The first Captain America film was one that I enjoyed the hell out of but wouldn’t consider to be one of the best films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: The Winter Soldier on the other hand, is second to only The Avengers as my favorite film in this action packed universe. Combining a superhero film with a spy thriller, as well as a few new great characters makes this film a big step up from the first.
This time around, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still adjusting to life in the modern world. He’s getting better acquainted to the future but still misses the good old days in the 1940’s. A new threat against S.H.I.E.L.D. brings Steve face to face with someone from his past in the form of The Winter Soldier, a Soviet agent who may be more skilled than Steve himself.
What worked so well in the first film was that the filmmakers were able to make a superhero film work as a period piece. Having a superhero that lives in the 1940’s is no easy task to translate to the big screen but director Joe Johnston made it look easy with a solid first film. With the second film new directors Anthony and Joe Russo had another hurdle to jump, making a superhero film that is also a spy thriller. The Russo’s did a better job than I was expecting and knocked it out of the park.
Just about everything here works to a great extent from the story, to the performances, to the amazing action sequences. The audience is thrown right into the action and you immediately get invested in Steve Rogers and his mission. Thanks to as little CGI as they could use the action scenes here are top notch, even Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) gets a long awaited bad-ass action scene. Adding in the character of the Winter Soldier turns up the tension and he proves to be a much more satisfying villain than the fairly decent Red Skull from the first film.
Chris Evans proves again that he’s a very capable actor and he really shines here in his third venture as Captain America. These Marvel films wouldn’t be anything without some great supporting performances and this one has some great supporting performances. Scarlett Johansson returns as Black Widow, getting a lot more screen time than she did in Iron Man 2, and she does a great job especially in her scenes with Chris Evans. Anthony Mackie does a great job as new character Sam Wilson a.k.a The Falcon who joins Cap and Black Widow in their mission. Returning from The Avengers are Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders who both do well in their roles once again, Sam Jackson getting more screen time than most of his other appearances.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier boasts tremendous action sequences, an extremely engaging story and some great performances making it one of the best Marvel films to date.