4 out of 5 stars (one of the best in its series)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a prime example of how to do a sequel right. It builds on everything that was good about its predecessor while still being a solid standalone movie. I also applaud the inclusion of pointed political commentary that actually feels like it was researched and understood by the screenwriters before it was placed in the story. But explosion junkies have no fear: all of that weighty material is perfectly balanced out by good old fashioned action that services the narrative and almost never overstays its welcome.
We follow Steve Rodgers/Captain America (A dryly charismatic Chris Evans) as he is adjusting to modern life after being defrosted by the military. Working with Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) as a field agent for secret government organization SHIELD, Steve doesn’t exactly trust that the men upstairs are honest about their work, a suspicion proven when someone puts a hit on SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Worse still, high-ranking senator Alex Pierce (Robert Redford) believes Steve was involved, causing him and Natasha to go into hiding and eventually encounter someone from Steve’s past who will complicate the mission even further.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier holds up better than most other comic book films. It’s a political thriller and character piece before an action extravaganza, and that increases its appeal beyond comic junkies. It also humanizes Steve Rogers and handles its plot quite smoothly. This is the kind of movie that knows how to serve up awesome battle sequences and character drama in equal measure. Action fans will be more than satisfied, and people like me who enjoy actual stories should be entertained too. See it.
Rated PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Violence, Action, and Gunplay Throughout