Captain America (Chris Evans) returns in his second solo outing to sniff out the rotten core at the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D. When an attempt is made on the life of a senior S.H.I.E.L.D executive, Captain Steve Rodgers finds himself on the outside of a conspiracy and on the run. With the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and newcomer to the series, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Cap’ must hunt down those who have sworn to protect and comes across a figure from his past in the process.
When the first Captain America movie came out in 2011, I expected it to be the Marvel film that I’d enjoy most. I’m a lover of history and am fascinated by the 1940s, especially the Second World War. It was surprising then that I enjoyed it far less than any other of the Marvel films to that date. I’m glad to say that Winter Soldier is an improvement on the original but still lags some way behind the likes of Thor and Iron Man for me.
I’ll start with what I enjoyed about the movie as that will take less time. I think that the themes are strong and well realised. By turning S.H.I.E.L.D, or at least elements of it, into the bad guys, the film holds a mirror up to the intelligence community. After years of reports about NSA bugs, CIA phone tapping and MI5 interference, the writers pick up a strong idea and run with it. By putting those who are meant to protect us under the spotlight, we get a glimpse into a shady and easily corruptible world. The positioning of S.H.I.E.L.D’s headquarters, high above the Washington skyline, is also a strong visual metaphor. The movie asks us, who is really in charge? What are their powers and if they’re watching us, who’s watching them?