After reviewing every film I saw for a year back in 2010 I tend not to write many reviews especially for big movies where everyone including far more eloquent writers than me have their say. This doesn’t stop my own occasional musings. WARNING to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, there are spoilers ahead.
The Marvel movie has suddenly grown up. Captain America: The Winter Soldier plays like a 1970s political thriller, a theme that is fuelled by the presence of Robert Redford. The great thing about the movie is how it has done this without losing the fun of other movies within the franchise. This 70’s style has been well publicised and discussed but it goes deeper than that. 70’s thrillers were all about uncertainty and paranoia and that is what we get here, but its a different type of paranoia. Where in the past we looked outwards, these days it is all about looking inwards. Can we trust our own governments? This is a post 9-11 paranoia, a surveillance state paranoia. This makes the film a powerful allegory for a time and therefore a historical document that it will be interesting to look back on many years from now.
It would be very easy to film about the fish out of water as Steve Rogers adapts to the modern world. As well as avoiding this, the movie actually makes a joke of it with Rogers making a list of things he has missed that people recommend to him. It appears that there may be regional differences. The version I saw included the 1966 World Cup final and Sean Connery, I have heard of a version that includes Oldboy. Instead of letting this idea overpower the plot it is kept constantly there but in the background. Through the involvement of Captain America the modern world is constantly held up against “The Greatest Generation”, this is where the idea of doing what is right rather than what is easy or what is expected comes from.
In the spirit of leaving an audience wanting more, there are at least five characters in the movie I would like to see get a more prominent role in a future film or even their own film:
- Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
- Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
- Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell)
- Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)
- Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp)
Who is Sharon Carter / Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp)? Steve Rogers’ neighbour “Kate” unsurprisingly turns out to be an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to protect Rogers. A little online research tells me that in the comic books (I have never read any Captain America) the character was originally the younger sister of Peggy Carter but a change in continuity turned her into Peggy’s niece.
Throughout the movie Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow: (Scarlett Johansson) is seen wearing a necklace with an arrow on it. A possible reference to the archer Clint Barton/ Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who she was clearly close to in The Avengers. I guess we will find out more in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the announced Black Widow movie.
Did everyone spot the Pulp Fiction joke? If you didn’t take a look at Nick Fury’s gravestone “The path of the righteous man. Ezekiel 25:17.”
The mid credit stinger is an interesting one. it introduces two character referred to as The Twins. They are clearly Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who have already been for : Age of Ultron. The interesting thing about the characters is how they will fit into the Avengers universe. As mentioned above, I haven’t ready any Captain America but have read some X Men. In the original comic books Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are the children of Magneto. As such a different version of Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver is set appear in X-Men: Days of Future Past played by Evan Peters. With the mutant part of the Marvel universe under license to Fox it was only a matter of time before they both lay claim to a character.
The conclusion of the film sees what is effectively the end of S.H.I.E.L.D. as we know it. I am sure a future film we see a rebirth, however until that time, how will it affect Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team in the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? The continuity of the show appears to run alongside the movies, episode 8 The Well is set in the aftermath of the events of Thor: The Dark World. Clearly the show can exist outside the continuity of t.he movies, however to make such an effort to run them alongside each other they are clearly going to remain that way. This leaves some interesting plot possibilities.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier represents the mid point of Marvels Phase Two. Iron Man 2 was the only misstep in Marvels “Phase One”, with this in mind I am looking forward to the the next two instalments: Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug 2014) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 2015).