As a sequel to The First Avenger and the third big screen appearance of Captain America, The Winter Solider, is the Captain America film we’ve been waiting for and stands as one of the greater achievements amongst the other films in the Marvel cannon. In this film, Steve Rogers, now mostly adjusted to life in the 21st century, uncovers a plot that forces him to face a very familiar foe from his past.
After a good-but-not-great introduction in The First Avenger, Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have stripped away all traces of hokey Stars & Stripes cheesiness attributed the Captain and instead deliver one bone fide Superhero worth sporting a t-shirt for. Armed with a shield and the strength of an armored car, the Russo brothers deliver a Captain America that relies less on CGI wizardry and more on melee combat, athletic skill, and tactical prowess. So although you don’t see any lightning bolts or energy blasts (sorry Thor and Ironman), it is more than made up for in an amazing combination of shield-slinging, bullet-deflecting, and acrobatic dexterity that elevates Captain America to the level of badass superhero.
In his true “Voice of America” fashion, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) becomes unsettled and fearful of a secret Edward Snowden-esque military defense and surveillance government program that’s been in development at SHIELD headquarters. A secret initiative that was ushered along by top SHIELD Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and his long time friend, charismatic politician Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). When the Captain and leather-clad ex-Soviet Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) uncover a conspiracy that’s been decades in the making, they find themselves once again up against the baddies of HYDRA. This time around a mysterious new foe, The Winter Solider (Sebastian Stan), appears to keep the Captain and his allies, including new recruit The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), quiet.
Some standout action sequences include the opening fight on the ocean cargo ship and the ‘unfortunate car accident’ involving Nick Fury. Surprisingly, for a movie titled The Winter Solider, the character remains rather enigmatic throughout the film with only a handful of appearances, but it would be safe to assume that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the character. And although, for a brief moment, one may find it hard to believe that the major plot events of this story are indeed solely self-contained to this film, it is certainly forgivable when considering the difficult task of creating stand alone films within the same Marvel universe. Overall, Captain America The Winter Solider is a film that delivers for the die-hard Marvel fans and the avid movie-goer alike. It is definitely one of the top 5 Marvel films to have come out to date.
Lastly, in true Marvel fashion there are two tags at the end of the film, the first depicts imprisoned super-beings Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch and the second (and totally not worth waiting for) is a quick shot of Bucky Barnes.