By Will Barber – Taylor
This review contains spoilers for the movie. Avoid if you have not seen the film.
Steve Rogers aka Captain America struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. Captain America must not only track down The Winter Soldier but also the terrible secret lurking at the heart of SHIELD.
Many people have said that this movie redefines comic book conventions and that it will be as influential as The Dark Knight and The Avengers and will serve as a game changer in terms of comic book movies. The Winter Soldier does not redefine the way people will make comic book movies but it does redefine the way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be seen. The film opens with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), aka Captain America meeting Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) an ex paratrooper who has developed a new type of winged jet pack. Afterwards Rogers and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) journey back to SHIELD HQ where they are briefed in a rescue mission. During the assignment Steve realises that Natasha is on a very different task to destroy SHIELD data stolen by the kidnappers. Angry that he was not informed, Rogers confronts the director of SHIELD Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson). Furry says that knows that Rogers can’t do everything and felt that he should not inform him of the mission. Fury shows him SHIELD’s new top secret project Insight which uses three massive hellycarriers to find terrorists and eliminate them prior to them attacking the US. Rogers points out that this isn’t what SHIELD is about and echoes the film’s later theme of tyranny that justice can only happen after the event not before.
The Winter Soldier is a very politically motivated film and in some ways can be seen as comparing some US secret organisations such as the NSA (SHIELD) with Nazi like organisations (HYDRA) and that they attempt to revoke out basic freedoms in order to persue safety. As the villain of the piece, Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce points out SHIELD and organisations like it have driven the world to want to sacrifice its freedom for a basic feeling of safety which some like Edward Snowden would say we already have.
The acting in The Winter Soldier is generally good though not the best you might hope for, the main attraction being Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce. Redford puts a lot of interesting stillness into his performance which makes him more menacing. While the whole world is blowing up around him Redford’s dark, sinister stillness keeps the viewer captivated and draws you into his bizarre mind-set that wants to sculpt the world to fit with his own mindset. The film is worth seeing for Reford’s performance alone.
As Pierce says near the beginning of the movie “Sometimes to build a better world you have to tear the old one down” and that is exactly what The Winter Soldier does. What took so much time to set up for The Avenger’s first outing is now being taken down brick by brick with each successive movie making the universe darker. At the end of Iron Man 3 we saw Stark give up his life as Iron Man, in Thor The Dark World we saw Loki usurp Odin and take over Asgard and with The Winter Soldier we see SHIELD being destroyed and Captain America unsure of his future path. With this darker tone being set for the Marvel Cinematic Universe it all seems to be leading up to a second and more explosive Avengers film.