Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The 390th film I have seen in theaters…

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Iron Man introduced us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Incredible Hulk continued the world building. Iron Man 2 kicked off a rapidly expanding universe as S.H.I.E.L.D. came front and center. Thor astounded us as the the story moved into the fantastical world of Aliens and Gods. Captain America gave us the sense of legacy.

As Avengers amazed us, and Iron Man 3 left us a bit cold, Thor stepped up his game and topped his first film. Can Cap do the same? Yes, true believers, he most certainly can.

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Steve Rogers adjusts to life in the 21st Century as a secret plot within Shield itself threatens to destroy everything he believes in. Meanwhile a person from his past challenges him in a way never before faced.

That, essentially, is the plot. If you have not seen the movie yet, shame on you. It is the best Marvel film to date.

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Chris Evans IS Captain America. Johnny Storm has been forgotten. He walks the line between “Boy Scout” and “Rebel” incredibly well. He sells the idea that truth, justice, and the American way (sorry Superman) are not extinct ideals. They CAN thrive in today’s world if men and woman can stand up for them.

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Scarlett REALLY stands out this time. This is the first of her films where they see fit to actually give her a character to play. What works is that she is finally given room to explore her back story. She has not always been a good guy. Well done.

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Samuel L. Jackson also brings a little extra to the table in this, his 4th, 5th?, turn as Nick Fury. I am anticipating where he goes next as the universe is turned upside-down. No more Shield. Where does Fury go?

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Newcomer Anthony Mackie plays fan favorite The Falcon! This guy fits seamlessly into the universe. Great casting. I could watch a dozen Cap/Falcon movies.

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Sebastian Stan returns as Bucky, the Winter Soldier. He honestly does not do much. He fights, screams, and looks confused. It works though.

What really sells this picture, and sets the tone is this man…

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Robert Redford is a legend. Just having him appear in the film elevates it far beyond expectations. He brings a cinematic “baggage” with him that is inescapable. It works 100%. I still wish he was Red Skull though.

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They made a 1970’s style political thriller disguised as a Comic Book movie…or did they?

This is actually PURE comics. What is presented onscreen is the most accurate reflection of what is in Captain America comics. They nailed it. The fight scenes and action sets were astounding. The hand to hand fight with Batroc was awesome. The car chase scene with Fury was the best I’d seen in year. The battle on the bridge is amazing. Zola? YES! This movie just schooled every other superhero film.

Guardians of the Galaxy will be an entirely different animal, but that’s okay. There is room enough for all.

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