Captain America: The First Avenger was one of the lesser well-received Marvel films. I seemed to be one of the few kids on my block who liked it. Three years later, and with an Avengers movie in the intervening years, comes Cap’s second film, The Winter Soldier.
Captain America is an old world hero transplanted into a modern age and this made for some fun exchanges in the context of The Avengers but can this be sustained in a film all his own? The result, The Winter Soldier is mixed bag of successes and well, not quite failures, but certainly non-successes.
The film features a well-written, intricate story with broad elements of Minority Report and Robocop and it’s nice to see how these components weave together through the course of the film. It’s unevenly paced, however, running at two speeds. There’s the balls-to-the-wall thrilling action sequences and then there’s our hero’s relatively quiet interludes of introspection as he wrangles with his fractured past. This duality existed of a kind in the first film, of course, but they seemed to co-exist harmoniously in that film. Here the two elements tend to collide. Perhaps it’s because we have a classic era personal story running alongside a modern era actioner. In the previous film, the personal story was matched with classic era ‘action adventure’.
Scarlett Johansson is as good as ever as Agent Romanoff but something has happened to her accent in this. It’s less refined, more nasal, more ‘Jewish mother-in-law’. It’s quite irritating actually. That aside, her other assets are in fine form.
It’s nice to see veteran actress, Jenny Agutter, in a more substantial role this time around (you can actually see it’s her!) and it’s always a pleasure to see prior Neighbours star (will he ever jettison that label?), Alan Dale, who is strangely uncredited.
Chris Evans is a solid hero, Samuel Jackson is Samuel Jackson (no bad thing) and Robert Redford is a pleasing inclusion as well.