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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Peter T Chattaway

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I revisited this one last night. I still liked it more than almost any other Marvel film, aside from the first Captain America film but a bit less than the first time.

My Letterboxd review:

Downgrading this to a [7] on a re-watch for a few reasons. While I stand by most of my original review, the weaknesses seem amplified on repeat. The film's ending is too cluttered and overbearing, undoing the stakes and sacrifices in this instalment too quickly for us to really care. Especially overblown is the talk of this being a paranoid 70s-style thriller: this film is far too sunny for that. While it's still in the spy-thriller genre, it's more akin to 1990s Tom Clancy films like Patriot Games than 3 Days of the Condor.

And yet...why did I return to the film? Why are the two Captain America films my favourite of the MCU? Because of Chris Evans' Captain America, who is consistently the best realized, best performed, and most endearing character in the bunch. He nails the fish-out-of-water elements, never letting it become parody. He projects genuine pathos and care for his friends and ideals. His performance is way better than this film required, and it lifts the whole thing. So, because of him, I'm cautiously optimistic for Civil War, though I'm worried that adding even more characters into the film will dilute its best element: its titular character.

I will also add, while I liked aspects of the film's political conundrum, setting up Cap as the rogue who is defending true freedom, the whole Hydra thing ends up deflating the whole thematic critique of surveillance states because of course it wasn't really SHIELD, but Nazis. America is still blameless.

I don't see how this film is less naive or problematic than BvS, actually. And I still enjoy it. 

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut


Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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