After the events of Avengers Assemble, Captain America (Chris Evans) has returned to the big screen with a new threat to fight. But this time, it appears to be much closer to home than alien invaders: the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D) appears to be under threat from an organization from Captain America’s past.
After Head of S.H.I.E.L.D Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is violently attacked, and Captain America (AKA Steve Rogers) is brought in as the last person Nick saw. As a result the hero becomes a wanted fugitive for holding valuable information on the attack on Fury’s life, thereby asking the question: who can you trust when you are dealing with a secret organization?
The Winter Soldier does not simply follow the patriotic superhero, but also centres around Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and newly introduced superhero Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Similar to most Marvel films, the movie focuses heavily on how the characters associate with one another. This is seen through how Captain America must learn to trust Black Widow, who has her own questionable morality and ‘secret agent’ status to follow in order to discover who is behind the infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D.
So, where does the Winter Soldier come into play in this story? The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is an elusive Soviet Agent with a metal arm, who is thought by most to be a ghost story due to his ability to remain off the radar and keep his identity hidden altogether. However, this threat is very much alive and extremely dangerous, having already crossed paths with Black Widow and outmatching her once before. With his super strength, skilled fighting skills and expertise with any weapon, the Winter Soldier is just as powerful as Steve Rogers and has been ordered to kill both him and his allies.
It must be acknowledged that although parts contained oversimplified explanations in order to keep the most idle audience following the plot. Hayley Atwell’s portrayal of Captain America’s elderly love interest Agent Carter was excellent; without explicitly stating so, it was evident that she suffered from some form of short term memory loss, which was both moving and treated with respect.
Moreover, the film balances action, emotion and humour fairly well without ruining the overall espionage theme that is similar to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In this sense, Captain America: The Winter Soldier differs from the other Marvel films that have recently been released, as it attempts to take more of a realistic approach to the story.
Although this film may not fit into Marvel’s original paradigm, this movie is worth seeing if you are interested in unfolding ‘Phase 2’ of Marvel’s cinematic universe, since much happens that will be of importance in the future. Additionally, this film allows those unfamiliar with/uninterested in the superhero genre to find something of interest through its spy-thriller register.