Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout
Starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Maximiliano Hernández, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones.
Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on a story by Ed Brubaker, based on the comic book characters created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.
As the Marvel universe unfolds, I can’t help but to try and temper my enthusiasm whenever a new Avengers movie comes out. The expectation mounts, causing all kinds of giddy anxiety (Will it be good? Will it be as awesome as the last one? Squeee!!!). Yes, I’m a geek, and I’m not ashamed to say I was one before it was cool. As Joss Whedon and Fevin Feige’s Avengers world advances, I worry that they couldn’t possibly match, let alone do better than all the other awesome movies produced so far. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the latest Avenger to get a sequel (preceded by Iron Man and Thor).
Chris Evans reprises his role as the title character Captain America (alter ego to Steve Rogers). For a little background, it’s important to recognize that Rogers is really more than 100 years old, having spent most of the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and the early part of the 21st Century in a deep freeze, following a crash in the Arctic during World War II. Rogers left his sweetheart Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and all his buddies behind when he became a “Capsicle,” making him a contemporary outcast (compounded by his superhero status). He also continues to lament the loss of his dearest friend Bucky, apparently killed during a raid against a train controlled by Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), the leader of the Nazi “Hydra” operation.
>>>> SPOILERS FOLLOW <<<<
In present day, Rogers is troubled when he discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his boss Alexander Peirce (Robert Redford) are keeping secrets from him. The situation becomes worse when Fury is attacked by a mysterious “Winter Soldier” and apparently killed. With the help of fellow Avenger Natasha “Black Widow” Romanov (Scarlett Johansson), Rogers discovers that Hydra is alive and well, and operating a shadow government inside S.H.I.E.L.D. Rogers recruits a military veteran named Sam “Falcon” Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to help confront the conspiracy.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier does not disappoint when compared to other movies in the Avengers franchise – and is perhaps better than others (Thor 2, Iron Man 3). The action is intense, the visual effects incredible and the story compelling. Evans steps out of his ‘boy scout’ persona and into something a little darker for his portrayal of Captain America, leaving the audience with something a little deeper to contemplate than other superhero movies.
Another thing Captain America: The Winter Soldier has going for it is the presence of Black Widow in the movie, making it more of a ‘buddy film’ than other Avengers installments. The fight scenes and banter between the two vastly different characters makes for an entertaining ride you don’t get from standalone Avengers films.
Be sure to stick around for the all the end credits (like I have to tell you this for a Marvel movie) for a ‘teaser’ from the upcoming Avengers 2 sequel, which introduces a few very important characters.