Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not just a gem because it’s a great superhero movie. What makes it so spectacular is not even that it is such an astounding and eye-popping action movie spectacle. The sequel to Captain America: The First Avengers is simply a perfect film, regardless of its genre.
Marvel has done a solid job of showing the “what’s next” for our favorite superheroes after the Battle of New York at the end of The Avengers. But, it is Captain America: The Winter Soldier that truly takes us behind the scenes of S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization at the heart of the Marvel universe.
We meet Cap (Chris Evans, better than ever) as he is going for a high-speed jog around the mall in Washington, D.C. – as only he can with his superhuman speed. He passes, repeatedly, Anthony Mackie, who joins the franchise as Sam Wilson. After their respective runs are over, they have a nice conversation about Mackie’s appreciation for Steve Rogers and his service, and we learn that Mackie’s Wilson is a veteran of several tours himself and now he works at a veteran facility that helps soldiers adjust to life after war.
It’s an interesting intro to the film and it does an impeccable job at setting up the budding friendship between Cap and the man who will be the Falcon. But, before we know it, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow shows up in a sports car to whisk Rogers away for our first action sequence. And, unlike some throw-away opening action scenes in movies, this one is integral to the overall arc of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier riveting plot.
We also meet Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, who is central to this mission and the film as a whole. There is also an introduction to Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, a higher-up in S.H.I.E.L.D. The joining of Redford to the Marvel universe speaks volumes as to how far comic book movies have come over the decades. This is an Oscar winner, in the later years of his career, joining a series that could have once been considered child’s play.
It is in fact, one of the best movies of the year and clearly Redford saw that when he read the script.
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s (who will be back for Captain America 3) script is impeccably tight. Yes, the movie clocks in at over two hours… but it cooks. And Markus and McFeely have formed a perfect tandem with directors Anthony and Joe Russo.
The creative force quartet behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier has given us a powerful film that also touches on matters of the day in a way that few movies of this type have. But what is truly astounding is how the plot arc of the film manages to reach all the way back to Cap’s origins in World War II, specifically with its connection to our titular villain, the Winter Soldier.
The Winter Soldier is an almost perfect note for note match for Cap on so many levels. It’s fascinating to witness Cap trying to figure out how to defeat someone who anticipates his move around every turn. It’s an action movie that gets cerebral in that sense and it only adds to the power of the fight scenes.
Then, there is Mackie as the Falcon. He and Evans have impeccable chemistry, and watching Cap and Falcon battle our villain(s) is pure joy in that they are each a yin to the other’s yang. We hope Mackie continues in the role in future installments in the Marvel universe, specifically Avengers: Age of Ultron!
And we would be remiss not to mention the impeccable chemistry between Evans and Johansson as Black Widow. It's fantastic to see these two after the work they did together on The Avengers. The performers rivet as each clearly comes from a different place. She, of a moral compass that finds shades of grey and he, who sees the world in black and white. The pair are incredible together and we cannot wait to see them join forces again in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Our Captain America: The Winter Soldier review can report that Movie Fanatic believes this is Marvel’s best movie yet. And yes, that is saying something. The Avengers was nothing short of brilliant. And if there is a spot past brilliance, this film has found it.
And by the way, stay until the end of the last credits... there are two bonus scenes!
To get ready for the latest Captain America adventure, watch Captain America: The First Avenger online.