CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER | THE REVIEW

Salty Kernel John McParland has a great inauguration week to the team. First he attends and reviews the quasi religious epic NOAH and now he follows it up with a fine review of a film we have been waiting to see since the first outing with Chris Evans in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Please enjoy the fine review from Kernel John. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is out today, is rated M and runs for 136mins of Marvel Awesome. And just as a heads up – this is a Marvel Film – stay to the very end of the credits or whine until Blu Ray release you missed it 🙂

 

Captain America, Film Review, The Winter Soldier, Salty Popcorn, John McParland, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Marvel, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEW |The Movie Poster

 

REVIEW BY JOHN MCPARLAND

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is a fantastic film!  I just wanted to get that off my chest at the start.  If you are looking for a breakdown of the awesomeness then read on!  If you are just looking for a recommendation then: go and see it!  And read on as well!

Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo lead the charge in this, their first true big budget film.  Known much more for their comedic work on television series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and COMMUNITY, the brothers have proven superbly that they are more than capable of directing big name action flicks.

The film is written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the talented duo who brought us such Marvel greats as CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and THOR: THE DARK WORLD.  The writing is marvellous, with fast paced plot movements, poignant moments of honest reflection, and witty dialogue.

 

Captain America, Film Review, The Winter Soldier, Salty Popcorn, John McParland, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Marvel, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEW |The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)

 

Chris Evans dons the Stars and Stripes once more as Steve Rogers, aka Captain America.  Evans is fantastic in all of his scenes, whether reminiscing with Romanoff, playing the world’s most brutal game of bad guy air hockey with his shield, or jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute (no, really).  Rogers is a man out of his time.  Born in the 1920’s, he cut his teeth fighting Nazis and HYDRA during World War 2, before becoming the hunkiest human popsicle in history in a heroic self-sacrificing moment at the end of the first film, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.  Revived almost 70 years later, Rogers is forced to adapt to a vastly different world, without the support of anyone he once knew or loved.  Evans does a great job of portraying a hero struggling to follow orders from a command structure he no longer has faith in, while still wishing to uphold the virtues of protecting the innocent and fighting for freedom.

By Rogers’s side throughout the film is Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow.  Johansson returns to her flipping, twisting, enemy dispatching role with a zeal.  The Russian spy is not to be underestimated, and teamed up with Captain America, the two become a truly formidable force.  Romanoff and Rogers also share a number of quieter moments together, with the Russo brothers injecting a good deal of their trademark comedy into the heroes’ dialogue and interactions.

 

Captain America, Film Review, The Winter Soldier, Salty Popcorn, John McParland, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Marvel, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEW |Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)

 

Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as the ruthless S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury, a man driven to do anything to preserve peace, no matter the cost in lives or personal freedoms.  The aggressive, deceiving, take no prisoners, compartmentalising master is portrayed superbly by Jackson, in yet another of his ever growing list of spectacular performances.  You know who this character is, you know you love him, so what more is there to say?  Except perhaps to keep an eye out for an epic car chase scene involving Fury and the most humorous GPS you have ever heard.

The film also features a number of new characters who have not made an appearance in the Marvel film franchise so far.  Academy Award winner and film royalty Robert Redford (ORDINARY PEOPLE – director, SPY GAME) plays Alexander Pierce, comrade of Fury and member of the World Security Council.  Pierce is a strong supporter of Fury’s objectives, but for ulterior motives that become clearer as the film unfolds.  Redford is wonderful, tapping into the experience and talent earned during his countless spy and thriller films of days gone by, to portray a character that you, as an audience member, can instantly recognise and relate too, even though very little is explained about Pierce in the film.  This film also introduces Marvel hero Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie (THE HURT LOCKER).  Falcon’s inclusion as a third hero in this action epic is unusual.  That his abilities proved critical in certain scenes, is more a testament to the writers making it so, rather than because key plot points revolve around him.  Given the strengths of Captain America and Black Widow, to throw another hero into the mix felt a little too much like a watered down Avengers film than a souped up Captain America film.  Still, Falcon’s abilities and scenes were great, his one liners were classic, and his portrayal by Mackie was solid.

 

Captain America, Film Review, The Winter Soldier, Salty Popcorn, John McParland, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Marvel, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEW |Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)

 

Captain America has many enemies in this film, both ideological and physical.  His physical enemy is the Winter Soldier, a soviet Cold War era experimental killing machine furthering the modern day goals of HYDRA’s surviving interests.  The identity of the Winter Soldier is unknown to anyone in the intelligence world, but Captain America recognises his foe when he is finally revealed in a mid-movie plot twist that shocked all of my surrounding cinema goers.  As such, the actor’s identity shall remain a secret lest some erstwhile reader put two and two together.  Needless to say, the actor’s portrayal of the Winter Soldier is spectacular.  He is a true power in this film, a relentless force to be reckoned with, with skills and abilities that are the equal of our hero.

Ideologically, the film brings up two key points.  The first revolves around the absolute enforcement of peace, whereby civil liberties are suspended for all, so that the so called greater good may prevail and ‘freedom’ can be preserved.  Captain America states in the film that such a situation “is not freedom, it is fear” where citizens are forced to sacrifice their freedom for the illusion of security.  Further, it is discovered that the world has been coerced into believing that suspension of their rights is the only way to guarantee their safety, by Machiavellian organisations furthering their own self-interests who have subtly manipulated events to increase the level of oppression.  Second is the notion of crime and punishment and the dismissal of freewill and choice, whereby those who may one day be guilty of a crime are captured and punished prior to the commitment of the offence, again all in the name of preserving the peace.  Much like V in V FOR VENDETTA or John Anderton in MINORITY REPORT, Captain America finds himself responsible for stopping those who would shackle humanity to this authoritarian rule, and further, acts as a reminder to us all to remain constantly vigilant against those who would seek to smoother us in cottonwool, under the guise of protecting us with it.  To quote Benjamin Franklin, “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

 

Captain America, Film Review, The Winter Soldier, Salty Popcorn, John McParland, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Marvel, Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEW |Captain America (Chris Evans)

 

The action and special effects for this film are outstanding.  Beautifully shot and choreographed fight scenes mix flawlessly with visually stunning CGI.  This is an action movie after all, but it is great to see that it does not simply drown in combat, and instead uses conflict as a means to an end, while focusing equally on character development and interactions.

If I have one gripe about this film it is gravity.  Gravity is real people!  Despite what Hollywood would have us think, gravity actually does exist.  I am content to believe that Captain America’s shield protects him from a great deal of harm through its kinetic absorption properties, even when such properties seem to fail in the face of certain explosions.  I get it, having the shield absorb the concussive force of the explosion, as it should, does not look as good on screen as having Captain America get blown across the room.  But I counted at least four occasions where our hero fell/jumped/swan dived from a height that should have turned him into the hunkiest human pancake in history.  I have bought your infinite ammo weapons Hollywood, but for the love of God stop flaunting the fundamental forces of the Universe!

That aside, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is a glorious film, with spectacular action galore and heartfelt story to boot.  A worthy addition to the epic Marvel franchise.

 

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

KERNEL ADAM’S POP SCORE: 

4 Pops

KERNEL NICK’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

 

 

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