Right from the off you can tell that this film is going to be better than it’s predecessor. This is definitely one of the exceptions of the rule that the sequel is never better than the original. This one definitely is. Of all the original Marvel films, Captain America was certainly the weakest. It was poorly constructed, badly acted and had a plot line that was all over the place. It was like an elaborate kids TV show with a gigantic budget.
This succeeds in all the places where the original failed. The story itself does something that not many superhero films is willing to do. It looks inward and questions its own actions. It also seems to have a direct pop at the American government. With Avengers assemble it could be argued that Marvel worked themselves into a corner. They pretty much had world dominance with all angles being covered. There was no way a baddie could pop up without being smashed by Hulk, bonked on the head by Thor or being mocked ruthlessly by Iron Man. But this is where Captain America two does very well. The superhero himself questions the actions of S.H.I.E.L.D and how they propose to neautralise all future threats before they even arise. He says himself “That’s not freedom, that’s fear”. Could this be a less than subtle nod towards the American government and the scandal over access to people’s personal information? It definitely is. A brilliant turn for the film to take. It pulls no punches, no one knows who to trust or what is going to happen next and that makes the film all the more watchable.
Another area where they pull no punches, is, well, the punches themselves. The fighting in this film is brutal. It is breathtakingly well choreographed and it looks fantastic when it gets going. The first film relied on stunts like Captain America being able to jump really far for us to see his heroic attributes, here you are shown on countless occasions how he can kick some serious arse. None more so than when he fights the winter soldier himself. the fights are fast paced, vicious and everything that a hero fight should be.
There are glorious special effects throughout, as you would hope, Scarlett Johansen does her best sassy side kick acting and Samuel L Jackson gives a bit more depth to Nick Fury as a man who has his own dark side. One other thing that this film has that the original didn’t is Robert Redford. Need I say more? He is just superb and brings gravitas to a film the likes of which have often been criticised for having over the top characters. We’re not a million miles away from having real people like this in the real world and fair play to this movie for putting him front and centre and getting a proper actor to play him.
All in all a great super hero film. Yes there are plot holes but I forgive them here as it goes after a plot line with a bit of substance. It’s not a hero going after a giant yellow baddie who is hell bent on slapping people, it is a grittier attempt to look at how governments can control the threats it has on itself whilst still providing a genuine freedom for it’s people. I give it an 8.5. Very good indeed. It moves along nicely, has a great plot and sets up some great story lines for the next Avengers film.
All of this of course just adds to the pressure for X men days of future past which it seems everyone is waiting for with baited breath, if it’s anything like this film then it is going to be a sight to see. Stan Lee and Marvel must be delighted. Get this one watched, I think you’ll be surprised.