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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Captain America sequel delights Marvel fans opening weekend

Well here we have it, Marvel has officially set a new set of standards for themselves as Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes the status of best Marvel film to date.

The bar was already high.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a man lost in time, working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and finding that his ideologies of nobility and freedom do not coincide well with the mentality of the modern world.

After a violent attack shakes the foundation that Steve has built himself on, he must rely on the trust of his old friends and new to conquer his foes, one of them being the formidable Winter Soldier.

This is the first film in Marvel Studios Phase Two that has managed to capture the massive storytelling nature that The Avengers sold.

It felt like an epic sized story was being told, one that surpassed the confines of its genre and managed to bridge multiple genres together, creating a dynamic, thrilling and surprisingly emotional film. Having to be put in the tough position of being a sequel to both Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers as well as a bridge for The Avengers: Age of Ultron it could have quickly turned into a convoluted and cluttered mess of ideas and motives – much like Iron Man 2.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Instead, deftly written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely the story weaves character exposition and growth, developing relationships, espionage nods and action adventure peaks with ease.

This is the first Marvel film to make the audience worry about the protagonist. Captain America and his friends are put in constant danger, Steve in particular throwing himself into it with reckless abandon, and the stakes are high with these characters and these circumstances.

A car chase with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in particular is a real treat – making us sit at the edges of our seats in anticipation, wondering how he is going to escape the pressing threat.

No matter how well the fight scenes are choreographed – and they are with a balletic and flare – how effective the score by Henry Jackman is or how well Anthony and Joe Russo conveyed chaotic intensity in their directing, the film would be nothing without a ready and willing cast anchoring it down.

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is back in action, allowing more of her true colors to show this time around and being as strong willed as ever. It is the first time Johansson has felt completely comfortable in the role and plays the character with a newfound ease, especially in scenes where she and Evans play against each other, sharing a comfortable rapport.

Jackson, Cobie Smulders and Sebastian Stan are also all back, bringing intensity and comedic relief respectively.

The new names are just as impressive. Robert Redford is suitably imposing as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D and Anthony Mackie comes out as the MVP of the film as the Falcon/Sam Wilson, providing emotional depth, funny one liners and a character more rooted to the ground.

But the film’s star is the titular hero and Evans is the best he has ever been in the role. He is earnest without being dull, painstakingly lonely without being too downtrodden, and offers the biggest human connection.

On top of that, his physicality rings through. Evans and the Steve Rogers character is one that often gets overlooked for the more gaudy and outlandish amongst The Avengers team – but he is likely the one that supplies the most nuance.

If there is any fault to be mentioned it would be how the cinematography left something to be desired.

Despite the intensity with which the up close, gritty, hand to hand combat was shot, anytime that a wide, establishing shot was needed it seemed as if the Russo brothers did not quite know what to do with the extra space.

A miniscule slight to an otherwise expertly shot film.

As an unabashed super-fan of the superhero genre (bring them on, I’m game) every time I walk into the dimly lit theater right before a Marvel movie I am high on anticipation. There is something gleefully joyful about a well done action flick and the excitement I felt as the opening credits rolled and the logo burst onto the screen left me feeling like a kid seeing their first film on the big screen.

A good film can transport you and as these films actively work in the realm of escapism, they are often a good option. Iron Man 3 was a perfectly done Tony Stark film, the best of the trilogy and utilized Robert Downey Jr.’s charms and prowess in ways that were innovative to the series.

Thor: The Dark World worked on its own, hyper aware, cotton candy level  and was good fun but felt like a filler until the next installment. The Winter Soldier is plainly spoken, a great film. It is not “good for a superhero movie” or a great Marvel film.

It is a strong film and a force to be reckoned with.

The film and the story it tells has likely shaken every upcoming movie in the Marvel movie universe and that’s exciting stuff.

Can you tell I liked it?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters now.

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Captain America sequel delights Marvel fans opening weekend