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Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Film Review

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Published April 14th 2014
Warning: this review contains minor plot spoilers
Marvel's cinematic universe is expanding at an exponential rate with an intelligent (?) design that promises epic storylines for the next decade and a half. While we wait for the next Avengers flick the powers that be appease the masses with character-focused adventures such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Captain America

While the 2011 debut, The First Avenger, had its moments Winter Soldier is consistently entertaining, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)—all American-super-powered hero—is a man who has adjusted to contemporary life. He runs laps, he bashes bad guys and after all of this time he begins to question his loyalty. It's like Marvel are putting Captain America through puberty again.

Captain America

The opening action sequence sees Captain America infiltrate a vessel hijacked by pirates. Here we witness the brutal strength of a conditioned man and his trusty shield. Nothing can stop Captain America as he charges across the ship's deck; he knocks scumbags overboard, throws punches and boots the baddies so hard they spin mid-air and slam against steel bulkheads in full kinetic glory. To complete the image Steve Rogers should sing a warcry, like Xena, when he retrieves his hunk of vibranium. Speaking of hunks, that outfit ... damn.

Black Widow

On the subject of damn there's fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). What is her super ability? Maintaining straightened hair and makeup while on the run or doing spy stuff? Her role in the greater narrative is important however her damsel-in-distress moment weakens her position as a strong female character to equal the manly-man Steve Rogers. Then again she knows how to use those pistols (and I'm not referring to her legs).


New kid on the block is pararescue dude Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) also known as Falcon. This guy plays with an experimental jetpack-wing-thing that really only serves as a neat way for Captain America to get an aerial piggy-back ride. The character is otherwise a convenient tool to bypass plot obstacles.

Black Widow represents the seemingly lazy attention to detail throughout the movie. Everybody is so clean. Maybe this is my DC bias showing where everything has to be murky and damaged to be plausible and cool. Let your imagination run wild and don't overthink things otherwise you will have a bad time.

Nick Fury

The game changer in this action film is the whole enemy-within scenario where Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) loses control over S.H.I.E.L.D. and the new management abuse the paramilitary organisation for evil. And so we and the protagonist contemplate the concept of 'freedom' and the importance of upholding your own ideology and will for the greater good … or greater bad.

The corny popular culture references that would normally jar Steve Rogers are subverted because this young man has been watching lots of television. Look out for his notepad that lists 'Skippy the Kangaroo' as mandatory viewing.

Winter Soldier

If you like exploding cars then you are in for a treat, son. When the Winter Soldier shows up he lights up the place and brings the noise. Sexy mask, eyeliner, long hair and metallic arm—such a cool villain. Even if you missed the last Captain America movie it is blatantly obvious who the Winter Soldier is, which kills the joy that would normally come with a plot twist (what a twist). And if you know who the Winter Soldier is then you can guess how the final act plays out.


The nasty S.H.I.E.L.D. must have been inspired by modern warfare drones and Star Wars. Our heroes take on three satellite-assisted flying machines of death [stars]. We learn that this technology is so powerful and precise … that Falcon meanders through the clouds and performs an elaborate dance that should have ended the moment those weapon arrays locked on. This is why you should not overthink things when you see a shiny action movie. Just enjoy it.

Did I enjoy the movie? Yes. Does it tease the future of the franchise to ensure the seats are filled for the next one? Yes.

Should we excuse logic for the sake of explosions? No; the list of stuff-that-doesn't-sit-quite-right is something that I always remember when I reflect on a film. To contradict myself: the insane contrivances make for excellent conversation post-viewing.

Do you think Winter Soldier is better than Thor: The Dark World?
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Why? Enjoy some harmless freedon rhetoric
When: Now showing
Where: In cinemas
Your Comment
im not a fan of pretty boy captain america, i like my super heroes to have an unearthly quality about them, but i went to the drive in and saw this, and actually enjoyed it.
i wasnt expecting much and although not as action packed as other super hero movies, - typically captain america, it did have some good action moments.
if you go not expecting too much, you wont be dissappointed.
by dargo (score: 1|82) 1647 days ago
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