"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Review

Marvel's Cinematic Universe is developing a propensity for releasing sequels that out-do their predecessors and Captain America: The Winter Soldier follows this trend and then some. When last we saw Steve Rogers, he had just finished saving the world with the rest of the Avengers. Just as some cohesion on that team was beginning to form, everyone scattered and went their separate ways. In this film, we see him slightly better-adjusted to present day life, but still struggling not only with being a man out of time, but with all the after-shock that comes from fighting in a war.

Enter one Sam Wilson, played by Marvel newcomer Anthony Mackie, who is a shining beacon of hope and positivity both on and off the screen. Sam Wilson's Falcon isn't simply good because of Mackie's outstanding skills at combat and flying around; Sam is someone who is understanding of Steve's post-war struggles. Everyone knows that Steve Rogers has one of the strongest moral compasses you'll ever witness, but Sam Wilson is a loyal friend who shows his worth not only as a soldier but as a counsellor, mentor, and friend. We're also treated to a glimpse at the depth of Natasha Romanoff which will no doubt be delved into further when Black Widow has her own stand-alone film.

Winter Soldier combines the grandeur of superhero films with the political espionage genre, and has that Russo brand of comedy sprinkled throughout. As if that mix wasn't enough to get your blood racing, Henry Jackman's score reflects and enhances those different flavours of the film. At times, a full orchestra uses powerfully emotive strings or blaring low brass. When appropriate, the sleeker technological sounds usually heard in flashy action flicks are utilised. But my personal favourite part of the score is indubitably that which narrates the Winter Soldier himself. The repeated high-pitched tone heard whenever he is on screen serves as an echo of the screams of his countless victims.

Sebastian Stan is no newcomer. In addition to his playing Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The First Avenger, Sebastian has been in numerous projects of which you are likely to have seen at least one. The Winter Soldier has less than ten lines of dialogue, yet Sebastian manages to powerfully emote through his eyes, ranging between a powerfully raw, at times animalistic energy and the vulnerability of a brainwashed, tortured soul.

The fight sequences are both exciting and innovative. Natasha's fighting uses tremendous leg work, rather fitting for a spider, but the first real fight between a uniform-less Captain America and The Winter Soldier is the stand-out sequence of the film, as it is almost balletic in its precision and intricacy.

Following Joss Whedon's tremendous work on The Avengers, he was rightfully hired for the sequel. Now the Russo brothers have put out a film that has all the pieces to make it one of the best in the increasingly awe-inspiring Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it should surprise no one who has seen this film that they will be directing Captain America 3, which will hit theatres on May 6, 2016. Until then, go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you've already seen it, then go watch it again; speaking from personal experience, it's even better the second and third time round.


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