<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L Jackson, Robert Redford, Frank Grillo, Cobie Smulders, Toby Jones
Marvel fans will find something or the other to proclaim the second Captain America film a roaring success. But if you’re a regular viewer you’re going to be napping for the first hour or so of this film.
After a relatively good first film for Cap, comes this one. It’s not even a filler before the next Avengers movie (Age of Ultron). In fact, Thor: The Dark World was far more entertaining in comparison – mainly because of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – than The Winter Soldier.
One of my fellow reviewers commented on Chris Evans: “He’s too pasty faced,” she said and that’s probably true. His generic good looks and lack of a personality don’t do much to add to the character of Steve Rogers, the super soldier from the 40s, brought out of cryo-freeze by S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division). And as yet another viewer commented: “Captain America is the least of the heroes.” Meaning that there’s nothing really super special about him.
Even the film itself admits to this fact when Director of S.H.I.E.L.D Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) asks Secretary Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) for a favour. Pierce retorts that as a return favour he wants Fury to get Iron Man for his granddaughter’s (or some such family tiny tot) birthday party; not Captain America, not Thor, of course not The Hulk, but Iron Man. This in a Captain America movie!
Fury sends Cap and Natasha Romanov/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) on a secret mission to save captives aboard a ship. In the process, Natasha has to retrieve some secret information for Fury, but Cap isn’t happy he wasn’t told about this. Intrigue abounds, as Secretary Pierce seems to be playing a strange game: you can pretty much tell from the get go that he’s the movie’s primary villain. Good in a way considering the titular Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is as bland and general as they come.
Fury tells Cap to ‘trust no one’ (sounds like the X-Files) and so he and Natasha are on the run from – this is where it gets a bit ridiculous – Hydra agents who are working at S.H.I.E.L.D. They get help from Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) who puts on a pair of top secret wings to transform into the Falcon since none of the other Avengers (the main ones) thought it was even worthwhile making a cameo appearance (NO, not even in the end credits!) in a film about their leader.
The action sequences do cut the dialogue-heavy scenes but they’re pretty mundane. What’s the point of shooting at a guy with a big impenetrable shield? You know nothing’s gonna happen. They don’t even try to shoot him from behind, or in his legs. The man with the iron arm (not Iron Man), the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), is boring as hell. And the filmmakers thought by putting in some music akin to The Dark Knight Rises they’d make him seem more menacing. Nope.
The last half hour of Captain America looks startlingly like one of the other Avengers films where the flying aircraft carrier is tackled to destruction. In this film there are three death machines to tackle, all done fairly easily.
What was funny about the film was the interesting ways in which Natasha Romanov tries to kickstart Captain America’s romantic button by dropping names of various girls whom he might be interested in. He coolly brushes them all aside. Instead, he takes a keen interest in saving the life of his ‘dead’ buddy Bucky Barnes who turns out to be someone he has to go up against. In what can only be seen as a distinctly bro-mantic scene, one of them saves the other and carries them to safety. The girls in the audience didn’t fail to notice this ‘male bonding’ either.
Whatever Captain America’s sexual preferences might be – and we’re hoping they do go with the gay angle, at least he’ll be more interesting – his lack of a definite purpose and fun seem to be stumbling blocks. I don’t know whether the actor is at fault or just the character. Thor has an oafish wit and charm about him, Tony Stark’s Iron Man is intelligent with rapier punch lines, and even the Hulk was perfect in the first Avengers film. So what can be done to make Cap more interesting?
PS: I have to say the 3D was useless and why we watched it in IMAX puzzles me! The bonus scene after the main end credits is mildly interesting (sans any cameo from any of the primary Avengers) but the extra bonus after the rolling credits is just a waste of time.