Captain America: The Winter Soldier caps off the spring season and sets the bar high for the rest of the summer blockbusters to follow. Chris Evans returns to the red, white and blue as America’s most-admired superhero, Captain America. To catch you up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, directed by Joe Johnson (October Sky), we meet a 1940s Steve Rogers (Evans). Rogers is a scrawny Brooklyn kid who is transformed into an elite supersoldier to fight off the Nazis. Rogers ends the war but is frozen in the process. Later, he wakes up in present day to finally suit up with Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk for director Joss Whedon’s (TV show Firefly) Marvel's The Avengers. Together they help fight off Loki, who has the Tesseract (a blue cube like thing) that can destroy the world.
Now, in The Winter Soldier we see how the Cap adjusts to society after being asleep for about 70 years. Rogers has his own to-do list, including disco, Rocky and Star Trek/Star Wars. Evans is solid in the red, white and blue and digs deeper into his human side. The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (directed episodes from Arrested Development and Community), who together know how to pace the film and still deliver exhilarating action. The Russo brothers also use handheld cameras to give the film a more close-up feel. The Winter Soldier is one of the more crafted films since the first Iron Man. This script is nicely written together by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (The Chronicles of Narnia series and Captain America: The First Avenger), who grapple with real political issues. The Winter Soldier is more than your average superhero flick; it’s a spy thriller, action adventure and superhero movie all combined into one film. Markus and McFreely also know how to throw in the right kind humor at the right time. The Cap stays witty without being cheesy.
The plot focuses on S.H.I.E.L.D. and its troubled past. The Cap is protected under the watchful eye of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who tells him there is a rat in the system. This is Jackson’s sixth film in the series and probably his best performance out of all of them. After S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised from the deadly and mysterious Winter Soldier (whose name I won’t give away for spoilers) the Cap, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) have to go on the run from their own agency. Of course, we have to accept the fact that even in a dangerous situation like this the Cap does not need the rest of his Avenger buddies to help him out. This is an ongoing plot hole in the series but we can look past it. The film turns into a delicious cat-and-mouse thriller and also exposes S.H.I.E.L.D.’s haunted past.
Other noteworthy performances are by a sneaky Robert Redford, who plays the senior leader within S.H.I.E.L.D., Alexander Pierce. He believes we can destroy hostiles before they become hostiles, and accomplishes this through the program, Project Insight. Now it’s up to the Cap and the rest of his pals to find out S.H.I.E.L.D.’s true past, while also taking down the baddies and this mysterious Winter Soldier. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a solid blockbuster film that sets the bar high for the rest to follow this summer. It delivers exhilarating action plus that spy thriller feel. Overall, this is one of Marvel’s most well-crafted films to date. It’s good to have you back Cap … it’s good to have you back.
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