Films based on comic book characters always get a bad rap. It could be how cheesy they sometimes come off, or the formulaic way the plots are set up, or it could even be the predictable outcome in the end. You know, incorruptible good always triumphing over menacing evil. Whatever the reason, sometimes it seems like they are rank above rom-coms, but really they should be in a league all their own. Captain America: The Winter Soldier shatters any preconceived notions you have about superhero films, and goes as far as to create a new standard for these type of films that we never imagined possible.
Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still adjusting to life in the present but has a bit more down time, post-Avengers, to settle into his new life. In between SHIELD missions, under the command of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), alongside Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), he finds time to catch up with not only the technology and history, but also the politics of the present. After recovering information from a routine mission, Fury finds himself the target of a conspiracy that threatens his life and that of Captain America and Black Widow’s. SHIELD official Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) is left in charge after Fury is left incapacitated.
Rogers, with the help of Black Widow, decodes the information passed on to him by Fury to find a conspiracy that spans so wide, it may already be too late to stop it. Things are made more difficult with the emergence of the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who has been around over 50 years killing people and hasn’t aged at all. With new enemies around every corner, Captain American must rely on new friends like Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and his neighbor/secret agent Kate/Agent 13/Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp). Will they be able to stop the evil plot, or will the world as we know it come to an end. It’s a no-brainer really.
Don’t discount the fact that you can easily figure out who will win in the end because unlike every other Marvel (and most comic book based) film, the story is well thought through and executed that it is verging on a tense political thriller (not just because Robert Redford is in it either). It’s still an action film of course, but a thought-provoking one at that. When the human embodiment of American patriotism questions our government’s practices, maybe something wrong is going on. The difficult part is toeing the line between fans of the franchise and die-hard fans of the source material. Although fans of the comics will already know some of the major twists I’ve been trying to avoid talking about, they will enjoy all the characters introduced who will play a much bigger role in the future like Falcon, Sharon Carter and Crossbones/Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo).
Plot specifics aside, this film excels in fleshing out their characters, even the elusive Nick Fury. Even though all the CGI and massive explosions would make Michael Bay blush, they are more than pardonable because the story has led us to this gloriously inevitable, over the top orgy of destruction. At over 2 hours, Captain America: The Winter Soldier will leave you wishing there were more, and if you stay after the credits (by now you know you need to), it will only make the wait more unbearable knowing what’s to come.
RATING: ★★★★★★★★★★(10/10 stars)
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