Chris Evans (Left OTS) , Robert RedFord (Left) and Emily vanCamp in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Since the Aftermath of the Events that took place in The Avengers, things haven’t been the same for our heroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) dealt with PTSD and learned that one should expect the worst when dealing with end of the world scenarios. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) realized that he cannot be king of Asgaard, but instead protector of the nine realms. Captain America (Chris Evans) However, seems to be doing quite well. He runs twenty-mile laps around the capital with friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and visits a bedridden Peggy Carter (Haley Atwell), his S.H.E.I.L.D. girlfriend from the 40’s. During missions Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) tells him he should ask out his nurse of a neighbor Kate (Emily VanCamp), to which he tells her he’s to busy to bother. If anything, Steve is steal dealing with missing nearly seventy years of his life and is trying to keep up with the changes media, government, or otherwise. Cap is also told to move on with his life by his peers and fellow agents. Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a colleague of Nick Fury, tells him that life is precious and should not be wasted.
When Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) sends in Cap and Black Widow to rescue prisoners on a shipping vessel in the middle of the ocean, the super-Soldier Super-Spy duo get more than they bargained for when the realize they both had different agendas. Cap rescues the prisoners and Widow gets her information, the problem is, it’s highly sought after and S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised when Nick Fury discovers corruption in the agency. The star-Spangled Avenger comes to a crossroads when he realizes he can’t trust everyone. This creates another problem when a mysterious figure from Captain America’s past comes to haunt him in the form of the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Like the Graphic Novel the film is loosely based on, the story is told in flashbacks while dealing with the current issues at hand. This is conductive and helpful to the storytelling process because Cap is after all trying to remember whom this person is and how he is connected to the S.H.I.E.L.D. corruption. The film cleverly inserts these flashbacks and do not affect the pacing of it , while the Graphic Novel just randomly inserts them wherever. The cannon of the Brubaker graphic Novel isn’t entirely ruined by the plotline seen in the film either, in fact it takes the same tone and brings it to a whole different level. This the fan expectation when a comic book is given a film treatment. Granted, this is commonplace today, but rarely has it been pulled off in the past.
The Winter Soldier is a far better outing than Cap’s first adventure hands down, but takes time to get into running at 2hrs and 23mins. You aren’t thrown into an already moving storyline, instead you’re given a conversation with Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers that eventually moves to the major plot point of the film involving Black widow and that precious information. Not to mention the nature of the villain in the film and his game plan for world domination.
Several minor characters that eventually have huge plot points in the Comics make their big screen debut as well. Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) who becomes CrossBones is given plenty of screen time, but no origin is seen until the final climax of the film. The same can really be said about Emily VanCamp’s Agent 13/Sharon Carter. Which is a bummer. Essentially Black Widow is swapped for Carter, which isn’t a bad tradeoff, but this is truly a Sharon Carter Cap story. Despite the fact that both characters could benefit from having their own storylines that isn’t second string.
However, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a worthwhile film for fans of the first film and avid comic book readers alike. It may lack screen time for minor characters and feature a few camera hiccups; but it is an overall major improvement from the first film.
Update: Captain America: The Winter Soldier Accompanies Agents of Shield as it lands on Blu-Ray and store shelves today.