Thursday, April 17, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a Winner for Marvel

CHECKMATE. Marvel makes its most impressive move, taking out its competitor DC with this month’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, a film that’s sharper than the edges of the titular character’s shield.
by ShervaanBaros

In the aftermath of “The Avengers”, Steve Rogers struggles to find himself in an ever-changing world, but when a familiar threat re-emerges from the shadows, Steve is cornered at every turn, and must enlist the help of the only two people he can trust, Black Widow and The Falcon, to unravel this great conspiracy and confront the deadly assassin, known as The Winter Soldier.

This film is by far the most well-made Marvel Studios picture. It’s both a culmination and evolution of what Marvel has built over the last six years since their first release, Iron Man. The concurrent humour, which has been a staple in Marvel Studios’ releases since then, has been significantly toned down in favour of an eclectic, heart-thumping thrill-ride that has more in common with films like Die Hard and Terminator 2: Judgment Day than your run-of-the-mill superhero fare. Superhero films of late have mostly been made at the mercy of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but this feels more organically gritty than the numerous clones we’ve seen since the former’s release. The Russo Brothers are so at home directing this picture that I can only imagine those ecstatic Marvel execs throwing money at them to return for the sequel.

Oh, how I’ve grown to love the beat of drums in a film’s music. It’s done with precise timing during the film’s important fight scenes and highlights every twist and turn of every battle the Captain endures throughout the film’s running time. Henry Jackman proves he really is Hans Zimmer’s apprentice by creating a score that would do his mentor proud. It’s a thrilling, sometimes patriotic accompaniment to the Star-Spangled Hero’s return to the silver screen.

Chris Evans is Captain America. ‘Nuff said. Having proven himself as the capable-lead of this franchise in the first film, he above and beyond carries the weight of the film’s emotional content, only to be matched by Winter Soldier actor Sebastian Stan, who plays a ruthless and mysterious character that’s effectively portrayed and quite convincingly powerful. Stan and Evans play off each other well, both as friends and enemies, although the time they share on-screen is painfully limited. Samuel L. Jackson’s role in this sequel is much more substantial than his usual cameo-only appearances, and helps add more depth and ambiguity to the Nick Fury character that solidifies him as a franchise-favourite. I’ve never really been much of a Black Widow-shipper, but her upgrade to supporting character in this film, coupled with Scarlett Johansson having an excellent, constrained chemistry with good ol’ Cap, elevated the film in areas that would otherwise border on cliché. Anthony Mack’s scenes have some of the coolest cinematography in this film, and his character is such a worthy side-kick to the Cap, that it’s almost unbearable that he gets shafted a little when it comes to screen-time. Mackie deserves to be in the film a lot more.

Higher than the The Falcon can soar into the sky.

This movie will dominate the always-crowded American summer-movie season. It captains the genre, and takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe in unexpected directions. Overall, a winner.

RATING: 10/10