Marvel Studio's 'Phase One' was hugely successful leading all the way up to the phenomenally successful Avengers Assemble, but who was the weak link in that film? Captain America by far. Sure, he had one of the best Phase One films, but compared to Iron Man, Thor and even The Hulk he was a tad overshadowed. Who cares about a man with a shield, when you've got a man in a flying tin-can and a God?
Regarding this, Captain America: The Winter Soldier had a lot to do to make up. Especially due to the lacklustre Phase Two films thus far. So the question is, does it do it?
I would say yes. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a competent film and easily the best Phase Two film. It's billed as a political thriller and, in part, it is exactly that. It's tense, it's fun and it has undertones of free will, corruption and how technology plays a part in all of this. It's interesting and clever, which is refreshing from all of the dumb blockbusters we've received as of late.
However, it doesn't keep this up. I'm getting sick and tired of finales of superhero films being 30-40 minutes of set-pieces and loud noises. Especially with Cap 2 as the first two thirds were really strong in terms of the political thriller they were going for and then the finale just turned into an all out action set-piece and undermined it. It reeks of studio interference. The Russo's didn't shut up about how they were making a political thriller in promotion for the film, so why not go the whole hog? You've gone to the hassle of bringing in screen legend Robert Redford and you've built up a plot that could have had a cracking finale to just throw it out the window. It's very disappointing. It brings it right back into a standard superhero film, which is worrying because soon this superhero fad is going to burn out and audiences are going to get bored.
Also, it's called Captain America: THE WINTER SOLDIER, so why does he have little to no character or character development. I understand there's a huge ensemble and lots to get to, but he's a cool character and he should have been played on more than he was. I get that they're leading into other films, but they should have played on Bucky and Steve's past a lot more. It would have made the finale that bit more tense and exciting. It's a theme that's gone through all of the Phase Two films, which is disappointing because they've all been cast so well.
Furthermore, I didn't feel like this film needed Falcon. He was cool and Anthony Mackie plays him well, but I don't think this was his film. I feel like maybe they should have left him until the third. Especially because he's not even in Age of Ultron.
I liked it, though, don't get me wrong. There's really strong aspects to it. Cap is a much more interesting character than the original. He has much more character and Chris Evans portrays him to brilliant effect. He plays the fish out of water character really well. I like the way they handled Black Widow's character. She is badass. I'm so glad she isn't just a bit on the side character or a love interest because The Avengers have true potential to be a bit of a sausage-fest. And it builds on the universe well. It gives Fury more character, it gives SHIELD that extra-layer and it gives the entire universe more depth. That's something that can't be said about Iron Man 3 or Thor: The Dark World.
It's another solid entry and it does its job; I'm now excited for Age of Ultron and Guardians. I have, however, been a little underwhelmed with Phase Two thus far.