Certificate 12A, 136 minutes
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Stars: Chris Evans, Frank Grillo, Sebastian Stan
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger and is presumably set after the events of Thor: The Dark World. It starts with Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, The Avengers) running around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. where he is frequently lapping former para-rescue soldier Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Man on a Ledge, Runner Runner). Rogers is now working as an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. and is partnered with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). His first mission in the film is to a mobile satellite launch platform (a ship that launches space rockets) in the Indian Ocean that is operated by the organisation and has been captured by pirates.
Cap is not happy with the direction that S.H.I.E.L.D. is going in, which he makes clear to Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, Kingsman: The Secret Service, RoboCop). The organisation is building some Helicarriers, and Rogers feels that they should be there to protect people's freedom and defend them, not to restrict it with the justification of making people safe, something that he doesn't believe building huge, heavily armed flying weapons platforms really accomplishes.
The film is available in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D, with the 3D being the version seen. The 3D usage in the film was a bit hit and miss; sometimes it was noticeable, at other times it wasn't. It was at its most noticeable in the end credits (not the end credits scene, but the credits themselves).
S.H.I.E.L.D. for the first time in this film seems more like a multi-national organisation, even if its' headquarters is in Washington in a large building called the Triskelion. In its previous appearances, it's seemed more like a purely American operation. Cap's costume is much darker than the original; gone is the bright red, white and blue, instead it's dark grey or black with a silver badge, a rather more ominous appearance. He also uses his shield in a much more offensive manner, and not just for defence.
There are some small parts to the film that it is quite easy to miss. The most noticeable is the fairly customary brief cameo by Stan Lee, but there are other things such as the contents of Cap's list of things he's missed that he needs to check out. The Winter Soldier has some humour in it as well, such as when Fury asks what still works in his badly damaged car, he gets told that the air conditioning is still fully functional, and Romanoff's attempts to get Cap to go out on a date, which tends to happen at some rather odd times.
There are lots of techie toys in this film; not just the Helicarriers, but lots of small bits as well, some at the cutting edge, and some that are over it. There is also a reference to Bruce Banner - a.k.a. the Hulk - and Stephen Strange - a.k.a. Doctor Strange, Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. This is the first time Doctor Strange has been mentioned, which perhaps bodes well for him appearing in a film at some point (finally, the special effects exist to do him justice). Many of the other characters in the film come from the Marvel universe too, such as Frank Grillo's Brock Rumlow.
There is a substantial mid-credits scene, so be sure not to miss that, with an item that may be recognised as well as a major character whose name will also be familiar to fans of the comics. There is a small post-credits scene too. The action scenes are good, being full of explosions and stunts, and there are plenty of them, but there is a plot too, something that is rather more uncommon, and at times matters get rather convoluted. Some twists and turns to the plot that may be seen coming - or not, mostly depending on how familiar the viewer is with the characters in the Marvel universe (not just the Cinematic Universe). Captain America: The Winter Soldier is another good instalment in Marvel's Cinematic Universe, and isn't merely a one dimensional action film, and it's worth a second watch too, just to try and catch everything that may have been missed the first time around.
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