Marvel Entertainment and Disney have outdone themselves with their latest blockbuster. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is a non-stop action thrill ride with a great mix of mystery, suspense, and humor.
Not your typical superhero movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is part political suspense thriller, part sci-fi, and all action. The movie is a multi-layered story and far surpasses the first Captain America in story, characters, and action.
After the events of the Avengers, Steve Rogers is living in Washington D.C. and fighting evil once again as Captain America while working on missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. Cap gets caught in a web of intrigue and a mystery that goes deep in the huge S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.
Attacked by assassins and hunted by the organization he once worked for, Cap teams up with the Black Widow and new friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a.k.a. the Falcon, to solve the mystery and fight to save millions before it’s too late and he ultimately has to face down the mysterious villain and assassin known as the Winter Soldier who has ties to Cap’s past.
Like any great movie this is very character driven and dives deep into what makes these characters: Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansen), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who they are at their core and what motivates them and makes them tick.
Evans is fantastic as the confident and old fashioned Steve Rogers, the ultimate Boy Scout but still unafraid to give the bad guys a beating. Johansen plays the Black Widow with more humor and a more flirtatious and seductive demeanor. Jackson’s Nick Fury is secretive and over confident and tough as nails.
The action in this movie is awesome. Captain America’s fighting style has improved since previous movies and he is like an acrobatic Jason Bourne on steroids. Chris Evans was quoted saying that he wanted the fighting style to be more like the video game that was based on the first movie. The fight scenes are very fluid and almost like a beautifully choreographed dance.
The movie also has a lot of heart. Part of this is seen when Steve Rogers visits his old flame Peggy who is now in a nursing home. Also, we see the care and humanity of the story when Sam Wilson is counseling a group of veterans with post traumatic stress.
The movie touches on a lot of relevant and political themes for today. The question of “How much freedom are we willing to give up for security and will we do so blindly?” is a reflection of the growing big government issue in Washington and the security issues with the NSA. The importance of valuing our veterans when they come back from war is another modern theme. Other prevailing themes are loyalty to friends and having the courage to fight for what is right.
The greatest thing about the movie is Captain America is a heroic character with a strong and unnerving moral code. All too often lately Hollywood has the heroes in movies as a dark character with questionable morals himself. Or reluctant characters who get dragged into being the hero against their will.
Captain America stands strong as a symbol of not only what is good in America but in humanity itself, the self-sacrifice and fighting for what is right. Steve Rogers’s greatest power in the movie is not his increased speed and strength but his will to stand up for what he believes is right no matter what.
The movie shows that the character may be a superhero and a soldier, but at the heart of the character is just a man trying to stand up for what is right and help his fellow man.
Captain America is rated PG-13 for violence and some brief language. As always, with any Marvel movie, stay after the credits for an extra scene.
– James Osborne, Contributing Writer