‘Captain America': The Winter Soldier’: One of Marvel’s best movies - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

‘Captain America’: The Winter Soldier’: One of Marvel’s best movies

 Is Captain America the greatest 95-year-old superhero ever? (Courtesy of Marvel)

3 out of 4 stars

Steve Rogers, known as Captain America, is kissed by fellow Avenger and super-sexy Natasha Romanoff when she asks Mr. Red, White and Blue “Was that your first kiss since 1945?”

“I’m 95,” he replies early in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “I’m not dead.”

Rogers (Chris Evans) doesn’t need a smooch from Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) to prove he’s very much alive –he’s just missed out on plenty of life’s experiences. You can’t blame him, as he was put on ice after he saved the world from Nazi rule in the 1940s before being defrosted 70 years later to save the planet yet again.

It’s been two years since “Captain America: The First Avenger” was a superhero at the box office, grossing more than $176 million domestically and setting a super-sized standard for a sequel you knew was coming.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is one of those rare sequels in which you don’t have to see its predecessor, as the second installment uses flashbacks to tie the 2011 film with the next chapter.

The Winter Soldier has one goal: kill Captain America. (Courtesy of Marvel)

The Winter Soldier has one goal: kill Captain America. (Courtesy of Marvel)

Marvel has perfected the art of turning a comic book into a blockbuster movie in recent years, with “Iron Man,” “X-Men,” “The Avengers,” “Spider-Man” and “Thor” using today’s technology to breathe life into franchises once confined to paper and video games.

But what separates “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is its ability to integrate depth and dimension in its characters with a intriguing plot. In this film, the bad guy isn’t a monster or sinister figure – it’s a corrupt government that wants to create a weapon that can kill any individual with a push of the button.

Call it a war of philosophies:  S.H.I.E.L.D., which turned a scrawny Rogers into Captain America via a genetic experiment during World War II, essentially thinks world peace is obtained by having a the biggest weapon of mass destruction on block. Rogers, however, doesn’t think peace is achieved by holding a gun to someone’s head.

But of course it’s not that simple – not when S.H.I.E.L.D. gets infiltrated by a familiar foe and the pesky Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is trying to kill Captain America.

Evans, Johansson and Stan are perfect for this film, while Anthony Mackie, who plays Sam “Falcon” Wilson, and Samuel L Jackson (S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Nick Fury), are more than complementary pieces.  It also was nice to see Robert Redford be in a movie that’s target audience wasn’t born in the 1960s.

Scarlett Johansson is strong, sexy and overall super as Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” (Courtesy of Marvel)

Scarlett Johansson is strong, sexy and overall super as Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” (Courtesy of Marvel)

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” weaves Rogers’ past and present seamlessly through the film’s 136 minutes by mixing fight scenes, car chases and witty dialogue. Oh, and of course stuff blows up and Rogers uses his lone weapon – his iconic red, white and blue shield – as a discus, battering ram and boomerang to fight evil.

But the movie doesn’t turn into a contest where each scene tries to produce a bigger explosion than the last, which was the biggest weakness of 2012’s “The Avengers,” the last movie to feature Captain America.

This time, Captain America doesn’t need his buddies to prove he can carry a film by himself – again.


About the author

Jon Gallo

Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 19 years of experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game. Contact the author.
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