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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Looking forward to a new instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCE) is quite nerve-wracking because you never really get what you expect in the end. This works both ways in terms of getting more than you bargained for and getting short-changed. Luckily, Captain America: The Winter Soldier gives you more than you bargained for.
The first Cap movie was enjoyable, but it felt like Marvel really just made it for the sake of establishing the Cap's role in The Avengers instead of really digging deep into the character. This time around you get a better glimpse into what makes America's superhero golden boy tick. You also get to know Nick Fury as an actual person for the first time in all the appearances he's made in the MCE. Winter Soldier is a solid and thoroughly enjoyable movie and can both stand on its own and fits into the MCE nicely.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel has been playing around with the tone of its movies post-Avengers and it worked very well in Iron Man 3 and not so much in Thor: Dark World. Winter Soldier goes more the way of Iron Man 3 in that it's not so much a superhero movie as it is a spy flick or a thriller. This is a great thing and allows the plot to centre more on heroes as people that we can relate to. This change in direction tends to annoy comic book purists and, as much as I do understand that line of thinking, I like how accessible Marvel's movies are to anyone who doesn't read comic books.

Out of place in the modern age

Two years after the alien invasion shenanigans that went down in New York the Cap's (Chris Evans) still working for SHIELD because, unlike the rest of the Avengers gang, he doesn't have anything to return to. He still feels out of place in the modern age, but he's a soldier and keeps going and is largely fixated on doing what he does best: punch the snot out of bad guys. With the Russo Brothers (You, Me and Dupree) at the helm, Winter Soldier plays out as a political thriller and the pace is great. SHIELD itself is in danger in this outing and a lot of moral questions regarding world security and the role of agencies like SHIELD (or the CIA in real-world terms) are explored. This wouldn't be a Captain America story if the evil HYDRA (KGB in real-world terms) didn't make an appearance. They're there in the shadows, working hard to rob the world of its freedoms.

The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), as a character, is actually more of a sub-plot in the movie. He is, of course, the bad guy super soldier for the Cap to face off against and his origins are revealed, but only to a small extent. It seems like they're actually hoping to do something with him further down the line and this movie serves only to introduce him to the audience.

Winter Soldier also sees the introduction of the character of the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) as the Cap's sidekick (very much like Iron Man's Rhodey). He is a cool enough character but Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) does steal the show in this feature. Fury has always been the guy who shows up and says some ridiculous things in other movies and just looks cool. His character's explored in some depth this time around and you start learning why he has issues trusting people. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) makes a return and she is slick as usual. She is the moral contrast of Cap in that she has no qualms about lying to get things done. Their dynamic throughout the movie is great to see.

I highly recommend that you go to see The Winter Soldier; it's very good and just lots of fun to watch. Look out for the Stan Lee cameo and wait for both end credit scenes and then proceed to get excited for Guardians of the Galaxy later this year and Avengers: Age of Ultron next year.

About Charles Siboto

Charles Siboto is a delightful, youngish person. He firmly believes that kindness matters and cannot abide people who are asshats.

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