Captain America is an old school superhero. Everything from his look to his name is just a bit uncool to those of us not filled to the brim with American patriotism. Therefore, it’s no real surprise that when people look back on the first phase of Marvel movies, Captain America: The First Avenger is the one they have the least love for, meaning that Captain America: The Winter Soldier may not fill audiences with the same excitement as a new Iron Man or Thor movie. However, the First Avenger is an important part of Marvel lore and Winter Soldier is out to establish why.
I’m not going to give the reasons, because it’s a massive spoiler, but this is the movie that will have the biggest repercussions on the Marvel Universe yet. It’s a game changer. It’s also incredibly good. Cap (Chris Evans) is now settling down into 21st century life and catching up on everything he’s missed (which for some reason includes the 1966 World Cup, I’m assuming that was purely for the British market). However, there are a few things he’s not quite comfortable with, mainly SHIELDS latest initiative to launch satellites that can detect who is likely to commit a crime before even they are aware of it. With this initial idea set up the film descends into a 70s espionage style thriller, with Robert Redford’s appearance as a senior leader in SHIELD lighting the way for fans of those movies.
This makes this possibly the most intelligent Marvel movie yet. There’s some real attempt at intrigue and while the big twist is so obvious you almost second guess yourself in the lead up to it, it doesn’t stop it being enjoyable. Yes, there are all the big action set pieces you expect from a superhero flick and some of them are feeling a bit hackneyed by now, but the fact that Captain America is such a different protagonist than his superhero cohorts, more than any other he relies on hand to hand combat, keeps it slightly fresh. Elsewhere Scarlett Johansson continues her recent good form as she reprises her role as Black Widow, surely proving to Marvel that it’s time to get their finger out their arse, accept that a female superhero can be cool too and giving her a movie of her own, while Samuel L. Jackson is suitably barky Nick Fury.
Yes there are some missteps. Anthony Mackie is your stereotypical wingman as The Falcon/Sam Wilson and he never feels like any more than that, while his suit is probably the least cool thing Marvel has designed yet. However they are easy to forgive. This movie is just great fun and when it comes to the stand alone’s superhero flicks it has to be right up there with Iron Man as one of the best. With Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy on their way alongside suggestions that Marvel have their movie schedule planned all the way up to 2028, it’s clear that their quest to take over the world is still going strong and this certainly won’t be the movie to derail it.