3.5/4

Captain America: The Winter Soldier [2014]

new-captain-america-the-winter-soldier-poster-lands-155226-a-1391176963-470-75Yes! Yes! Yes! We have a winner. Apologies if I’m fangirling, but how can I not? Marvel sequels are usually a tricky business, which means I couldn’t care less about “Iron Man 2” and “Thor: The Dark World“. By that standard, the Captain America sequel should follow in their footsteps. Not this time. “Winter Soldier”, which builds on the box-office and critical success of 2012’s “The Avengers” is spectacular in every sense of the word. For extra pow, see it without watching the trailer. It’s also darker, deeper and more dangerously subversive. The first movie reinvented Chris Evans as an action hero and a genuine movie star. The new film doesn’t jazz us with the thrill of  discovery. But it kicks ass. Hard. Just watch Evans take the role of Steve Rogers to new levels of ferocity and feelings. He’s still trying to cope with being alive in modern times, 70 years after his heroic exploits in World War II. But he’s about to face his biggest personal challenges as a superhero: The Winter Soldier. If you’re a true Marvel geek, then you probably know his real identity. But just in case you don’t, I won’t give away more than I should (plenty of other people seem to be doing that) but other characters, well played by Robert Redford and Anthony Mackie, also figure in the unfolding storyline. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo maintain a lively pace, and balance superior action and visual-effects set-pieces with passages that depend on the acting chops of its talented cast, including the ever-reliable Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Add to that Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow and you get one of the best superhero films in quite a while. Kudos to Marvel Studios for going bigger without going stupid. “The Winter Soldier” has most sequels beat by a country mile. It’s crazy good.

Rating: 3.5/4

 

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