Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the most political film by far for Marvel as Chris Evans makes his return to the role on the big screen.
It’s been some two years following the Battle of New York and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is living in Washington, D.C. It is a quiet life for the man out of time. He also continues to adjust to this new reality. He’s become friends with military veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Meanwhile, Agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Rogers are off to rescue hostages in the Indian Oceam. They’ve been working together for the last two years so their newfound chemistry shows in the film.
Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is on the run following an assassination attempt. He orders Rogers to trust no one. This makes perfect sense when you think about it. The organization is now compromised. How can we tell who we should be able to trust?!? One of the few people who we can trust happens to be Rogers’ neighbor, Kate/Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp). With Fury off the grid, Rogers and Romanoff must team up together.
Much to our surprise, the two Avengers learn that H.Y.D.R.A is still alive and well. After World War 2, S.H.I.E.LD. employed German scientists, including Arnim Zola (Toby Jones). While his physical body no longer survives, his consciousness lives on. This leads to some pleasant surprises as S.H.I.E.LD. gets turned on its head. Again, we don’t know who we can trust here. In the meantime, Rogers and Romanoff turn to Sam Wilson for help. Wilson proves to be a fine recruit as the Falcon.
When we last saw Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), it was World War 2. Moreover, nobody could ever survive that type of fall from a fast-moving train. Nobody! It turns out that H.Y.D.R.A. did something to him during the war. Most people know him as the Winter Solider but he’s more of a myth if we’re being honest here. Anyway, he’s here with a mission to take out Rogers. This film gives us a few fights between them, one of them which is epic.
Working with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), both Rogers and the Falcon switch out the targeting chips in three new Helicarriers built under Project Insight. It’s easier said than done. If they don’t get it done, thousands of people will be targeted.
Among new additions to the cast, Revenge star Emily VanCamp is definitely underused as Agent 13. When I first learned of her signing on, I was very excited to see her join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Anthony Russo and Joe Russo are television directors known for comedy. Their pedigree includes the likes of Arrested Development and Community so they’re a fascinating choice. Yet the duo do a fine job at moving Captain America further along into the 21st century. Moreover, the vérité style that the filmmakers use is one of the best decisions by far.
Aided by the addition of Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, the film has somewhat of the 1970s thriller vibe going on. Once we reach the third act, we’re in full-on Marvel territory with repercussions to be felt for years to come. This film doesn’t just affect the future films but Agents of S.H.I.E.LD., too. When Marvel fans say that it’s all connected, this is exactly what we mean. I’m totally here for the synergy of it!
With its suspense and political references that are important now more than ever, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a thrilling addition to the Marvel canon.
DIRECTORS: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
SCREENWRITERS: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
CAST: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, with Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson