Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America Winter Soldier

It’s come to a point where films featuring Marvel superheroes are being dependably released every 6 months or so with nearly consistent quality. Captain America: The Winder Soldier not only continues the trend, it makes calculated moves that cement the reputation of the title character as the leader of a team of super-beings, while exploring an epochal saga from the graphic novels themselves.

This may be the third film to feature Steve Rogers in what is now referred to as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the first where we really get to feel his sense of displacement. Having woken up following a 7 decade arctic sleep after the end of WW2 he likes to take notes the old fashioned way (on a notepad) and meets up with people from his past (those alive anyway). Rogers also works full time for SHIELD, as a soldier sent on global missions, but this status quo is soon disrupted by a crafty, elaborate attack on Nick Fury that puts their entire defensive operation in disarray. If this weren’t enough, Cap has to deal with a phantom, masked assassin who turns out to be a figure from his past.

If you’ve followed the casting news (or read the 2005 comic books, expertly written by Ed Brubaker) then you already know the identity of this ‘Winter Soldier’ (stop reading further if you haven’t and don’t want this spoiled!). Of course, he turns out to be Bucky Barnes, brought back to life by old nemesis Hydra, and therein lies the real predicament for Rogers. How does he fight back someone he was so close to but who doesn’t remember him anymore? The films script, dense as it is with many, many characters, somehow decides to not properly explore the origin of this character but leaves him an enigma potentially, (as one of the end credits show) for use in future sequels. But that complaint aside, the film is a great showcase for its titular hero who finally emerges from the shadow of his Avengers teammates to come into his own and marvel us with his abilities, whether it’s giving orders or throwing his fighting shield at perfect angles to hit enemy targets.

The Russo Brothers (who made the comically farcical, underseen Welcome to Collinwood) keep the proceedings exciting and fresh by constantly putting characters in situations where it seems impossible for them to come out of, while their no holds barred approach to the action (thankfully not all of it CGI) turns the familiar into rousing. By now, the team behind these Marvel offerings are in their groove. The pattern of most of their films is familiar – old character returns, new villain introduced, world in danger – but the energetic filmmaking and the passionate storytelling makes you happily lap it all up.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and wearethemovies.com