More often than not, I find myself only liking the first half of a superhero flick, the part where we get to see the story of how your average Joe became a superhero. After that though, my interest starts waning as the CGI-bloated madness unfolds. So how come I liked Marvel’s latest entry all the way to the end?
Well, partially because this time the red-white-and-blue superhero that is Captain America (played once again by Chris Evans) finds himself in a pickle that’s slightly more complicated than the pickle he found himself in the first time around. I mean, we all know the Nazis were the bad guys. But in a post 9/11 world that comes with drones and governments listening in on your phone calls, we’re all a bit paranoid and it’s not quite as easy to tell which side everyone is on.
But that’s for later, because first we get dropped right in the action with a hostage-rescue mission aboard a cargo ship that immediately drags you into the movie. After that we get a short introduction with the Captain’s backstory for those who have the audacity of going into this movie without having seen the first installment. Meanwhile Evans is trying to catch up on the decades he missed out on. But before he gets to check out the first Rocky movie, more urgent matters come up.
Since the first movie, The Captain has become a somewhat hesitant employee of S.H.I.E.L.D. and he doesn't always see eye to eye with his boss Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). But Fury also has a boss...a slick politician called ??? (played by Robert Redford) who is working on something called Project Insight, a system of global surveillance and pre-emptive strikes. When Fury becomes the target of an assassination attempt (awesome scene by the way!), orchestrated by a mysterious hitman known only as the Winter Soldier, it's up to Captain America and fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) to figure out what's going on. In the attack’s aftermath, they discover that things aren’t exactly kosher over at the agency and as a result, they find themselves on the shitlist and are left to their own devices in order to find the culprit.
Sounds like something out of a 70ies conspiracy thriller? Why yes, it does. But have no fear, this is still a movie based on a comic book so you will still have plenty of fight scenes that always last a little bit too long. But it’s that grittier tone that’s spun all throughout the movie that won me over. Well, that and some pretty good one-liners (that War Games reference!).
Yes, boys and girls, things get grim, suspenseful and moody this time so you’d better keep your friends close and… well, your popcorn even closer. Because as grim and moody as things get, this is still a Marvel movie. And a pretty damn good one!
The blu-ray (which is out now) comes with extras in the form of three featurettes, four deleted scenes and audio commentary by directors Joe and Anthony Russo. There’s also a 3D version of the movie included, which is kinda weird considering the fact that as far as I know the movie didn’t get a 3D theatrical release. But hey, don’t let that stop you!