When I first saw the trailer for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," I was hopeful and yet also worried. I enjoyed "Thor: The Dark World" but worried that the new Marvel would be a dud like "Iron Man 3." After hearing good reviews about it, I went out and saw it last weekend.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
"The Winter Soldier" takes place a few years after the events of "The Avengers." Steve Rogers is working for S.H.I.E.L.D and also adjusting to the modern world. He, however, is suspicious of Fury's secrecy and about S.H.I.E.L.D making new helicarriers that could wipe out thousands of people at a time. After Fury is attacked by a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier, the Captain, suspicious of Fury's boss Alexander Pierce, comes under suspicion and is forced to flee from the company. He must team up with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Sam Wilson/The Falcon to find out the truth and discovers that an old enemy from his past is alive and well.
The story was a bit difficult to understand in some places, namely because it is a conspiracy with different players. I was confused about whether Fury was really involved in the pirating attempt or if he was being framed, but a second viewing may clear this up. I generally liked the plot and the tie-ins to the first "Captain America," though there were a few inconsistencies. I also wasn't sure about the leading up to the last, big battle and if the helicarriers were a mere test run, but again a second viewing may explain this better. I did like the humor that was thrown into the film; much like "Thor: Dark World," it was well-placed and added a lighter element to an otherwise serious story. I also liked that the story was moved from the World War 2 era to the modern era, which made it a bit darker and more realistic in tone.
The characters were also good. Scarlet Johansson had a bigger role as Natasha Romanoff, and she and Chris Evans formed a good partnership; on a related note, I was relieved that there was no romance between the two. Robert Redford was a good choice to play the sleazy, scheming Alexander Pierce. Sebastian Stan also did an excellent job as the brainwashed Winter Soldier, a good rival for the Captain. Fury had a bigger role, though I was a bit unsure about his role in the entire scheme though that was more of a plot issue. Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson, who teams up with the Captain and Natasha; he wasn't a bad sidekick, though he could have been better developed.
The effects for the film were good. More than half, I believe, was not CGI, which proved for good action scenes. The action scenes were well-done, and the pace of the movie was generally good.
I found myself thoroughly enjoying "The Winter Soldier." I found it a worthy addition to the Marvel universe and am definitely looking forward to seeing it again.
I give the film four out of five stars.
In Memoriam Pádraig Duggan
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