Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Like any great sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks to outshine its predecessor. Ever since The Dark Knight set the standard, superhero sequels have never been looked at the same. Sequels were once cheap money grabs, a cash in on popular names that normally looked to rehash the originals for a quick buck. Recently, however, and thanks to great sequels like The Dark Knight, Marvel has constantly looked to step up film after film. After all, their heroes are built for series, but if you want to keep us in the seats these days you have to give us more than the same hero in a slightly tweaked story. We need more; more character development; better back stories; stronger villains and great challenges for our heroes to overcome.

In comes Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the latest in the post-Avengers Marvel canon. I can say with a good amount of certainty that this is the best superhero film since The Avengers rocked theaters in 2012. Even with some fairly high expectations going in, I was pleasantly surprised by level of polish on the newest entry.

I’ll go ahead and assume anyone reading this is familiar with the first Captain America film. A pulpy fun romp that, while not serious, possessed a certain confidence and swagger I hadn’t seen since the first Iron Man film. The Winter Soldier picks up in the post-Avengers world. Steve Rogers is going about the normal life of a day-to-day superhero, running laps around Washington D.C.’s famous landmarks. Of course, things aren’t calm for very long and, after the obligatory opening action sequences, we are treated to a surprisingly thought out plot about the future of the world’s freedom. I found this plot to be somewhat heavy-handed, but it did raise some relevant points about the current state of affairs.

I never like to get into detail heavy on the plot but, as the title suggests, we are also introduced to The Winter Soldier, a robotic armed assassin who has supposedly been active for fifty years. The Winter Soldier is brought in to hunt down and kill Captain America but, as many fans of the comics know, a deeper connection lies dormant between the two men. I won’t spoil it in case you aren’t familiar but as with any great superhero film, a great villain is needed. The Winter Soldier is a great villain.

However, he isn’t the only villain, not really. Rogers soon finds out that he is in for something that he could have never prepared for. SHIELD is on the brink, and his mentor is out of options. For the first time it seems, Rogers is acting almost entirely on his own accord, and Chris Evans continues to bring new layers to the character. Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), likewise gets a good amount of screen time to develop her character. At the rate she has been going lately (2 more films coming out this year at least), and Marvel announcing film plans for up too 2028, I think she has a great chance of getting her own film. I just hope it’s not another Elektra.

At the end of the day, most people will know whether or not they want to see this movie. If you liked the first film it’s a no brainer, because directors Anthony and Joe Russo bring the perfect balance of comedy, action and depth for one of the best superhero films ever. It’s more grounded in reality; wildly fun; and deeper than I thought it could get. My only real complaint is that the occasional lines of dialogue fall flat due to some typically cheesy comic book lines. Also, if I really wanted to nit pick, I could say that some of the action could have been edited cleaner. By and large, those are minor hiccups in an otherwise fantastic piece of craftsmanship. The Winter Soldier will please old fans and new, so head to the theater this weekend!

 

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