film. Though the studio repeatedly replied to him that they will respond in due time, Mackie’s emails caught the attention of producer Kevin Feige, who subsequently offered him the role of Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon.