by Sam Robinson
Rated M. Starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo.
Don’t trust anyone.
This is the resounding message of the latest film in the Marvel canon, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In fact, that’s almost all I’m going to tell you about the film. To explain too much of the story would result in spoilers.
Basically, our fearless hero Steve Rogers (Evans) is adjusting to life in the 21st century. After being frozen in time at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, and experiencing “New York” in The Avengers, he’s now a loner, completing the odd operation for the S.H.I.E.L.D agency, and living in the nation’s capital… Of course he lives in D.C.! He’s a national hero!
Before too long, it is revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised. Cap ends up traversing the country to sleuth out the secrets of S.H.I.E.L.D and restore order. He’s accompanied by Agent Romanoff (Johansson) and ex-paratrooper Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), and there’s plenty of twists and turns along the way as the truth is revealed. It’s Cap’s Shield Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Winter Soldier is noticeably more dark and gritty than the preceding Marvel Universe films. There’s plenty of action, violence, and enough car smashing to rival a Fast & Furious film. This is an action flick through and through, even though our lead is running around in a ridiculously out-of-date outfit. But what makes the Marvel films so enjoyable for me is the writing. The humour. And I felt like these were spared for the sake of the thrills.
Also because we’re so trusting of this world where really anything can happen, there were moments that don’t make a whole lot of sense. Captain America hides a critically important USB stick inside a vending machine. He manages to cause an elevator to fall to the ground while inside it.
Come to think of it – why is a high-tech operations agency still using USB sticks?
Also there’s this scene with a big reveal involving a mask that should be great but is just awkward. Believe me, when you see it, you’ll know exactly what I mean. There’s also a cameo from a certain sitcom actor which is nothing but distracting.
As I mentioned earlier, this film is about trust. A hugely important figure tells our patriotic hero: ‘Don’t trust anyone’. And as the film progresses, Cap is forced to question every single person he comes across. ‘How do we know the good guys from the bad guys?’ is asked. Are they for Cap, or against him? Can he trust them with information? Can he trust them with his life? Being the hero that he is, he wants to have faith in everyone. But as the corruption inside S.H.I.E.L.D is exposed, it’s all the more clear that trust can no longer be assumed.
This is true for us today as well. Who can we trust? How do we know we can trust them? Our world is full of sceptics – particularly when it comes to faith in Christ. Choosing to trust in Him is a huge decision – a life-changing one, that should be made with careful investigation of the eyewitness accounts.
But how can we know that Jesus and his Word can be trusted? I love the story in the Bible of the transfiguration, where Jesus climbs a mountain with Peter, James and John. I won’t explain the whole story here (check it out for yourself) but a cloud appears and the voice of God the Father is heard. This is what he says. Mark 9:7 –
A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud:
This is My beloved Son; listen to Him!
God the Father boldly states that Jesus is his beloved Son. He’s worth listening to. Unlike everyone in The Winter Soldier, Jesus is not corrupt. He’s the Son of God who gave up everything so that those who trust in him might live. He is worthy of our trust, for he IS truth (John 14:6).
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an adventure that packs a lot of punch but for me, is probably the weakest in the Marvel Universe film series so far. These films are being cranked out twice a year now, so the challenge from here on is keeping things fresh rather than formulaic. I’m giving it three-and-a-half out of five stars.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is out now in Australian cinemas. It will be released in the US this Friday 4th April.