Monday, 31 March 2014

Some Thoughts on Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier

So I saw the second Captain America (CA) movie today and it was as good as I’d expected. Having seen the teasers and trailers and extra footage and so on, it looked awesome and it was - no surprises there. However what was surprising to me was one scene in the first act.

A quick summary - CA1 was Cap in WW2 which ended with Cap arriving in the 21st century. The Avengers movie followed but we’ve never seen Steve Rogers getting to grips with the new world he finds himself in. And there’s lots of great little touches in CA2 when it starts up with Steve taking out a notepad where he’s written things to look up like Rocky (and maybe Rocky 2?) and Nirvana, and so on - cultural things he’s missed.

Then he goes and visits Peggy Carter, the love interest from CA1, who’s not in her 80s or 90s and basically on a life support machine in her home. Steve’s the same age but looks about 30 while Peggy’s gotten old. They have this lovely conversation where they talk through Steve’s doubts about where SHIELD is these days and then suddenly Peggy coughs heavily - Steve reaches to get her some water and she stops, looks at him.

She starts talking again and then stops mid-sentence and gasps something like “You came back, Steve! You came back!”. Steve gasps too as he’s taken aback by the emotion in her voice, perhaps realising the same thing himself for the first time. The two speaking from the heart after so much surface talk - the two really talking for the first time in 70 years.

I was blown away by this scene - it’s so damn emotional, I rolled a tear and it comes out of nowhere! At no point going into this movie - a Marvel superhero movie! - did I expect a scene this emotionally devastating, especially so early on. Oh, I loved it. Hayley Atwell and Chris Evans both doing a startling job, but Atwell deserves the credit for taking that one scene and bringing it so vividly to life for the viewer.

That scene was my favourite and I kept thinking about it from that moment on, but I loved the rest of the movie too. The opening action scene where Cap and Black Widow storm a ship taken over by Batroc the Leaper and his goons was awesome, hell all the action is amazing! The scene where Cap’s fleeing the Triskelion though was stunning. He takes out a Quinjet with such precision and skill, it’s jaw-dropping. If nothing else, CA2 shows the viewer exactly why Cap is a superhero, despite having no “superpowers” like Hulk or Thor.

Sebastian Stan is also brilliant as Bucky Barnes the Winter Soldier as is Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, and the movie as a whole was so big it felt like it was the sequel to the Avengers! And speaking of which, the after-credits scene is all about Age of Ultron as we catch our first glimpses of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver who seem to be sedated or brain-damaged or something? Baron von Strucker’s introduced too though he’s not wearing the Satan Claw - maybe they show how he gets it? Or maybe they’ve just dropped it altogether.

Anyway, The Winter Soldier is a fucking brilliant movie - arguably the standout so far in Marvel’s Phase 2 - and well done to everyone involved on making it. Hugely enjoyable and great fun, The Winter Soldier is a solid film; an action superhero movie done with intelligence and skill and one of the best the genre has ever had to offer.

But that scene between Steve and Peggy - wow. My favourite Captain America moment ever.

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