What I thought made Captain America: The First Avenger so good was that it took the modern superhero trend and styled itself around a World War II film from the 1950’s. They kept to the genre-bending with our hero’s new installment, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but this time using an action-spy thriller as it’s framing. Hats off to the Marvel and Disney, because they pulled it off, adding to their universe a film that is more Jason Bourne than Tony Stark, yet stands comfortably as one of the best they’ve made.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still adapting to modern life after being frozen for decades and then saving the world from an alien invasion. In between catching up with information and media that he’s missed over the years, Captain America is leading S.H.I.E.L.D. missions under the direction of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). During a mission aboard a captured S.H.I.E.L.D. ship, Cap discovers that Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has different motives entirely, thus leading to questioning the secretive motives of his own organization, and that of Fury.
To discuss more of the plot would be to take away what makes this new installment so great. I will say that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised and Fury tells Captain America that no one can be trusted. And of course we meet The Winter Solider, an assassin that has been molding history from the shadows for the last fifty years. He is a supreme threat to the team, being able to match Cap blow for blow with what seems to be equal strength. No one is safe, and as we learned before, no one can be trusted.
The action is superb throughout. The fight scenes prevail with the use of hand-to-hand combat, which although reminiscent to the Bourne films, takes it up a notch - to a superhero level if you will - with kicks, punches, and shield throws that all send foes flying. And when it’s less about the fight and more about the flight, the chase scenes are exceptionally fun. Let’s just say Captain America doesn’t really have a use for doors while on the run.
There are a few things to pick apart, but the film is executed so well that it would feel like a waste of energy to do so. It’s quite the ride, and while certainly establishing what other films in the universe will have to deal with, The Winter Soldier can hold it’s own among them. I’d be lying if I wasn’t excited for the next adventure. [A-]
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