Film Review: Captain America, The Winter Soldier

The first of two films from Marvel this year, the second being Guardians of the Galaxy due in August, is the return of star-spangled shield bearer, Steve Rogers, to the big screen. The really big screen in this case since there’s the option of IMAX.

After the events of Marvel Avengers Assemble, it’s set after Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World but you don’t need to have seen either, Steve Rogers is attempting to adjust to life in the 21st century. While catching up on 70 years of culture he’s also got a day job, leading covert teams of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on black ops missions – we all need something to pay the bills, right? Unfortunately for Steve, spies aren’t as trustworthy as the men he used to work with in the army and alternate agendas start to come to a head, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Now let me be succinct, for those of you who really want to know, it’s fine. It’s a better than your standard popcorn action flick. There’s fight scenes, explosions, tense scenarios and epics showdowns, everything you’d want from an entertaining evening at the moving picture house. If all you wanted was that confirming, off you go to the cinema.

Now for those of you that are still with me, the major problem is the film has an incredible amount of potential, which it then avoids as if it had an infectious disease. A film about domestic espionage and double-crossing, even in a world of superheroes, really needed a ratings increase to pull off what it was aiming at. Spending the first half of the film exploring different moral approaches to bad guys just to abandon it in the second half so Cap and his crew can bludgeon endless people about the head because they just happen to on the other side is the mark of sacrificing plot in the name of another action sequence.

Merchandising also rears its ugly head in the form of a new character who brings nothing to the film other than lengthening the action-y bits, and Cap seems to change his outfit every 21 minutes in order to sell a differently painted action figure. When the Black Widow, a mistress of disguise, has less costume changes than your musclebound hero you begin to wonder if you’re watching one of those awful reality shows that feature the wilfully ignorant sponsored by Top Shop.

You will see it if you’ve seen the other Marvel movies, and if you like a good action flick, but I’d recommend against IMAX. The size of the screen and the 3D cause a lot of motion blur during action sequences and there aren’t enough expansive shots to warrant the uplift. See it in normal 2D as a temporary fix until Avengers: Age of Ultron hits screens next year.

– Taylor Iscariot

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