Captain America 2 is a real surprise hit. Because the first one was so terrible and it set the bar really low, this new installment completely blew itself out of the water. The film is everything that a fanboy could ask for. There’s an immense amount of action and suspense that just keeps on going to near Michael Bay levels, but without all the explosions. And then there are the quiet moments that helps to develop the characters and allows the actors and actresses to really make the character their own through jest and courage. Thus, after walking away, one is left completely satisfied and with the notion that Chris Evans was born to be Captain America.
The first film was a cheesy and campy origin story with slow and poor direction, the Avengers story was great, albeit Cap wasn’t the main focus, but this one – wow – this story is the current definitive take on a Marvel legend. It updates the aged World War II hero and acclimates him to a world filled with fear and trust issues that results into a modern political thriller that forces Captain America to assess who he’s really fighting for and for what he is willing to die for.
But that isn’t the main reason why this film succeeds because we’ve all seen this traitorous story before. This is the first time that we actually get to experience Captain America to his fullest potential, a strong leader who does the right thing even when it hurts. Cap was a good leader in his first two appearances, but he wasn’t strong as he was just getting used to being looked to for guidance. He was timid. But after this story is over, we get a Captain America who has adapted and is well versed to our time and does what is necessary with resolve to do what needs to be done. Moreover, the pieces start falling as this leads to numerous repercussions for the rest of the characters and the Marvel Universe, which in turn makes this film even more pivotal to what Marvel has in store for their numerous films thereafter.
On a more surface level, the movie is not just a serious thriller, but it instead gives fans what they want – a gritty action-packed comic book film, for this one certainly doesn’t bore. From the start, the story just doesn’t let go as we’re invited to a spectacle filled with covert-action, martial arts, and a bunch of high-tech, but not over the top weaponry with exhilarating chase scenes. The choreographed fight sequences are amazing and some of the best stuff I’ve seen recently on this side of Hong Kong. Right when you think an action scene is finished, it just keeps on going, just the way I like it. And Chris Evans can fight.
This installment is also an improvement over its predecessor as the villain isn’t some egotistical maniac bent on destroying the world, but Cap’s main foe is more related to him and his time, and is also his equal or superior in combat. The Winter Soldier is definitely not afraid of Captain America and what his shield represents as he can definitely hold his own against our beloved hero and can go toe-to-toe with him. The Winter Soldier brings a much needed nemesis to torment our protagonist which thankfully elevates how great and powerful our hero must become to achieve victory. The only caveat I have about the film is that I don’t think Cap did enough to help this anguished soul.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a fun and exciting movie much in the likes of a Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt spy film. It’s that good. I can only remember a handful of times that I’ve been thoroughly impressed with an action film while watching it such as Batman Begins, Mission Impossible III, and the new Star Trek because each of their previous iterations left me with a void and wanting much, but thankfully, Captain America is certainly redeemed in this one. In the theater after the very first action scene concluded, I turned to my friend and told him that I think this was going to be a great movie. And then halfway into the film after another action scene, I told him that no matter how this ends, this is a great movie. I was right, and now I can’t wait to see Cap in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America 3.