We’re talking about a hero with superhuman powers and a weapon with the ability to pinpoint villains via satellites capable of reading DNA and identifying a propensity to attack. It’s a downright outrageous scenario, but, dare I say, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” still feels like one of the most grounded Marvel movies out there.
After the destruction in New York in “The Avengers,” Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is attempting to lay low to a degree in Washington, D.C., by continuing to try to acclimate himself to the modern world while lending a hand at S.H.I.E.L.D. when necessary. However, when Steve comes to learn of an initiative to wipe out terrorists via enormous helicarriers that can detect evildoers before they even strike, his faith in the organization waivers. When Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) himself has cause to believe that something isn’t quite right at S.H.I.E.L.D., it falls on Captain America to figure out who to trust so that the technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
First and foremost, Evans is just an absolute natural as Steve Rogers/Captain America. There is a cringe worthy throwback to skinny Steve, but otherwise, Evans sells him as an exceptionally capable, believable and thoughtful hero with an honest heart. Whether you’ve seen “Captain America: The First Avenger” or not, in “The Winter Solider,” Captain America experiences an arc that rocks the power to resonate regardless of how many times you’ve seen him in action.
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When we’re getting superhero movie after superhero movie, it’s understandable to have that, “Oh, another one?,” reaction. However, in the case of The Avengers, it was unprecedented right from the start. Yes, it’s more superhero material, but this isn’t just a film that features the biggest team of super-powered crime fighters yet; it’s one that links together a number of other features and franchises and, in turn, really creates a living, breathing Marvel universe.
The Avengers kicks off at S.H.I.E.L.D. where Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) is hard at work at the tesseract, an energy source with the power to wipe out the planet. In addition, the tesseract can act as a door to the other end of space, and that’s where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes in. Loki uses the device to transport himself from the other side of the universe to right there in the middle of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters where he devastates the compound and steals the tesseract.
Having witnessed the threat firsthand, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is compelled to activate the Avengers Initiative. Fury sends Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) to recruit Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), not for his alter ego, but to use his knowledge of gamma radiation, something that could help S.H.I.E.L.D. track the tesseract. Meanwhile, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is bringing Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) into the mix and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is suiting up again as Captain America. Together, they’re assigned to locate and take back the tesseract.
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