Thursday 10 April 2014

Review: Captain America - The Winter Soldier (second-pass)

World of Blackout Film Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D) Poster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D) (second-pass / vague spoilers)
Cert: 12A / 136 mins / Dir. Joe Russo / Anthony Russo
WoB Rating: 6/7

So, a second-viewing of Marvel's latest offering didn't bring many new revelations (first review here), but it did confirm my initial feelings that The Winter Soldier is not a super-hero film; it's an action-thriller. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but audiences may well be expecting the former (and rightly so, given the characters' previous outings). Short of Steve Rogers' superhuman speed being showcased in the opening scene, and his surviving of jumps/falls of varying heights throughout, we don't really see him to be any more or less bulletproof than any other action hero in the genre.

The real problem (although not for me, admittedly), is while other films of this ilk work on twisting and turning the expectations and assumptions of the audience, The Winter Soldier is comparatively linear. There's never really any doubt as to who's going to turn out to be a bad guy, which undermines the conspiracy aspect no end, and it stands to reason that nothing too terrible is going to happen to the central group of heroes. On a lesser note, the film also completely underuses the fact that there are two people alive in the modern world from Cap's past, but if anything this isolates him even more because neither of them can remember him properly. Whether this will be explored in 2016's Captain America 3 remains to be seen.

But... despite the film's weaknesses I still thoroughly enjoyed it, mainly because I'm onboard with the characters by this point, and also because I think it leaves a deeper imprint on the Avengers movie-timeline than Thor: The Dark World. By the end of The Winter Soldier, the bond between three members of the Avengers has strengthened, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. setup has changed irrevocably. I'm intrigued to see where this will lead in Age of Ultron (if only because I suspect that this Summer's Guardians of the Galaxy won't be spending much time in an office block in Washington).

I wholly recommend The Winter Soldier, but with the reservation that I know it won't be for everyone*1. If you enjoy largely bloodless shootouts and henchmen getting spanged with a vibranium shield, you won't go too far wrong.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Mostly, yeah.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
For me, yes.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Cinema, good; 3D, unnecessary.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
A little.

Will I watch it again?
Yes, but maybe not at the cinema.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
I'm 95% certain it's the basis for the sound-effect used over The Winter Soldier's "livid stare".

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Regarding the post-credits scene introducing The Twins, this article on TheDailyBeast identifies them as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, two established members of The Avengers. What's interesting is that in the Marvel comics universe, their father is believed to be Magneto (or possibly Wolverine). Either way, this creates a tie to the X-Men franchise which is currently licensed to 20th Century Fox. Now, while there's nothing to stop the Avengers timeline using the name Magneto, either directly or indirectly, the properties have been careful to avoid stepping on each other's toes up to this point (although Fox aren't licensed to use anything not directly associated with X-Men). So this potentially creates a link which can't be satisfactorily explored, should the need arise.

Furthermore, Quicksilver is due to appear in next month's X-Men: Days Of Future Past, presumably in a capacity independent of The Avengers. While Fox's approach to the mutants so far certainly seems to have been 'throw as many on-screen as possible and don't bother with any backstory', there's the potential for this to get messy should Marvel ever want to buy the mutants back from Fox and integrate them into the Avengers timeline (which is what I'd love to happen).

*1 Mrs Blackout wasn't a fan, and she's been fine with all of the Avengers-timeline movies so far. That said, she didn't like the look of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, either.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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