Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford
Rating: 2 and half
The latest Marvel offering Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier picks up from where The Avengers left the star members of S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain Steve Rogers is now trying to be up-to-date with contemporary life and keeps note of all those pop culture references he should pick up on. Even as he adjusts to life as of today, he is roped in to save a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Algerian pirates led by Georges Batroc.
In a dramatic turn of events, Nick J. Fury, is targeted by an unknown person who is seemingly doing the work of S.H.I.E.L.D. Confused and disillusioned, Rogers is conflicted about whom he can trust even in a peace-keeping organisation like S.H.I.E.L.D. Together with Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow and war veteran Sam Wilson, Rogers goes about finding the root of the mystery that is turning the organisation’s prized mission Project Insight into a highly catastrophic proposition. Project Insight, using a series of algorithms enables satellite-linked technology to pre-emptively get rid of potential threats. And with all such innovation always comes wrong intention and what follows is sadly anybody’s guess.
Beyond pandering to fan sentiments, there’s very little the film has to offer to a moviegoer. Unless you’re a diehard Marvel fan or specifically a follower of the Captain America series, the film will not stand out more than most other superhero flicks (which have been aplenty in the past three years). Even as it attempts to make contemporary not only the setting for Captain America but also the themes it addresses (like the NSA tapping people’s lives in the US), it ends up being a part superhero, part political drama with a healthy dose of predictability.
The 3D version has fleeting moments of brilliance but the technology largely stutters and is rather redundant in the grander scheme of things. The plot is cliched, the lines are as cheesy as superhero flicks go and the running soundtrack seems heavily borrowed from The Dark Knight. The tragedy of the genre lies in just how high the bar has been raised by Hans Zimmer in terms of music for such flicks. Anything that has followed The Dark Knight has only come across sounding like a poor ripoff, particularly in the chase sequences. Even the action is hardly anything that we haven’t already witnessed on celluloid, which is particularly why the film seems like a bigger let down than it should be. Such flicks are not meant to be plot- or dialogue-driven but usually the action sequences have some breathtaking moments. Given the IMAX format too has been employed in Captain America 2, it has hardly exploited the potential of the technology.
Ironically, it is the acting department that is solid, if not for splendid. Anthony Mackie, who plays Sam Wilson, performs well, as does Chris Evans in his role as the good-natured, conflicted Captain America. There’s not much to Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Natasha Romanoff. She too continues her journey from her The Avengers outing. It’s good to see Robert Redford flirting with the dark side, especially since he’s always been a protagonist. The performances overall are decent with no one really shining bright.
With the script no different from the dime a dozen superhero sagas and a host of mediocre lines, the film is a big budget entertainer with almost no recall value. It’s worth a watch, especially since it lets the viewer know that there is more to come, in terms of sequels. Will it hold on its own? Unless you’re a big Captain America fan, that’s a big No....