Randy's Review: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sequel tops original Cap film

Leave to America's oldest hero to launch what is sure to be a season of blockbuster action films. And the second time around is better than the first.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" picks up two years after Captain America aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) battled alongside the rest of the self-proclaimed "Avengers" to defeat an alien invasion in the "Battle of New York." Still trying to find his place in the modern world, the age-preserved World War II hero is working through a bucket list of activities to try and catch up today's society. From "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" to Nirvana, it's all on his "to do" list. He continues to struggle with his role for SHIELD with specific concern over SHIELDs role in the world -- claiming he's tired of cleaning up Nick Fury's messes.

Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) we find out reports to a senior leader with SHIELD, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), who in turn reports to the World Security Council. Fury reveals to Captain America that the agency is ready to launch a new program, Project Insight, which will launch a trio of SHIELD Helicarriers into the air to monitor bad guys around the world, taking them out before they are able to strike. The symbol of freedom is definitely not down with that and lets Fury know so.

A short time later, Fury, with the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), discovers there could be a problem with Insight and asks Pierce to delay the scheduled launch to allow him time to investigate the potential issue. A group of renegade police officers -- actually agents of the terrorist group HYDRA -- attempt to assassinate Fury, confirming his suspicions, but before he can communicate the problem, he is shot in Steve Rogers apartment. He tells Rogers not to trust anyone and loses consciousness, before Rogers jumps through his window and chases the shooter across the rooftops of Washington, D.C. His adversary proves fast, strong and sports a metal arm -- catching the good Captain's shield and flinging it back at him, allowing him the chance to escape.

Not sure who to trust, CA finds himself the target of a SHIELD investigation into Fury's attack. He manages to fight his way through an elevator of SHIELDs finest and begins attempting to discover why Fury was attacked. He finds himself teamed with the Black Widow and a new friend, Sam Wilson aka The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), as he attempts to avoid capture, find Fury's attacker and get to the bottom of the traitor within SHIELD.

With the help of his teammates, he locates Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) -- who was once Cap's best friend Bucky from the first film -- believed to have been killed in during an assault on Red Skull's mountain base in the original Captain America movie.

How did Bucky survive? Why does he have a metal arm? And when did he become a master assassin? Who is the threat from within SHIELD? Will Fury survive? is Steve a good kisser after all these years? Are there "easter eggs" during the final credits (yes -- one in the middle and one at the end)? Don't want to spoil anything, but I'll share that this is more than just a comic book movie. It warns against the danger or surrendering all of our freedoms in exchange for security. A great blend of acting, action and espionage.

If you're a fan of comic book films, you'll love it. If you're not, you'll still enjoy it.

On a scale of 5 popcorn buckets, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," pops up 4 1/2 buckets of tasty, hero-action flavor. Who needs golden butter when you've got the red, white and blue star-spangled original Avenger. He kicked booty in WWII and he's still kickin' fanny today. One of my favorites among comic book hero films. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running Time: 2 hours, 16 minutes. This film was reviewed at Southpark 7 Theatre in Spencer.