#19 & 22 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Cobie Smoothers, Sebastian Stan and loads and loads of others.
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, 136 minutes short.
Bloody hell, what a ride. Seen this twice now, once at the first press screening and once again yesterday with Baxter, whose expectations were running stupidly high. I love Captain America as a character, he's one of my favourites and I thoroughly enjoyed the first film, although I felt it lacked something, perhaps a satisfying middle?
I'd liked what I'd seen of Winter Soldier in the build-up and was massively grateful to be able to see it before the reviews and gossip spoiled it for me (so a big up to my homie's Hannah and Marcus for the tickets!). The trouble is, after so many films it's all too easy for me to piece together entire films from small unconnected titbits and conversations so I was able to go into this almost blind, save for the trailer, which revealed almost nothing.
I can't remember the last time I went to a press screening in a packed Odeon Leicester Sq. and witnessed not only three spontaneous eruptions of sustained applause during the film but also 99% of the audience sitting through ALL the credits too! Actually that reminds me, in utter contrast, Noah (also a press screening in the slightly less thrilling Odeon West End) garnished one single clap followed by a mass stampede for the exits.
By I digress.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a BIG, solid, exceeding satisfying thriller of a movie that manages sustaining quite an involved and elaborate story across all three acts. The two main stars, Evans and Johnasson easily hold their own and the interest of the audience and surely it can't be long before the Black Widow gets her own film!? Fantastically directed by siblings, Anthony and Joe Russo and with a cast to die for, Captain America is perhaps Marvel's best film to date. The only fly in the ointment, perhaps the need for an against-the-clock, action-packed final act fight in a rapidly exploding environment!
A lot of people dismiss Captain America as a boring character, but I think there's something noble in him, a man out of time, adrift in a world he doesn't really belong in. His relationship with Widow is lovely, as is the bro-mance that develops between him and Anthony Mackie's Falcon. The film, filled with thrilling, well directed and edited action set pieces (the lift scene is fantastic!) just kept getting better and better as the film progresses to a, for once, satisfying ending!
I can't, or perhaps, don't want to reveal anything about the plot, lest others out there reading will be able to piece the film together, but will say this film is 2 parts superhero, 2 parts spy movie.
And how great to see Robert Redford effortlessly bring a sense of gravitas to the proceedings.
Really, really enjoyed this and I was delighted to see that even second time round, my mind didn't wander and I remained thrilled and gripped.
Where as my 15-year old daughter, Lydia loved it. Baxter, who is almost 11 thought the film was too convoluted, 'too much story, dad! It just kept building and building.' So beware, this is a 12A film and perhaps not just for the action, we sat next to a group of chatty 10 year olds who seemed to have problems with it too, so perhaps not really suitable for kids younger than that.
But for me, it's a