Truly faced with the modern world, Steve Rogers has embraced his role as a soldier for SHIELD. He heads out on a mission with Natasha and a team of commandos to save hostages on a SHIELD battleship. While battling with the terrorists, Steve discovers that Natasha had her own separate mission, leaving a sense of distrust in Nick Fury’s role as the leader of SHIELD. Returning to headquarters, Steve confronts Fury, forcing Fury to reveal their new program, Project Insight, which has been temporarily put on delay. While out investigating some suspicion’s around his organization, Fury is attacked and barely escapes with his life. Finding himself on Steve’s doorstep, he is shot and left for dead, leaving Steve to take on the mission of determining what is behind the attack. His curiosity leads to trouble from within SHIELD, banding Captain America a traitor to the organization and endangering more than he truly realizes.
Starring: Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow), Maximiliano Hernández (Jasper Sitwell), Emily VanCamp (Kate/Agent 13), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Toby Jones (Dr. Arnim Zola)
This film boasted a strong performance from our All-American hero. Chris Evans continued to prove that he was a great choice to take on the role of the do-good hero who struggles with the corruption of the new world he finds himself in. Jackson’s role almost sat just as large, as his character was given more of a role in the plot of the film than his previous moments and cameos. Johansson was both more prominent in her level of appearance and action in the film and less personable, though she had a few moments with Evans that truly stood out. Redford’s role in the espionage, deception, and double-crossing was a good fit. Mackie and Stan were great casts as well, representing a similar sense of good to Captain America and an embodiment of fear in Stan as the Winter Soldier.
Breaking free of the pattern of previous Marvel sequels, Anthony and Joe Russo found the right balance of elements to make an inspiring and complex hero film. The surprise that gets revealed early was that SHIELD was not the peace-protecting organization that it was made up to be. Fury sensed that something was wrong, but felt it necessary to trust no one until what could easily have been his end. Meanwhile, Captain America was having his own identity crisis. While Natasha was attempting to set him up with woman in the agency, he was feeling challenged by the limited information he had from Fury. Feeling a little inspired and supported by Sam’s support of the veterans, he used Fury’s incident as an opportunity to get some answers and try to prove to himself that he could fight for the right thing. With seemingly no allies out in the field, he was left to hope that he could actually trust Natasha, who had proven herself inconsistent in the past.
The film introduced a few new characters and explored some the series’s classics in the process. The Winter Soldier was discovered to be a man from Steve’s past, leaving him distraught about having to both deal with his disconnect with the current world and reintroduction to the old one. With the metal arm, he was truly a match for Captain America. Revealing himself as Bucky, he has an opportunity to make a significant appearance in future Captain America or Avengers films. Sam Wilson felt like the modern version of Captain America, with his moral and truthful personality. His development was a little lacking, but he made an impression through his opportunity. Redford had that sense of corruption on him from the start, as he felt like a politician.
One of the biggest challenges with this film is actually in how it ended. While the spoilers and scenes during the credits added something excellent to the future of the Avengers franchise, the corruption and fall of SHIELD is huge moving forward. Agents of SHIELD has been trying to get off the ground on television, but it could not exist if SHIELD fell based on the events of this film. Hopefully there will be an explanation at some point.
Marvel has proven they can produce a sequel with heart, value, and complexity. There are twists throughout the entire film and plenty of action to appeal to almost any level of fan of the series.
Dan’s Rating: 4.0/5