One mark of good filmmaking lies in the filmmakers’ ability to take something time-tested and to not only make it fresh and exciting, but also to bring it into the here and now – to add a current theme. With Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Anthony and Joe Russo and crew manage to do just that. What makes The Winter Soldier better than the first Captain America is that our hero moves from battle fantasy villain into the world of espionage, where the enemy is more real and current. Thematically more appealing to a modern world, this is one comic book hero whose ideals we should all aspire to.
We catch up with Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) on a run around D.C’s reflecting pool, lapping soon-to-be new friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), and within minutes, Rogers, along with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) finds himself engaged in battle with hijackers on the high seas. But nothing is really as it seems and Rogers no long knows who to trust – except that is for Wilson and Romanoff. Fighting for their lives and for the safety of the world our hero and his friends take on villains within and without of S.H.I.E.L.D.
While its cast shines, the film’s true stars are it grandiose action sequences, the impeccable CGI imagery and its multi-faceted plot –merging the Marvel world with the modern one. Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks impressive, vivid, dark, and yet wickedly colorful and wonderfully thrilling. Car chases, hand to hand combat and Captain’s impressive shield wielding make for some exciting and awe-inspiring moments. While younger audience might go a bit dull-eyed at a few of the slower moments, I stayed involved in the characters’ banter, made all the more appealing by witty comic relief and crisp dialogue and delivery. Rogers keeps a small note pad highlighting “must-dos” of the current century – Thai food, Star Wars, and Wilson introduces him to Marvin Gaye. We see deeper into characters as Natasha constantly tries to get him into the dating scene and the Captain struggles with being up-right in a low-down world. Capping things off, with the introduction of the Falcon, a sly S.H.I.E.L.D committee member (Robert Redford) and inclusion of the titular “Winter Soldier” (Sebastian Stan) the movie’s twists and turns are brilliant.
Thanks to Marvel and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, we get an intelligent and engaging storyline and true red, white and blue American hero, who fights in the name of justice and the people. As a warning to parents, I’ll add that the PG-13 rating comes from excessive violence. I am placing an A in my grade book. Captain America: The Winter Soldier gives a delightful send off into the spring/summer blockbuster season!