Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Running Time: 2 hours 16 minutes
The more missions that Captain America (Chris Evans) does for S.H.E.I.L.D., the more he becomes concerned that the line between right and wrong has been irrevocably blurred. Even as he is given reassurances by Col. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) that this is the new reality of freedom, Cap is plagued by doubts. There is a momentous project on the horizon from S.H.E.I.L.D. that will change the face of global security, but there may be a more sinister agenda at work behind the scenes. When a new threat known only as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) leaves Fury fighting for his life, there may finally be too many powerful enemies for Captain America to overcome.
Marvel continues to impress me with the stories they are putting forward and the way they have managed to evolve their characters while introducing real-life issues into the narrative. With Captain America: The Winter Soldierthey have raised a very interesting question about how much freedom are we willing surrender in the name of safety. Even without mentioning it directly, the NSA wiretapping scandal, Edward Snowden’s intelligence leaks and the morality of the drone programs are all alluded to in some way. While Captain America may not be as dynamic a character as Tony Stark or as powerful as Thor and the Hulk, the story he is responsible for telling may be the most interesting, and Chris Evans is flawless at showing Cap’s moral absolutism as his greatest strength when in a lesser performance it might play as naivete.
In interviews leading up to the premiere, I repeatedly heard that this was the film that started to peel away the layers of the Black Widow, but that wasn’t done as effectively as I was hoping it would be. Johansson does give Natasha Romanoff a few key moments of vulnerability but those scenes feel abbreviated and while her past is constantly referenced, we aren’t given any more pieces to her puzzle than we were already holding. Otherwise, the mini-team of Captain America, Black Widow and The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) works really well on screen together and Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier is especially dynamic in the fight sequences, which are as good as any in the Marvel series. This movie scored time and time again, even delivering some great teases post-credits. I had a tremendous time at this movie. A