7:30 PM, 9th May, 2014
After the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers (Evans) aka Captain America remains a man out-of-his-time trying to adjust to the modern world – now working for S.H.I.E.L.D. but increasingly uncomfortable with their covert approach to international security.
In a world where the difference between right and wrong isn’t always clear-cut, his discovery of a scheme that may endanger the globe leads him into an increasingly shadowy world where he’s uncertain who he can trust. He joins forces with the Black Widow (Johansson) and a new ally, the Falcon (Mackie), to confront this new, Winter-y foe.
Another Semester, another Marvel Movie. Except, of course, they’re never the same film each time, which is why they’re so interesting to watch – each dive into a different genre and add super-heroics to the mix. And this time it’s the conspiracy thriller, as shadowy men lurk around Washington whispering dark secrets. A new threat from old history emerges: the unexpected and formidable Winter Soldier.
Robert Redford’s casting is a deliberate link back to these films, given his history with films like All the President’s Men and Three Days of the Condor, and it gives a fresh flavour to the superheroic action.
9:56 PM, 9th May, 2014
Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Red Wings, a particularly notorious operation in the relatively recent Afghanistan war in which a small team of US Navy SEALs were ambushed in heavy woodlands during an assassination operation, only to have things go from bad to worse when an extraction team was sent in to help. Based on the first-hand account of a surviving team member, originally told in a bestselling book of the same name, Lone Survivor does an excellent job of balancing the drama of the situation with gritty, and occasionally gruesome, action.
The film boasts an excellent cast, with Marky Mark leading a very different Funky Bunch (Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster), sent into action by ‘our’ Eric Bana. All do an excellent job of portraying the strained team dynamic their predicament leaves them in, as well as carrying the action side of things well.
Rather than dwell on the political side of things, or even the wider story of the war itself, Lone Survivor tells the soldiers’ tale. By avoiding the soap-boxing that many other films about the same piece of recent history feel obliged to throw in, writer/director Peter Berg has crafted a far more engaging movie than most of its peers and one that is far more likely to stand the test of time.