Captain America: Winter Soldier
Anthony and Joe Russo, Action, 136 mins, April 19 Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford
This month sees the release of two iconic Marvel characters who may have fought side by side in the comics, but now that rights have been split between studios, these heavy hitters are battling against each other to secure your hard-earned cash. Both are sequels and both have trailers that make them look absolutely fantastic, but which film is the smarter choice?
Being a long-standing Spiderman fan, I was extremely excited by the 2012 reboot, even if it did come just 5 years after Sam Raimi’s trilogy. The trailer eluded to a deep mythology tied to Peter’s parents, a beefy role for Dr. Connors, plus it actually seemed that the young Peter enjoyed being a hero… unfortunately the film was lackluster, enjoyable but all but forgettable. A bad guy with no motivation, and an athletic, cool, witty and confident pre-bite Peter, who was a bit of a dick in the Spidey suit, along with a love story that failed to ring true all made the movie seem a little rushed or thrown together, as if Sony had a three year time limit to get the movie made before their claims to the character expired…which would just be crazy!
Captain America on the other hand was seen by many (including myself) as an outdated and boring character; the ultimate Boy Scout who embodied old-fashioned ideals of patriotism and always fighting the good fight. What a stroke of genius it then was to make a 1940s period piece, tying in the Stark legacy and laying the foundations for the Marvel universe all but effortlessly. The movie was far better than any had hoped for and Cap’s fish-out-of-water act in The Avengers also made him a sympathetic and likeable leader.
Winter Soldier is introducing an awesome villain, and throwing up a questionable debate in regards to protection/aggression. In modern times of civil wars, privacy arguments and drone strikes, a blockbuster asking who the good guys really are seems rather topical. Over at Sony, Amazing Spiderman 2 may well be suffering from what left a bitter taste in our mouths back in 2007, too many villains; an evil necessity as the studio gears up for their Sinister 6 franchise. The mech-Rhino suit may look awesome, and Jamie Foxx may have brought a nice spin to the Electro character (and ditched his stupid costume), but his main motivation is weak to say the least, and is a mere excuse for CGI brawls. Both films will be fun, fast and frantic, but whereas Cap seems to be a cog in a much larger universe, Spiderman seems to be swinging solo.