Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios’ ninth cinematic installment, is the most grounded and faithful adaption of a superhero comic book to the big screen thus far.
Having been on a roll since 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel Studios has become this generation’s new Pixar insofar as the comic book-to-film studio has yet to release a critical or commercial dud since its inception.
Unfortunately for the naysaying cinephiles who have been chomping at the bit to cry foul at a Marvel Studios release, Captain America: The Winter Solider is not only a solid action film in its own right, but a fantastic universe-building addition to Marvel’s pantheon of interconnected films.
Partially inspired by the epic series of Captain America comic books written by Ed Brubaker entitled “The Winter Soldier,” the film begins months after the alien invasion of New York City seen in The Avengers, and features a more hardened and skeptical star-spangled avenger (Chris Evans).
Though still employed by the shadowy and omnipresent S.H.I.E.L.D. organization – think a global NSA, FBI and CIA – Captain America has begun to question the motives and orders of the group’s director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). The film opens with a breathtaking action sequence where Captain America, per Fury’s order, performs a black-ops mission with the aid of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) aboard a hijacked cruise liner.
This opening scene is an immediate punch to the gut for longtime Marvel Studios’ fans who may not be familiar with the Captain America found within the Marvel comic book. Though we’ve seen Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, kill aliens in the movies, most viewers will be shocked to see the red, white and blue hero murder his enemies. In the opening sequence alone, we see Cap choke out, stab and smash the skulls of multiple foes.
In a spectacular fashion, Captain America: The Winter Solider dismantles the long-held belief that Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. organization can be trusted. Shortly after, movie-goers are introduced to Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) who further plants seeds of doubt in the head of Captain American concerning Nick Fury. Compounding problems for our hero is the emergence of the mythical Soviet assassin turned real, the Winter Solider, who is relentless in preventing him from saving the day.