Marvel gets political
Whether you’re a comic fan or not, you have to admit that Marvel Studios knows how to make superhero movies. Its latest offering Captain America: The Winter Soldier is proof of that once again.
When last seen in his own film Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Captain America, also known as US Army officer Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), had just dispatched the evil Nazi offshoot Hydra, only to then be frozen in ice. With his splendid physique still looking exactly the same 70 years later, Rogers has some cultural adjustments to make.
In the new sequel, Roger struggles to embrace his role in the modern world. But soon he finds himself in a battle against a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.
The simple premise is more than enough to keep the film brimming with high-speed chases, fistfights, surprising attacks and miraculous rescues. But the film also breaks new creative ground for Marvel Studios.
For starters, after looking rather like the odd man out in The Avengers (2012) with his shabby old costume and less-than-super powers compared to his cohorts, Rogers gets a new outfit, looking quite modern and likeable.
Its directors Anthony and Joe Russo have identified Captain America: The Winter Soldier as being “a superhero movie by way of political thriller”. And indeed, that’s the real innovation here.
This is more than just another superhero sequel. It’s a spy movie, a top-notch action-adventure, and an anti-hero superhero film that touches on important social and political questions of our time. It’s a film you can enjoy even if you haven’t seen any other superhero movies before, or don’t like superhero movies in general.
For all the serious themes though, there’s a tongue-in-cheek quality that adds just the right amount of humor. Most of the light-hearted moments come from Rogers and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who show great onscreen chemistry with a fun flirtatiousness.
The film’s occasional failures at delivering the emotions are totally outshined by its great new ideas. As a result, it’s a bar-raising movie that leaves you excited for more.