Unlike the first “Captain America,” which ultimately felt like a setup for “The Avengers,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” feels much more like a story for the character.
Now that the origin story is out of the way, we finally get to see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, “The Avengers”) be Captain America. He definitely delivers in what is arguably the best post-Avengers Marvel film.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” picks up with Rogers working for S.H.I.E.L.D. alongside Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson,“Her”).
As a man out of his time, he struggles to fit in the modern world with a set of values, different from his own. He’s joined by S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson,“Robocop”) and newcomer Falcon (Anthony Mackie “Runner Runner”). Together they must fight against The Winter Soldier, a ghostly assassin who is an equal match for Captain America.
The entire cast has great chemistry, but it is the relationship between Rogers and Black Widow that ultimately stands out. Evan and Johansson are wonderful together. They exchange banter and their friendship is enjoyable to watch. Mackie is a great addition and brings a lot of humor to his role. Jackson is, as always, perfect as Fury, bringing the right amount of finesse and enigma to the character. All the side characters add a lot to the film, and not one of them felt out of place or shoehorned into the movie.
Unlike the first “Captain America” where we got to see very little of the Captain doing his thing, we get plenty of it this time around. The action is impressive. It’s well-shot and choreographed, and shows off Captain America’s talents.
There are also quite a few heartbreaking moments in the film, considering that most of the people Rogers knew in the first film are dead. As a character, Rogers has had a fairly depressing past. The film doesn’t shy away from these tearjerker moments, instead embracing them as part of the story and they are very effective.
The Russo Brothers, Anthony and Joe, were an interesting choice to direct seeing as they’ve mostly worked in television on shows like “Community” and “Arrested Development.” Still, their direction was spot-on, handling both the big fight scenes and the smaller personal scenes well. They didn’t shy away from the more intimate parts of the film, giving us much more than just a mindless action film.
This film is a step up from the first “Captain America,” with higher stakes. We get to see Rogers develop as a character and see his relationships with the people around him grow. The Winter Soldier was a great antagonist to Rogers. The story was complex but not convoluted, and kept the audience in suspense while delivering the action.
As part of Marvel’s ongoing universe, it was nice to see a film that tied into the world, but was ultimately a personal story about Rogers. The film didn’t feel like it was setting up the next Avengers, but had finally given Rogers his time to shine in a movie that was equal parts thrilling, heartbreaking and action-packed. “Captain America: The Winter Solider” has everything you could want in a film.