With “The Winter Soldier”, Captain America is bigger and better than before


Marvel’s leading model of freedom, Captain America, returns in the highly anticipated sequel, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Three years after having gained his superhero status in “The First Avenger,” Captain America continues to go to great lengths to protect the liberty of the world, even when the enemy is the organization he has been fighting to protect.

Struggling to grasp his role in the modern world, Captain America (Chris Evans) is further confused when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the director of the covert government agency, S.H.I.E.L.D., is attacked. With the assistance of his trusted partner Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the two uncover a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. that threatens the lives of millions and jeopardizes the freedoms of those remaining.

As S.H.I.E.L.D. is infiltrated, Captain America and Black Widow team up with The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to prevent the corrupted S.H.I.E.L.D. from obtaining control over the world population. Captain America faces the challenge of fighting a Soviet agent from his past, known in the modern world as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). 

In Winter Soldier, we get the bad-ass we’ve been waiting for without losing the sweetheart we fell in love with.”

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, this movie is for you. The back-to-back frenzy of nerve-wracking action shots makes this the type of movie you don’t want to leave on in the background while you’re doing your homework. “The Winter Soldier” wants your full and undivided attention, and it will get it. Even if the plot points get difficult to follow, the film is very graphically entertaining.

Unlike many movies with the similar theme of world-destruction, “Winter Soldier” has quality comic relief throughout the serious scenes, making the movie more amusing and less overwhelming.

If violence makes you queasy, you’re not out of luck. Focus your attention on the smooth sights of Chris Evans’s and Scarlett Johansson’s bodies, and you should be all set. Ladies, be on the lookout for a shirtless Chris Evans scene.

Although the latest installation of “Captain America” entertains with intense chase sequences, much-needed character development, and sneaky plot twists, there are a few downsides to this movie.

It would be helpful to see the movie’s prequel, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” prior to seeing this film. “The Winter Soldier” is loaded with references to the Marvel Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Captain America comics, and its prequel, which is sure to cause confusion among unprimed audience members.

While this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, recall Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Dark Knight trilogy: each installation was a movie for the masses, not solely DC Comics or Batman fans, as they did not require much outside knowledge to follow along and enjoy.

Most superhero movies do not escape the tragedy of a poor script. There are only just enough cringe-worthy lines in “The Winter Soldier” to make it fit in with “most superhero movies” — but only just. And as expected, the acting is unexceptional, average. Not bad, but by no means anything special.

The good news: “The Winter Soldier” is miles better than “The First Avenger.”

“The Winter Soldier” moves far, far away from the image of skinny Steve Rogers presented in “The First Avenger” and brings us a rougher, tougher, more focused, more serious, and totally buff Captain America. We get the bad-ass we’ve been waiting for without losing the sweetheart we fell in love with. The Winter Soldier is funnier, wittier, and contains more thrilling action scenes than its prequel. We get a better look at the Captain’s personality, as he has transformed from the laboratory experiment to a true US hero. Additionally, its modern setting (as opposed to the WWII setting of “The First Avenger”) relates better to its target audience.

The intense action scenes and gunplay in the movie give it its appropriate PG-13 rating. Though “Captain America” is a Marvel classic, some scenes in “Winter Solider” are too graphic and disturbing for a young child audience.

For the tougher male and female Marvel fans that can handle the induced anxiety of an insane action scene, “Winter Soldier” is pretty worth it. Don’t come in with your expectations ridiculously high and risk dismissing the quality aspects of this sequel.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

–April 4, 2014–