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Film Review Captain America – The Winter Soldier



Director:  Anthony Russo, Joe Russo and Joss Whedon
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen Mc Freely and Ed Brubank
Cast: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie

The latest offering from “The Avengers” franchise sees their out of time leader take on the fascist “Hydra” organisation in effort to stop their world domination bid.  In taking on this global underground organisation, he quickly realises that he cannot trust anyone, even his employers, the clandestine international security agency “S.H.I.E.L.D”.  What follows is a conspiracy/espionage themed superhero film that is not too dissimilar from Marvel stable mate X-Men: First Class.  The witty banter, big fight scenes and beautiful visuals are all still here, as they are in all “The Avengers” films, where this film differs slightly is in its willingness to tone down the action for a stronger narrative.   This film is no Dark Knight Trilogy in what it sets out to achieve in terms of depth, pathos and vibe but it is a more serious attempt of a stong plot than a lot of other Marvel outings.

Captain America for me, as someone who has not read the comic books (and therefore, should be considered a valued and productive member of society – winky face for those not in the possession of a sense of humour) always came across as the worst of naked nationalism.  You know the type, the Rocky esque character, or the flag waving wrestler, there’s nothing wrong with loving where you’re from but when it is in excess it can be irritating or even dangerous.  The Captain America in this film is not so shallow.  The character, ironically, more so than most other superheroes,  questions who he works for and is there a moral surety of his collaboration with  “S.H.E.I.L.D”.  The point is made, that the increasingly vigilant security organisation is beginning to breach into the privacy rights of the individuals they are sworn to protect.   This idiom is nothing new in American culture, their distrust of big government is as well known globally as the Benjamin Franklin saying “they that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.  That said, this point is more salient in post Patriot Act America, and to have a character has iconic and nationalistic as Captain America criticise state policy should not go unnoticed.

The film is not going to open your mind to new possibilities and ultimately,  it is a bit of Saturday night fun, but it is reassuring to see this cultural idea becoming more mainstream.  The film is fun by the way, the fight scenes never become “Matrix style” tedious, i.e. it looks like they are actually hurting each other, the bad guy (without saying who) is top notch, with the ability to seem as reasonable as the heroes, something seldom pulled off in these types of films and story is well paced with little boredom. There are no Oscar winning performances here but there doesn’t need to be with each character playing their part without ego. While it’s true the intrigue is fairly basic and obvious to the seniors in the audience, it’s a nice way to open these types of movies to younger eyes.

Not a masterpiece but a lot of fun.


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