Captain America. He has an (almost) indestructible shield but it’s not very large. So how does he cope with a group of soldiers with machine-guns spraying bullets in his direction? Not a problem – they will handily aim directly at the target-like design on his shield (never at his exposed legs). Helpfully his assailants will often shoot bullets at his shield long enough for him to angle it and deflect the bullets back at them.
There are a few moments like that in this movie that you need to suspend your disbelief for – maybe too many. This sequel though is definitely an improvement over the OK yet rather bland 2010 original, Captain America : The First Avenger in which weakling asthmatic army recruit Chris Evans was transformed into towering musclebound super-soldier Captain America by an experimental serum. Just like his character Evans has now grown into the role. There’s less nostalgia-tinged 1950s matinee idol about Captain America this time around although he still has enough of those old-fashioned qualities to make him honourable and admirable.
The story begins well, with the concealed threat of Hydra gradually revealed. This is followed by a great set piece in which Captain America has to fend off an attack from ten Hydra agents in a cramped elevator. Forced onto the run he teams up with fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). But can she be trusted? In fact can anyone be trusted?
The subtitle of the film: ‘The Winter Soldier’ refers to a mysterious masked assassin (Sebastian Stan) who has never failed and whose actions have shaped much of history. Soon his target becomes Captain America himself.
This is an entertaining and tense film, with Evans, Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson (as S.H.I.E.L.D. head Nick Fury) all on good form. My main issue was one of predictability. Having seen most, if not all of the previous Marvel super hero films *SPOILERS ALERT*, I instinctively knew that when Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) boasted about his three huge brand new hovering armoured fortresses – they would end up being used against S.H.I.E.L.D. I also immediately knew when one of the main characters died – despite appearances to the contrary – that they weren’t actually dead. It was just too obvious that they wouldn’t kill off this particular character.
Overall this could have done with being more believable (within it’s universe) and also would have been better if it had diverted from the now well established Marvel-movie formula a little more. Otherwise this is a pretty good super-hero film. There’s a slightly unspectacular and unsaitsfying finale but this is redeemed by a touching ending. A solid 7/10.