Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the latest feature in the Marvel Studios franchise, and is definitely the strongest post-Avengers film yet.

Chris Evans reprises his role as the displaced super-soldier trying his best to find his place in the modern world. Evans’ portrayal works well with the film’s solid script that blends action and characterization seamlessly, making the Captain a genuinely engrossing character.

The film retains a few elements The First Avenger handled well, such as the portrayal of Captain America, but the main difference between the two films is the strength of the Winter Soldier’s script. The story borrows heavily from Ed Brubaker’s run on the Captain America comics, while managing to streamline some of the more convoluted aspects of the comics.

The plot revolves around the Captain trying to navigate a web of subterfuge within the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D, while a lot of shit blows up nice along the way.

For the most part, the supporting characters are fleshed out extremely well. Nick Fury’s cynicism brings some much needed depth to his role, while working as a contrast to Captain America’s somewhat naïve idealism. Both Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Anthony Mackie as Falcon do justice to their respective characters, and feel like integral parts of Captain America’s team.

As you may have seen in the trailers or in the countless commercials, Robert Redford is indeed in the film. He plays a cardboard cutout of Robert Redford left out to crease in the sun. He adds little more than his name to the film, which seemed to be the point, but at the very least, he doesn’t detract from the movie.

Ironically, the most engaging action scenes in the film are the ones where Captain America is absent. The car chase with Nick Fury is so over the top due to its length and the amount of high tech gadgets in his vehicle. It almost becomes hilarious, and it’s just fun to watch.

The aforementioned gadgetry and plot revolving around espionage makes the film feel less like a superhero movie and more like one of the Mission Impossible films, except Winter Solider is actually enjoyable. While the film is essentially a dumb action movie, it’s a dumb action movie with heart and it doesn’t feel nearly as cynical or dark as it could have been. There’s plenty of references to the comics for the fans and plenty of action throughout a solid story for everyone else.


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