Filed under: Movie Reviews | Tags: Black Widow, Captain America, Chris Evans, HYDRA, Nick Fury, Robert Redford, S.H.I.E.L.D., Samuel L. Jackson, The Falcon, Winter Soldier
Phase 2 of Marvel’s movie releases sees the return of Captain America (Chris Evans) in what would hopefully become another high point in the series (Spoiler alert!)
After the heights reached by Avengers at the end of Phase 1 it was a fairly underwhelming start to Phase 2 with Iron Man 3 & Thor 2 (at least for me). Iron Man 3 mucked about with the Mandarin and left me (and alot of other fans) feeling cheated in some way and then Thor 2 took the success of the first movie and went all sci-fi on us……I was hoping for more “Game of Thrones” than “Star Trek”, so as the release of Cap 2 came nearer I had my doubts. Could the promising possibilities of the sneak peek images and trailers really live up to the hype or would this be another opportunity missed?
As Chris Evans returns as the man out of time Steve Rogers alongside Marvel regulars Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) we see Cap face his on-going struggle to settle into the world around him…….but he’s trying his best and taking advantage of the perks and we open with a brief introduction to Sam Wilson aka Falcon played by Anthony Mackie as the pair instantly connect during their respective training runs…..safe to say Cap runs rings around him…..literally. We’re then whisked away on the latest S.H.I.E.L.D. mission and Cap’s rightful place in charge of tactics and with a few pitfalls along the way and a run in with Batroc the Leaper……we’re soon into less familiar territory as the comic-booky feel is chipped away by a far superior tale of espionage and double-dealings.
As the cracks start to appear in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s upper command we see Robert Redford appear as Alexander Pierce, top man in charge over at the Triskelion base of S.H.I.E.L.D. as he tries to keep the team in check and the higher powers informed…..although not everything is what it seems. The mysterious “Winter Soldier” makes his appearance felt with a more direct attack on our main heroes than what we’d expect and the story begins to unravel as the twists and turns start to bring the team together……just as S.H.I.E.L.D. itself starts to crumble from the inside.
All this is happening as the next BIG plan for world safety is made apparent in the shape of helicarriers set to begin their patrols and target the true terrorists in this world and even that is taken over as Hydra plays it’s hand and reveals that it’s been present in the world and in the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the days of the war. The ultimate terrorist organization makes its final play in taking over the world from inside the most powerful agencies around and with their Winter Soldier leading the charge.
True to form, the heroes band together following the untimely death of Nick Fury (or is it???) and we soon see Black Widow, Cap, The Falcon, Agent Hill (Cobie Smulders) all playing their part in the downfall of Hydra. It’s a fairly straight-forward story but the execution, the quality performances from the cast and the slick & smart mix of humour & action give us one of the best, if not THE best movie that Marvel has released. Even at that, the impact of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s breakdown has far bigger consequences in the movies to come and in the Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series too and in many ways……that’s the most impressive move Marvel could’ve made. A ballsy, “mess with the universe we’ve built” approach that elevates this to being a great movie let alone a great comic book movie.
For me, everything worked in this outing and the quiet moments of reflection from Steve as he visits Peggy in hospital and she instantly forgets he’s been there is made just as significant to the whole film as any of the set pieces. A man out of time come along at the right time is how I would sum this one up…..and with the typical mid & end scenes in the credits……there’s the added bonus of gaining a hint at what’s to come……but with the events of this movie……I’m less inclined to say I know what’s coming next which makes the next in the series, the next phase and the next few years of movies from Marvel take on a more important place in the movie-going calendar.
Fun, dramatic, smart and surprising is how this movie plays out and having been excited by the trailer……I was BLOWN AWAY by the movie. I just need to figure out when I’m going to see it again.
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