“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” breaks the mold of superhero movies


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There may come a time when Marvel movies fail to impress me. That time is not now. I’ll admit it: a few years ago, when “Captain America: The First Avenger” came out, I didn’t see it in theatres because I felt I already knew everything there was to know about Captain America—he parades around in a star-spangled costume signing the national anthem and doing patriotic things. Right? And yet, when I rented it from Redbox a few months later, I was surprised to find that “Captain America” was one of the best Marvel has put on screen.

If you haven’t watched “The First Avenger,” you might consider doing so, though it’s not crucial. Most Marvel movies do tie-in with each other, so if you do want to, “The Avengers” and the first “Captain America” should explain everything.  “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” plays off previous themes established in “The First Avenger,” but you won’t be completely in the dark if you decide to only watch “Winter Soldier.”

Captain America, also known by his alias Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) partners up with Natasha Romanoff, also known as The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) when a Soviet agent by the name of The Winter Soldier begins going after S.H.I.E.L.D. agents—including Captain America himself. “The Winter Soldier” vaguely follows the mold of superhero movies, but it breaks the cliches with character development, tied-up-and-sealed-with-a-bow loopholes from “The First Avenger,” and it doesn’t hurt that Captain America is incredibly good looking.

What makes “The Winter Soldier” perhaps one of the best Marvel movies to date has to do with the overarching message of it: freedom has been and always will be the one thing humans will fight for and protect with their lives, or the lives of others. In addition to the theme of “The Winter Soldier,” the costumes help convey the message the movie tries to make clear. Costumes play more of a role in movies than some people are aware, and it’s always fun to see how the costume designers put their mark on movies like this one. Soundtracks are also a hit-or-miss sort of thing, and as with Marvel movies, “The Winter Soldier” soundtrack is absolutely spot on.

Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)  is the one who calls the shots around S.H.I.E.L.D.; he’s the one in charge of a project that, when launched, has the ability to kill millions of potential and actual threats with the simple push of a button. Of course, this just needs to fall into the wrong hands, and Pierce has no problems finding a few.

When S.H.I.E.L.D. becomes compromised, and it looks as if Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is behind it, Pierce sends out an amazing amount of firepower to kill him. The most impressive weapon in his arsenal is, of course, none other than The Winter Soldier, a Russian assassin with a metal arm and an intensity for killing. You might want to avoid the IMDB if you don’t want to know who The Winter Soldier is. I won’t tell you anything besides the fact that the final battle between the hero and the assassin is full of heart-wrenching angst and cliffhangers that can only be answered in “Captain America 3,” when it hits theaters in 2016.

During its 136 minutes, “The Winter Soldier” demonstrates why the MPAA gave it a PG-13 rating — there are more than a few “intense sequences of violence, gunplay, and action.” Every villain in Marvel movies has their choice of weapon that destroys either half of New York or half the people on New York, but no one is as accurate as Black Widow with simply a pistol.

If you’ve never picked up a Marvel comic in your life, let alone seen half or any of the Marvel movies, now’s your chance. You don’t need to be a seasoned historian in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just watch “The Winter Soldier,” and you’ll understand why so many critics have called this movie one of Marvel’s best yet. And, here’s a pro-tip: “The Winter Soldier” has not one, but two end-credit scenes, one of which is a little preview of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and the other gives audiences a little taste of just where Captain America is headed to next.