For better or worse, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the landscape of the superhero genre and has done things unlike any other film series in cinematic history. Where things began with the first Iron Man film in 2008, culminated into a epic comic book extravaganza in 2012’s The Avengers. Now, two years after The Avengers, Marvel has managed to create something so unique in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that it begs to be seen by anyone and everyone. Where all of the previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has stayed within the confines of their respected genres, Marvel’s latest offers viewers an incredible political thriller, a summer popcorn film and a superhero film that manages to explore multiple aspects that a film like this has never done before.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier picks up where The Avengers left off, where Captain America has integrated himself into S.H.I.E.L.D. as a field agent in the modern era. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is maintaining a solid life by trying to play catch up as well, trying to find out about all of the opportunities he’s missed and be the dutiful soldier he can be. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) does everything in his power to make sure that everything is its right place, but soon finds out that things at S.H.I.E.L.D. are not what they seem. There’s a traitor among the ranks, that runs pretty deep, that places Nick Fury in the crosshairs in the modern rendition of Hydra and The Winter Soldier, a ghost operative that various spies and countries have heard of, but never fully seen. With Nick Fury’s worst fears coming true, Captain America, Black Widow and The Falcon must do whatever necessary, in order to stop both Hydra and The Winter Soldier.
What makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier so invigorating is that where all of the other films briefly showcased the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this film just comfortably places itself into it. It explores previous incidents, hints at future events and characters, but most importantly, it creates a set of problems that has major ramifications that leaves things broken. This feels rewarding because they’re huge risks and the chances of great drama, character development or interesting plot points are created within the film. Chris Evans does a good job at playing the displaced soldier, one who believes in his duties and believes in his work. One of the best elements of the film was his interactions with Black Widow, in which Scarlett Johansson brings a human touch to the spy, unlike her previous incarnations in both Iron Man and The Avengers. For a major portion of the film, they must team up and work together, where they must trust each other completely. With her background as a spy, she feels conflicted as she must let her guard down, in order for both her and the good Captain, to fully function as a team. Another fantastic addition to the film is Anthony Mackie’s performance as Sam Wilson, The Falcon, who brings some charm, great dialog and most importantly, diversity that the films have needed for quite some time.
All of the technical aspects of the film are fully realized and executed to perfection, from the writing to the action set pieces, that showcase how excellent Captain America is. I didn’t know what to expect from Joe and Anthony Russo, given their background in TV comedies, but the two of them prove that they know exactly how to handle a major blockbuster film, with some brains to match. All of the action set pieces are brilliantly shot, feel fully motivated and progress the plot in a sublime fashion. There was only a portion during the end of the film, where the Helicarriers are involved, that felt really out of place and zapped me out of my viewing experience. This is really the only thing that I can nitpick about because everything else about the film is just that damn good.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the strongest Marvel movies to date and there are a multitude of reasons why. From the thrilling action, to the execution of the story, to its bold direction that changes up the status quo for everything Marvel related, there really no reason why you shouldn’t see this film. Highly Recommended!