Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Art & Culture

Just what we wanted – another sequel to a superhero movie. Better still, a movie about a superhero who can – well, he can run quite fast, jump quite high in the air and take a punch. And he's got a big shield; oh yes, and he was born about 90 years ago, but got frozen after WW2. Is he less charismatic than Thor? Possibly, but it's a close run thing. Fortunately, those around him have a bit more character.

Such as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), who is cooler, tougher, harder, sexier and a lot more fun, though we suspect she may harbour lingering feelings for the Cap – or is the other way round? And there's Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) the one-eyed boss of S.H.I.E.L.D., always ready with a sharp retort and snappy put dpwn. Even Robert Redford as the political Big Cheese with whom Fury comes into conflict, manages to generate a little heat at the age of 77 (does he dye his hair, or has he got great genes?).

If you think I'm being unfair on Chris Evans, all I can say is a)that he has no previous track record of being interesting on screen, and b) the role of Captain America would require Daniel Day Lewis at his finest to invest it with any energy. He's the most iconic icon ever to fill the screen. He's not meant to be a character, he's a Symbol of nostalgia for an America that has gone (and never was in the first place). If you look at his CV, Evans has only ever played Hunks, not just as Captain America, but also in The Avengers, in Thor and a few years ago in The Fantastic Four. Not to mention Scott Pilgrim vs The World. It's not his fault, he's just built that way.

The film wants to suggest it is current and edgy by suggesting that S.H.I.E.L.D. is corrupt and has become NSA-like in its desire to gather information about everybody in the world and then use it against them, but it won't be winning any Pulitzer Prizes for investigative journalism. It's just a variation on the Bad Arab/Russian/Chinese/Choose Your Racial Stereotype theme that has worn so thin. In this case, its The Enemy Within. Because at the end of the day, the film relies on a lot of explosions, CGI, fist fights and car chases, just like every other big budget Hollywood film, and to say it's boring is like saying that the North Pole is cold.

As I always say, I go to see films so that you don't have to, though I suspect that not many of you had it on your Must See list in the first place. It's not altogether terrible, just bog standard dull except when Scarlett is on screen. It's just truly madly deeply unnecessary.


Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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