Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: The Winter Soldier follows Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the newest instalment of the Avengers franchise as he discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is not what he thought it to be. Taking a different turn from the preceding Thor: The Dark World (Alan Taylor, 2013) and Iron Man 3 (Shane Black, 2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier is as cerebral and political as it is an action film and is a great asset to the series.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Poster | Captain America
A hostage extraction with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) executing a side mission leaves Steve concerned as to where he stands in the eyes of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Fury reveals the side mission to be connected with Project Insight, three helicarriers designed to act as a pre-emptive measure against national threats.
Fury attempts to decrypt the USB of information gathered by Natasha in her side mission, and instead is confronted by a team of assassins led by the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Fury barely manages to find Steve before being gunned down, passing on the USB and telling Steve not to trust S.H.I.E.L.D.
Steve is summoned to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters by Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), only to be branded a fugitive when he refused to tell Pierce what Fury said to him. Steve and Natasha, with the help of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), attempt to discover the truth about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s connection with Steve's old enemy HYDRA, as well as the mystery that is the Winter Soldier.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Poster | The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier departs enough from the comics to allow the avid fan to still be surprised by the twists in the film, yet retaining the original story. The original 'twist' of the story is hardly the secret it was in the original comics but is still a solid reveal, the emotionality of when Steve sees beneath his mask resonating through the audience. The Winter Soldier is expertly handled by Stan in his portrayal of the brainwashed Bucky Barnes, thought to have died in Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnson, 2011).
In an interesting step by Marvel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier does not rely on an enormous amount of CGI effects. Instead, the film is as realistic as a film can be when involving a supersoldier and his flying comrade (in Sam's superhero guise as The Falcon). This level of realism brings the film together in a way that really does feel like the traditional comic book being lifted from the page and to film without the glaringly obvious tricks of the trade.
As a hero stepping up in the event of a national crisis, Steve Rogers' figure of 'truth and justice' is emphasised in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Whilst the emotional connection between hero and villain is less personal as it may be between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Thor (Kenneth Branagh, 2011) and The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012), Steve's persona as a figure of protecting America against the threat of Nazi organisation HYDRA and the personal conflict in facing the enigmatic Winter Soldier is certainly strong enough to carry the film. In fact, this scope of conflict prove to be some of the best conflict in the recent Avengers films and certainly a fantastic film.