I love all things superheroes, but I will be the first to admit that Captain America was not one of my favorite comics to collect. I enjoyed the super soldier as a member of The Avengers, but I found his source material very dated and vanilla compared to the mutants of Xavier. That being said, Marvel did a fantastic job bringing one of its founding members of the universe to the big screen in Captain America: The First Avenger. The first Captain America film was part war flick with a dash of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Chris Evans’s Steve Rogers(AKA Cap) became an inspiration onscreen and brought out the patriotism out in all of us. This time around, we leave the 1940s behind for Cap’s new life adjusting to present day society as an Agent of SHIELD in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The fish-out-of-water jokes are at a minimum in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Rogers starting to become more comfortable in his new world. Instead, we are treated to a more serious film that involves espionage and the politics that become entangled in Cap’s missions working for SHIELD. In fact, the movie probably should have been call Captain America: Agent of SHIELD. This is the most SHIELD-specific movie thus far, from Marvel. I enjoyed the look into the shady organization that is supposed to protect us. The conflict Cap goes through as he realizes that sometimes our government can be our own worst enemy is much deeper than previous solo films from Marvel. It’s interesting to witness Cap slowly realize things aren’t so black and white in the times we live in. This makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier one of the more serious Marvel films to be produced. It’s not The Dark Knight serious, but it does have some political aspects that make the audience think a little more than the average superhero movie.

The cast in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is able to shine with the well written screenplay. Scarlett Johansson is basically the other lead as the sexy Black Widow getting more and well-deserved screen time than ever before. Johansson and Evans have great chemistry together even if the relationship is strictly business. They are more kick butt buddies than lovers in the new film. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury plays an integral role as the SHIELD director who is working close with Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce. I don’t want to spoil too much about Redford’s character, but I will say it was nice to see the veteran actor take on a role we were unaccustomed to seeing him play. Anthony Mackie’s Falcon is given a modern-day update and is much more tactical instead of a red and white spandex-wearing hero with wings. The addition of Falcon is a big positive in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but the scene stealer is the Winter Soldier himself.

I’m going to try to keep things as spoiler-free as I can in this next part for people who are unaware of the comic back story for Captain America: The Winter Soldier or the casting on this project. For hardly saying a word, the Winter Soldier is one of the best and most complex villains so far in the Marvel cinematic universe. The mysterious assassin gives Cap a run for his money in the strength and hand to hand combat department – it also helps having a metal arm, which I totally want for myself. Seriously, chop this arm off and attach that bad boy to me. A few other classic villains show up including a version of Arnim Zola, which comic fans like me will love. There are also a few Easter Eggs for die-hard fans of the Marvel Universe. Let’s just say a certain former neurosurgeon living in Greenwich Village is mentioned. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a completely different movie from the first for obvious reasons, but it’s a totally different style of film.  The man out of time aspect makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier a fresh and fun experience once again for Marvel.

Overall, I give Captain America: The Winter Soldier 3.5 out of 4 stars.

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