“Most of the intelligence community doesn’t believe he exists. Those who do call him ‘The Winter Soldier’. He’s a ghost…you’ll never find him,” says Natasha a.k.a Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to Steve Rogers a.k.a Captain America (Chris Evans) concerning an assassin who’s targeted a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D team – its director, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – in the superhero action film Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Rogers is a member of the “Greatest Generation” who fought against the Nazis in WWII and not long ago was thawed out of a frozen deep-sleep to join the secret agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. In this Captain America sequel, he’s still trying to adapt to present day life in America and familiarize himself with its culture and new technology while going on secret undercover missions with Black Widow and a small squad of special grunts. But when Fury shows up wounded at Roger’s apartment, handing him a flash drive and telling him that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised and to trust no one (right before the Winter Soldier takes a few more shots at Fury), Rogers realizes he’s on his own to discover who’s behind this attack. Well, almost alone, that is. Loyal to Fury and knowing she can trust Rogers because, after all, he’s Captain America and doesn’t lie or least not very well, Natasha teams up with Rogers and together with Roger’s new running buddy, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), the three work to try to decode the information on the flash drive while trying to stay one step ahead of the S.H.I.E.L.D grunts hunting them down because they believe Captain America and Black Widow are now a threat to the organization.
Action-packed and with some tongue and cheek dialogue, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is sure to be the first big movie blockbuster of the year. It surpasses the original film (Captain America: The First Avenger) in action, pacing, and humor. Chris Evans is solid as Steve Rogers, conveying the young idealistic and heroic soldier from an era long since vanished. He still loves his country and is always willing to do whatever it costs to protect it and to protect the freedom of Americans.
Scarlett Johansson is perfect as Black Widow, the ex-KGB agent who is every bit as capable and even more lethal than her male partner. It’s really impossible to imagine anyone else playing Natasha Romanoff. She’s made the role her own. Evans and Johansson also have great chemistry in the film, teasing each and playing off each other well. Their witty banter is extremely well-scripted as Natasha keeps urging Steve to find a nice girl to date while they’re in the middle of a firefight with some enemy agents and Rogers responding uncomfortably by trying to move off the topic. These little exchanges are funny little crowd-pleasing scenes that ease the tension built up during the fight sequences.
One big drawback to the fast-paced film is that although it has plenty of explosions, chases, and fight scenes, none of them actually stand out as original and one or two are out-and-out rip-offs of what some other truly great actions films did first and better. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is missing what great action films have: some unforgettable, thrilling chases, fights, and jaw-dropping explosions (think back to the truck chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark or the helicopter rescue scene in the original 1978 film Superman). In fact, near the end of the film all the missiles, gunfire, and explosions are so fast and chaotic it’s hard for the audience to follow the action on screen.
But, overall, this Marvel outing is exciting and entertaining. Captain America: The Winter Soldier will undoubtedly appeal to die-hard Marvel and superhero fans and deliver just what they expect from their favorite soldier.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.
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