Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D) (first-pass / SPOILER-FREE)
Cert: 12A / 136 mins / Dir. Joe Russo / Anthony Russo
Advance warning: this review consists my first-reactions only, and is free of spoilers. I'll have more to say after I've watched the film again (which will come as little surprise to you), and like many of the films I love, it seems too much to take in the first time you see it. My main point of comparison here is the first Captain America installment, but that's mainly because I watched the two of them back to back. Stylistically, The Winter Soldier is closer to Thor: The Dark World, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and there's a darkening of the overall tone that I look forward to seeing continue in next year's Age Of Ultron.
Even at 136 minutes, it sometimes feels like the producers have tried to cram too much into The Winter Soldier. Although everything they've done here is welcome, make no mistake, this is quite a long film and at times it feels it. The reason I mention it is that there's not much in the way of light-relief, so furrowed-brows are the order of the day. This sequel makes several references to The First Avenger (far more than Avengers did), but the carefree action-romp feeling is nowhere to be seen, and CA:TWS may feature the least amount of wisecracking humour to date. But subtlety isn't what these films do best, and when some of the larger plot-revelations are being unfurled, you may well feel your eyes rolling along with them*1.
So there are characters you know, characters you don't, and a little bit of intrigue as the film tries to be a conspiracy-thriller but doesn't quite have the twists to pull that off. The 3D is there but doesn't really add much at all apart from inducing a slight headache in combination with all the handheld camerawork. Henry Jackman's score is moody and dramatic enough, but doesn't have the pomp of Alan Silvestri's First Avenger soundtrack, or the majesty of Bryan Tyler's work in Iron Man 3 and Thor 2. Ultimately though, if you've been onboard throughout the Marvel-verse so far, you won't be disappointed with The Winter Soldier. It's a great addition to the canon, and has some cards up its sleeve in terms of character- and overall-plot development.
The business end:
• Yes, there's a Stan Lee cameo.
• Yes, there's a mid-credits scene before the names roll.
• Yes, there's a post-credits scene after the names roll.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or on the WorldOfBlackout Facebook page. I'm always eager to talk movies, but especially super-heroes.
For the most part.
I think so, your mileage will vary.
Cinema for 'big and loud', but the 3D's not essential.
I think it's either been buried, or is the basis of the sound-effect used to denote The Winter Soldier himself.
Has Scarlett Johansson's voice always been that husky, or is this a recent development? I only really noticed it the other day.
*1 As well as feel your eyes watering in a moment which needs far more expansion than it gets. Spoilers prohibit me from saying more here.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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