As a big fan of the first Captain America movie in 2011, I was really blown away by how much better this year's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is over the first film.
Chris Evans returns as our hero, making notes in 2014 of all the things he needs to catch up on since arriving from the 50's.
He isn't given much time to compile that list as he and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson's lethal, funny and sarcastic agent) discover a far reaching conspiracy that threatens the world.
The film takes the comic book premise and transplants it into a 1970's style global political/conspiracy thriller like "Black Sunday" or "Three Days of the Condor".
Condor is an especially appropriate reference point as both films share Robert Redford, appearing here as Shield leader Alexander Pierce. Redford brings a lot of power and credibility to the film throughout.
Evans is surrounded by a great supporting cast of true characters, including Sebastian Stan as Steve Rogers lifelong friend Bucky Barnes, Anthony Mackie as the Falcon and of course Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
First and foremost, this is a spectacular action film, filled with enough jaw dropping special effects and fast paced scenes of mayhem to fill two films.
Unlike some other films that attempt the mix (most of the Transformers films) The Winter Soldier is more than just noise and explosions. It's got plenty to say about post 9-11 privacy, a government given too much power and the war machine in politics.
If this sounds way too heavy, don't worry, it's a hell of a lot of fun too.
I may be the rare viewer that actually likes this movie more than The Avengers, but I do. It takes the comic book action and layers it perfectly with something much more credible and powerful. You will be rooting for the heroes because the stakes seem higher than usual and somehow the entire movie seems more credible.
I'm excited to hear that Directors Anthony & Joe Russo have already signed up for the next Captain America installment. Based on this film, they have captured the perfect mix of comic book movie and adult thriller and I can't wait to see the next one.
The Winter Soldier soars to an A+, ranks as one of my favorite superhero genre films and in my all time top 100.