Anthony Russo and Joe Russo’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, a stylish, muscular action film set in the Marvel Universe, is a worthy successor to the World War 11-set, 2011 “Captain America: The First Avenger”. Fast paced plotting interspersed with banter and great fight choreography makes this my favorite Marvel film so far.
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s script juggles espionage, thriller elements and action interweave, making this the most interesting Marvel plot; the Russo’s set pieces are riveting.
Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) has his hands full from the first minute the film rolls. Evans made his Marvel debut as Johnny Storm in the 2005 “The Fantastic Four” and first played Steve Rogers in the 2011 “Captain America: The First Avenger.”
This installment gives him something to work with. Charged by dying Nick Fury to “Don’t trust anyone,” Rogers seem to be on his own for sections of the film. He enlists ‘The Falcon”, and the possible double agent Black Widow seeks him out.
Visits to the “S.H.I.E.L.D” exhibit at the Smithsonian, and sites of decade’s earlier action, set off an ongoing series of flashbacks.
Samuel L. Jackson is intense and compelling as a betrayed Nick Fury and Robert Redford is wonderful as power broker Alexander Pierce. Their two performances help make this an adult-worthy audience pleaser.
The script uses contemporary geo-political paranoia to build a ‘credible’ threat that raises the film above its Comic book origins, and Redford’s wonderful turn as Nick Fury’s man on the council gives the film an alternate universe 70’s political thriller cred.
Scarlett Johansson is convincing as “The Black Widow” the ex KGB agent turned Shield agent with something to hide. Sebastian Stan plays the ominous assassin ” Winter Soldier”. Anthony Mackie establishes new character The Falcon. His winged warrior swoops through battles like a weaponized Angel. Jenny Agutter plays Councilwoman Hawley; even Garry Shandling shows up as Senator Stern. Toby Jones plays the wicked, long dead Hydra scientist and mastermind. Dr. Arnim Zola. Stan Lee makes his ubiquitous cameo as a guard in the Smithsonian.