A Whisper Among Friends: The Winter Soldier

When the opportunity arose for me to go and watch the latest Marvel offering Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I leapt at the chance. Although each film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is technically a stand-alone piece, each fits together to provide a greater overview of the world as it exists in that alternative universe. Marvel Studios seems to now uncover pieces of a puzzle to us one at a time, letting audiences dive into the action and lore of the current generation. Some pieces have several adjacent pieces already exposed in prior releases, while on other sides we have only film titles, future release dates, and a handful of factoids. Regardless, the amount of cohesion that is the MCU puzzle is impressive and has never before been done.

Picking up after the events of the first Captain America as well as The Avengers, the newest entry into the Marvel series places Captain Steve Rogers in a new world, specifically a new world order. The inside jokes and technological marvels of the second modern millennium are not as confounding to the Captain as they were in The Avengers but he still lives as a man out of time. He is conflicted, but at an ideological level. He pulls upon the threads of a lost life by finding loves and compatriots of old, but he is torn between the ideologies of the time. Forcing good and evil into black and white just doesn’t seem as easy as it was back in the day, and the idea of secrecy and espionage being the mainstay is a constant struggle which tears at Captain America – and is essentially the driving force behind the film.

Captain America is in a brave new world and he knows nothing else than being a soldier. He is at service to his country, and is trying to find his footing in a different type of war.

Oh Wanderers, Wanderers, the amount of love I have for this film is almost unbounded. Not only does the plot flow almost seamlessly, but the casting…oh the casting! Returning to previous roles, Chris Evans (the eponymous hero, Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L Jackson (Director Fury) and Cobie Smulders (Agent Hill) provide excellent mainstays, and additions to the cast, including Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Anthony Mackie (Falcon) and Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce) only serve to expand and improve on the quality of the film.

The third layer to this film has to be the cinematography. The cinematography and art style is at its best in this film. Not only does Marvel Studios manage to keep an atmospheric cohesion between two films set seventy years apart, they also manage to tie the two plot lines to one of Captain America’s greatest villains as well as the massive juggernaut of The Avengers. This is an incredible film-making feat and a tricky endeavour on multiple fronts. Continuity is difficult, especially when dealing with comics and an expanded film universe that now encompasses nine films and counting, but like aforementioned Captain America: Winter Soldier simply slots in as a new puzzle piece being revealed to audiences.

The film was impressive to say the least. The plot line was impressive for its continuity and level of construction; the castings and overall acting were wonderful and more than a couple of decades ago would have been unheard of for a comic book film; the atmosphere, art direction, and cinematography managed to tie in numerous elements of prior films while remaining cohesive is the film’s high point among many highs.

I would give this film 4.5/5 when viewed in 3D as some shots are less than impressive, and the hidden extra scenes are somewhat lack-lustre, although worth waiting for.

Hannah Carter (is off to swoon over Evans’ muscles a bit more…)

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