I’ve always liked a super hero with a relatively cheerful nature. No Gothic and gloomy heros like Batman. Snarky and funny like Ironman, sure…semi brooding and intriguing like Spider-Man, okay. Until last year’s über dark “Man of Steel”, my number one superguy, was Superman. But now, my guy is definitely Captain America — personified by Chris Evans in the new “Captain America – The Winter Soldier”.
Although “Soldier” is a satisfying action thriller that works as a stand alone feature, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit of backstory:
Captain America, (Evans) was born Steve Rogers, a sickly-but-determined kid who longed to be a GI in WWII. When recruited by experimental program Project Rebirth, he became a scientifically enhanced Super Soldier, initially utilized as a propaganda, war-bond-selling mascot. Finding his own destiny, Captain America went on to battle Project Rebirth’s Nazi counterpart, HYDRA.
Now, after been frozen in ice for 60 years, Steve Rogers/Captain America finds himself in present day Washington DC, struggling to embrace his role in the modern world while working for Colonel Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), under the command of SHIELD head Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford).
When a close colleague is attacked by mysterious assailant (The Winter Soldier), Rogers realizes that SHEILD has been compromised and teams up with with Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, (Scarlett Johansen, whose character was introduced in Marvel’s “The Avengers”) and newly minted super hero, Falcon (the terrific Anthony Mackie “The Fifth Estate”) to battle the shadowy enemy.
Co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo (“Community”) have done a solid job of bringing the comic book story to the big screen, and “The Winter Soldier” keeps the fun, thrills, action and surprises coming without a moments lag in the 2hr 8min running time.
All the players are top notch, with the charismatic Evans adding some nice nuance, as well as a bit of poignancy to the likable Marvel hero. Johansson sizzles as the smart and lethal Black Widow, and Mackie delivers a solid performance that left me hoping Falcon gets his own spin-off film.
The Bottom Line: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is an enjoyable thrill-ride of a film, and is best viewed on the biggest screen available. (It’s currently playing on IMAX, and I think it’s well worth spending a few extra bucks to see it that way.) Bring the kids and grandkids. It’s so refreshing to see a super hero in a good mood.
Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout)