The first avenger returns in his second solo film; which sees the red, white and blue covered crusader take on much more than the Nazi Regime.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has never really had a moment to think after he was unfrozen and then straight away thrust into battling for the fate of the Earth in The Avengers. So now Captain America is trying to adjust to the lifestyle of 21st century society. Once again working for Nick Fury and Alexander Pierce (portrayed by the talented Robert Redford),and teaming up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); the pair continue to complete missions for S.H.I.E.L.D in the hope that they can bring freedom to the planet. However, now that S.H.I.E.L.D have the technology to determine crime before it happens, Captain America begins to question the very organisation he works for. His trust in his superiors are the least of his problems though, as an undercover plan emerges that is much greater than anything he could have imagined. On top of that the introduction of a super-human assassin known only as The Winter Soldier, proves to be quite the competition for ‘Cap’; and makes his task of completing his mission even tougher.
What has been continuously noticeable about Marvel heroes who receive their own film, is that in their first movie their story will be introduced to the audience. But in their second outing the viewers get to see a more in-depth look at the characters themselves. As with Thor’s second film ‘Thor: The Dark World’, where we got a better picture of his history and actually how close he was to his brother Loki. In the Captain’s sequel the audience once again receives this treatment in the form of an old friend from his past making a return; without giving too much away this revival forces a few tear-jerking moments.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is on a completely different level than any other Marvel film that has come before it, simply because it has a much more mature and grown-up underlining plot behind it. By adding a villainous character such as The Winter Soldier – a killer who has helped shape all chaos of the past century – it makes the film touch on terrorist themes; hence making it more realistic and close to home. Unlike in previous films such as Captain America (2011) with the magic of the Tesseract, Avengers Assemble (2012) with the alien Chitauri army and Thor (2011) which basically had an all round space theme, this movie is made more realistic by using everyday threats that we face in the real world. Sure the technology is a little far-fetched at times, but it is much more real-life than what we have seen in previous Marvel films; and that is what makes it stand out from the rest.
As the phases of the Avengers films carry on, we are, with every film, introduced to more and more of the caped crusaders; and this film gave us one of my favourites, ‘Falcon’ (Anthony Mackie). It is great that the directors – Anthony and Joe Russo – decided to include Falcon (also known as Sam Wilson) into this instalment as him and the Captain constantly team up in the comic books. One of the great aspects of these new Marvel films is how the writers are adapting the heroes for a more up-to-date audience; and Falcon is an example of that. Instead of him wearing his classic brown-winged spandex and him having telepathic bird powers, he has been toned down to having robotic metal wings which attach like a jet-pack, that he used when he was fighting in Iraq. In the next pictures of the phases we can hope to see – apart from Ant-Man who is getting his own film – Black Panther (the African-fighting vigilante), Doctor Strange (the Earth’s most powerful sorcerer) and The Vision (an android who is created by the robotic menace Ultron.
Other than the introduced characters and gripping storyline, what makes this one stand out as well, is that the effects and picture quality are just amazing. All Marvel films have had an incredible picture to accompany a great plot – apart from maybe The Incredible Hulk – however The Russo Brothers explained that they wanted to use more practical effects, rather than just load the whole film up with masses of CGI; and it is obvious when watching what an improvement it makes.
As with the conclusion of Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, it is hard to assume where Marvel are going to go next with future Avengers themed films, after viewing this ninth installment to the franchise. As something occurs in the movie that drastically alters what Avengers: Age of Ultron will contain. But the stories have been in good hands so far, and with Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige once again helming the Avengers director and producer chairs, it will surely play out well.
All in all Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a definite step forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; with its mature themes and practical effects. Let’s just hope that they continue on this path, and carry on bringing films to the screen that are enjoyed by both comic book fanatics and film lovers alike.