Captain America: The Winter Soldier
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From the studio that brought you the #1 Super Hero movie of all time, MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS, comes MARVEL'S CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, the global phenomenon that teams Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) with their newest ally, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), in a must-own, epic blockbuster! Following the battle of New York, Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, is living quietly in Washington, D.C., trying to adjust to modern life. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague is attacked, Steve is caught in a web of intrigue that threatens the entire world. Now Captain America, Black Widow and the Falcon must join forces to overthrow their insidious enemy's most mysterious and powerful "weapon" yet: The Winter Soldier. Expand your Marvel collection as you relive the ultimate battle for the future of mankind. With compelling characters, both familiar and new, this edge-of-your-seat adventure lets you experience even more pulse-pounding excitement via exclusive bonus features.
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At the start of the film Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America) is still acclimating to modern life after having been frozen since WWII, and is working under the orders of Nick Fury and SHIELD. Already having doubts about SHIELD's motives and methods Rogers suddenly finds himself at the center of a conflict festering at the heart of SHIELD and must fight alongside other agents to stop a villainous plot to establish a new world order. Along the way he'll have to face a dark figure which may be connected to his past and decide what freedom truly stands for.
The Winter Soldier is arguably the smartest Marvel Studios film to date. While still providing the fantastical set-pieces, humor, and over the top action spectacles one would expect from a Marvel film The Winter Soldier's antagonist is grounded in real-world fears, and possibilities. For this reason I felt more invested in the film's action than any other Marvel film to date. While movies like The Avengers and the first Iron Man were fun superhero romps The Winter Soldier actually feels like it is addressing real-world concerns regarding government secrecy and drone warfare in a way which made me feel invested in the characters, and the stakes they were up against. The decision to make it an internal, spy-movie type struggle also quelled any questions like "Where the rest of The Avengers?!" While that constantly bothered me in Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 I never asked that during The Winter Soldier because the nature of the villain makes it believable that most of the film's events are covered up and kept from the other heroes' knowledge.
Then there's Rogers himself who truly defines himself as a superhero in this film. In his first outing and The Avengers Captain America always seemed like a wet blanket, coming across as a giant flag draped Boy Scout. While he was likable enough he never warranted in-depth analysis. That all changes in The Winter Soldier. Here Rogers' reflects on his past, question his own values and whether or not he can uphold them in this cloak and dagger modern world. He is a fish out of water and he knows it. His commitment to remain true to the values that carried him through WWII becomes his character's greatest strength rather than holding his character back. Through clever writing, and tender character moments The Winter Soldier transformed Steve Rogers into quite possibly my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (sorry Tony Stark).
What ultimately sets the Captain's new adventure apart from other Marvel Studios films is that The Winter Soldier is the first standalone Marvel movie since the original Iron Man I've felt actually stood proud on its own two feet. It features everything we know and love about this universe without feeling burdened by references other Marvel Studios films. While Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World had me saying "Can't wait to see the next Avengers" The Winter Soldier had me leaving the theater saying: "I can't wait to see the next /Captain America/ movie!"
For this reason I am giving my full recommendation for Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5