By definition a hero is a doer of good deeds, and evidently comic book saviors take that premise to extremely grand and spectacular heights. Nonetheless, no matter how otherworldly each of them is, most carry a hint of a negative human quality that makes them relatable to a certain extent. Tony Stark tends to be an egocentric rich boy who likes to parade his expensive toys around, Thor can be temperamental and doesn’t do well when it comes to forgiving, and the Hulk is simply anger personified. On the contrary, Steve Rogers- better known as Captain America - embodies all that is righteous about mankind. Driven by a strict moral code that abides by justice and kindness, he is, by far, the most straightforward of these heroes. An underdog turned fearless warrior, he makes decisions based on his unshakable convictions. There is little room in him for the dark shades of the human condition.
So what do you do to spice things up when you have the greatest amongst good guys? Well, you make him a fugitive and force him to question everything he once stood for. Reprising his role as the patriotic soldier, Chris Evans is back for the second installment in the Captain American saga, which can easily be noted as the best of the Marvel-inspired films so far. Now adapting to his new reality in the modern world, Rogers feels out of place, and understandably so. He has missed so much while being frozen after his battle to bring down Hydra in WWII, thus the way the world works today seems foreign to him. Not only is he out of the loop in terms of popular culture - to which he responds by making lists of films and songs he needs to watch - but everyone he once knew is either death or very old. Despite all his supernatural abilities and the intrigues that unfold in the film, Captain America’s most essential problem is loneliness.
As a result of the previous Avengers film, the Captain’s sidekick is now Black Widow, played once again by a red-haired Scarlett Johansson, who also becomes the closest thing to a meaningful relationship in the hero’s life. Together they must find who is behind an assassination attempt against S.H.I.E.L.D’s Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and the repercussions of some revelatory information now in Rogers’ hands. Fortunately, the film also serves as a redeeming platform to develop Johansson’s character. Here, Natasha Romanoff is no longer in the background. She takes center stage in the fighting as well as in the comedic field by constantly playing wingman to try to find the Captain a date. The witty exchange of cheeky lines between the pair is incredibly entertaining and makes the VFX-ridden movie all the more amusing.
With the intention of not spoiling the plot, one can simply comment on the intelligent screenplay that borrows elements from conspiracy theories about a new world order and the willing relinquishment of privacy by the public via social media and the internet. Besides the now franchise-staples like Jackson and Evans, new faces in the Marvel universe like Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson (a.k.a Falcon) and Emily VanCamp as Kate, join the epic action. In the bad-guys department, Mr. Redford plays an elegantly fascist villain. It is certainly great to see the veteran star still enjoying the more glossy side of the film industry in a blockbuster like this. As for the Winter Soldier, Sebastian Stan gives life to the masked mercenary, who instead of merely adding to the exhilarating sequences provides an emotional depth that so many of these films lack.
Definitely one of most entertaining films of the year, and surely the most clever movie the comic book company has put out, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is all-around a fun winner. Interestingly enough, at the center of all the chaos and hilarious gags lays the hero’s yearning for human connection. Losing his best pal “Bucky” during the war devastated him. Now finding himself alive again in the distant future, such important lost relationship is even more pivotal. Once the wreckage and the enemies are done, maybe the Captain might be able to finally find what he really needs to feel normal again: a buddy.