Trust No One.  This is the dilemma that Captain America must face in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the follow up to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.   In much the same way that 1940’s America is quite different from modern day America, The Winter Solider  is quite a different film from the first.  In The First Avenger, Cap is living in a black and white world where the enemy is clear and obvious (a bright red skull-faced villain in a Nazi uniform is hard to miss).  Fast forward to modern day, where the enemy is not so clear, hidden and perhaps part of the very organization he trusts and stands up for.  Not only is The Winter Soldier different from the first Cap film, it is a surprisingly different Marvel Universe film as well.

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The Winter Soldier unfolds more as a spy thriller instead of a larger than life superhero adventure.  Because of this, the world of The Winter Soldier feels closer to the real world than any of the other previous Marvel films (including those of the non-Disney owned Marvel properties).  This is largely due to today’s headlines, issues and debate making it’s way into the plot – government secrecy, illegal data collection on citizens, and executing people without due process of law.  There are also no super god-like villains nor aliens threatening the Earth to be found.  Instead, the villains seem to be the very people that Cap has worked alongside with.  Trust no one, indeed.

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Despite it’s real world grounding, this is still very much a Marvel movie at it’s core.  Cap’s is definitely a fish out of water story, and we see him adjusting to 21st century life, carrying around a list of things to catch up on (such as the ‘Rocky‘ movies).  He’s now a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who is frequently teamed with Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, (Scarlett Johansson) and tasked by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).  In the first major action piece, Cap and Black Widow are tasked to rescue an at-sea freighter from pirates, led by Batroc the Leaper (Georges St-Pierre), one of the lesser known Marvel villains.  Cap appears to have received 21st century fight training as his fighting style in these scenes are faster and more intense than those in the previous film.  Sometime after the rescue, Fury is ambushed, in another intense action scene, apparently by the Washington D.C. Police.  Here we are first introduced to the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who fans of the comics already know is actually Bucky, Cap’s best friend who apparently died in action during the first film.  This is where the intrigue begins.  Why was Fury attacked?  Is Fury to be trusted?  Should we trust S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), who wears an appropriately grey-colored suit, instead?  Who is giving orders to the Winter Soldier?  Amidst all the intrigue, Cap actually finds a trustworthy ally in Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a.k.a. the Falcon, whose wings in this incarnation are advanced military technology.

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Chris Evans’ portrayal of Steve Rogers lends itself well to the realistic world that the film resides in.  Despite being a tough, resourceful and honest super-soldier, Evans shows that Cap is still very human at his core.  We can easily see that Cap is struggling in this modern world of grey areas.  We also relate to the difficulties Cap has in dealing with the Winter Soldier upon learning his true identity.  We are also reminded that, despite his super powers and shield, Cap is completely susceptible to basic battle hazards, such as gunfire.

How does this film compare to the first?  Being very different films, it is somewhat difficult to compare them.  The First Avenger was an origin story with a 1940’s WWII texture.  The Winter Soldier is a superhero spy thriller combo with complex issues that reflect current events.  Given this, Captain America and Marvel fans, in general, will find the film to be a spectacularly satisfying entry in the Marvel Studios canon.  There is definitely no lack of nail-biting action sequences involving Cap, Black Widow, and the Falcon.  The spy thriller aspect makes this film a completely different Marvel experience, as it keeps the audience guessing.  Does it have the complexities of a Tom Clancy thriller?  Of course not, but there is enough super power mayhem to keep us from realizing that.  The running time of 2 hours and 16 minutes makes the film sound long, but the high levels of action and intrigue make the film whiz by faster than Cap’s shield.  Of course, The Winter Soldier stands well on its own, but the conclusion sets us up for a very interesting Avengers 2 next year in 2015.  Trust us, The Winter Soldier is definitely a movie worth seeing.

'Trust No One' - Review of 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'
Captain America and Marvel fans, in general, will find the film to be a spectacularly satisfying entry in the Marvel Studios canon. There is definitely no lack of nail-biting action sequences involving Cap, Black Widow, and the Falcon. The spy thriller aspect makes this film a completely different Marvel experience, and high levels of action and intrigue make the film whiz by faster than Cap's shield
Story
Performances
Action
Superheroes
DisneyMeter
Marvel-ous!
  • Cap and His Shield
  • Spy Thriller Intrigue
  • Superhero Mayhem
4.7Overall Score