The summer has come early. Well that is what it feels like with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The latest film from Marvel Studios continues the story of Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans); who was last seen in the massive blockbuster hit The Avengers. Though he did not leave on the best of term with peacekeeping group SHIELD, that did not stop him from enlisting with the organization. After butting heads with Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson), Captain America finds himself in a plot full of twist and turns as he and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are on the run from SHIELD. The duo face a number of obstacles; including the mysterious assassin known as The Winter Soldier.
Directed by the Russo brothers and the written by the team behind The First Avenger, this sequel had a lot of promise when I walked into the theater. The trailer not only showed off the action, but a tension that has not been seen in any film from Marvel Studios. So just how good was Captain America: The Winter Soldier?
The story to The Winter Soldier is hard to talk about. There is so much to the plot that it just needs to be seen. However, if I have critique this story, then I will. The plot is everything you should expect from a great sequel. The tie-in with The First Avenger is nearly perfect. You can watch both films back to back and never loose a beat. Along with the playback to its predecessor, The Winter Soldier ups the anti to every aspect of the story. What was once just a adventurous plot for Captain America becomes an intense tale that will have you intrigue until the very end. While I could figure out what was going to happen, I was never bored with the plot. The only problem I had with the the story was that I wanted it to explain how Captain America joined SHIELD and it did not; but this issue was nothing more then a nitpick. The screenwriting team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have out done themselves by with this script as The Winter Soldier had a bold story to which the likes have not been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Chris Evans rocks as Captain America. If Evans wants to direct, I am all for it as long as he comes back to play Steve Rogers just a few more time. I was not sure what the powers that be were going to do with the character of Captain America. For all I knew, the movie was going to have Steve playing the man out of time card again. However, it never felt like that as the trait was only one part of Capt's character. This time around, Steve Rogers was a man adjusting to the modern time while still standing by his beliefs. That sounds like Captain America to me.
Along with Captain America's solid character was a strong supporting cast. Scarlett Johansson was back again as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. While the character was not as strong as she was in The Avengers, her dynamic with Capt was quite engaging. While both Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson had solid performance, two stars managed to break from the fold. First is Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/ Falcon. Falcon was no doubt a supporting character; but every scene he is in soars as high Falcon can fly. Mackie's chemistry with Evans was just engaging. It felt as though the two were really friends. Then there is a The Winter Soldier. This villain pops up every now and again and he has at least 10-20 lines; and yet he is one the most engaging Marvel antagonist to hit the big screen. It feels like the people behind the scenes have big things planned for this character, and if that is true, I won' t complain.
To round out the cast are heavy hitters like Samuel L Jackson and Robert Redford. Samuel L Jackson has another entertaining performance as Nick Fury. However, Fury's role in this film rounds out his character. Then there is Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce. It is not hard to figure out the direction of Pierce, but only Redford could pull off such a subtle performance of this magnitude. Add a few reprisals, a fun minor villain and a decent performance from Emily VanCamp and you have the strong unit that made up this ensemble.
Last and certainly not least was the action. The action to this movie was flawless. I enjoyed the action in Iron Man 3 as well as Thor: The Dark World; but the sequences in The Winter Soldier escalated the heart pounding trait we expect to see in a Marvel film. If I had to pick which scene was my favorite, I would go with the street fight between Captain America and Winter Soldier. While the sequence had a shaky cam, it only added to the outstanding choreography and the rush that made this fight great. Aside from that scene, I would add Capt's escape from the SHIELD headquarters and aerial sequences of Falcon; but then again, it is hard to pick and choose between all the action for this sequel. To put it simply: every sequence, every fight scene had me on the edge of my seat.
Was Captain America: The Winter Soldier as good as I was hoping it to be? No...it was better. The Winter Soldier is the strongest film from Marvel Studios since The Avengers. The movie is a wonderful continuation for Captain America as it unexpectedly,expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With its tension and entertainment, The Winter Soldier is a must see for fans; or any moviegoer looking for a great blockbuster to this weekend.