Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier Is Ambitious, Surprising, Exciting And Hardly Ever Too Silly

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A friend reminded me today that, actually, the majority of Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s secrets are still hidden, and certainly not available to Google snoops. Some big things have been sussed out by the interent, for sure, but plenty more haven’t.

This might be because there’s more than enough going on here that even when a few spoilers came along to sate the over-curious (ie. me) there was still a good deal left to be discovered. I’ll try to stay away from any of the real spoilers in this piece so you can find out for yourselves what it is the film has to offer.

The movie’s extended running time probably has something to do with the abundance of surprises, but there’s also a real density of ideas and even had it only been 90 minutes long, any 90 of these minutes would have felt like a full meal.

Occasionally, though, something happens that stretches credulity in just the wrong way. I guess it’s just a case of “throw enough mud and some will get in your eye” but one scene in particular did knock me out of the film, for a while.

I guess I can say that it was down to a sudden shift in tone, if not quite genre. Suddenly, I was being asked to accept a goofy sci-fi conceit somehow out of step with what had come in the early sequences and it didn’t go down easily. This particular scene was just a bit silly, and looked it too.

In any case, it wasn’t long before the gears shifted again and the film was back on track, re-aligned with the political thriller aspirations and tropes that most of the film is built from. Marvel weren’t joking when they said that this picture would pack some of the flavour of 70s conspiracy movies.

Eventually, the last act does divert into less remarkable territory but, thankfully, those 30 minutes or so of adventure movie shenanigans do have some room for ideas and character beyond stunt work and ticking clocks.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about The Winter Soldier is the thing I don’t want anybody to spoil for you. Let me tease, however, that this film ends in a rather unpredictable, relevant and thought provoking place.

Really. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is changed radically by the events of this movie.

The Avengers still has the edge, I think, but Marvel really are building up a fantastic body of work, bringing out the best in their writers, directors, stars and characters. Keep it up, guys.