Review: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ starts summer season earlyWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
The First Avenger is back in theaters and this time he faces the Winter Soldier.
Director Fury is also back, along with Black Widow, and S.H.I.E.L.D. is in trouble.
Sound like code?
There is a farrago of people, places and things in the superhero Marvel universe in which audiences can easily lose themselves. It’s easy to begin saying, “Who is that again? What happened?”
The latest movie in the expansive franchise, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” continues the saga and focuses on the First Avenger himself — Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans).
“The Winter Soldier” finds Cap, as he’s called in the movie, in the midst of a slight identity crisis. The end of the first movie found him waking up from a deep sleep in present day. He’s made a list of things to do, which includes certain music, topics and films.
But does he still want to fight and be a soldier?
“For the longest time, I just wanted to do what’s right,” he says. “Now, I just don’t know what that is.”
S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization charged with protecting Earth from enemies at home and away, doesn’t seem like the place he’d like to be.
Its director Nick Fury (played as always with a cool swagger by Samuel L. Jackson) also seems to share the sentiment. Something isn’t quite right.
One thing is for sure: Don’t mess with the Winter Solider. Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), learned this truth on her numerous encounters with him. Captain America will also learn this lesson.
Required viewing for this sequel includes the 2011 predecessor “Captain America: The First Avenger,” along with 2012’s “The Avengers.” The other Marvel movies don’t quite figure into the storyline here, even though Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye and the Hulk should theoretically be around the corner to pinch-hit with battling whatever enemy comes their way. (Audiences have to wait for a reunion until next summer when “Avengers: Age of Ultron” comes out May 1.)
Comic books fans will love the mid-credits scene, which teases future Marvel projects (no spoilers here).
Ohioans, look for an appearance of the fountain and shopping center at Tower City in downtown Cleveland.
Overall, “The Winter Soldier” builds on the impressive oeuvre in the Marvel movie collection. While it’s missing some of the heart of the first Captain America outing, there are twists and turns in this early summer blockbuster to keep audiences entertained and thrilled.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.
Toledo Free Press Design Editor and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com. Watch James discuss movies every Friday on WTOL-11′s “Your Day.” Listen to James discuss movies on “Eye on Your Weekend” on 1370 WSPD every Friday at 6 p.m.