No Spoilers…I think.
Since Iron Man came out in 2008, Marvel Studios have made an indelible mark on the superhero genre. Winter Soldier is the latest entry into said genre.
Opening a few years after the events of the Avengers (and Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 of course), we find Steve Rogers in Washington D.C. doing what he does best: be the embodiment of the American Dream. Of course, because things would be boring if that was the entire movie, things quickly shift to a hijacked freighter, kicking the action into full gear. Not only does the action kick off from here, but it also begins a winding path of deception, lies, and general dickishness. And, of course, that leads to the titular Winter Soldier.
As far as a movie goes, Winter Soldier is a great action film. The fight scenes probably some of the best of any Marvelverse movie thus far, including stunning sequences on the freighter and the streets of D.C., but that is to be expected with these movies. What was a greater accomplishment was the fact that they were able to make what amounts to a spy thriller featuring superheroes. The plot, which I will not spoil as to avoid the wrath of the internet, may not be the most in depth for a thiller but is surprisingly deep for a genre that can be easily distilled to “Those are the bad guys! Let’s go punch the bad guys in the face!”
Chris Evans continues to shine as the All American American, Scarlett Johansson kicks more ass as the femme fatale Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role of S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, but the real standout is Anthony Mackie as Falcon, a former paratrooper turned VA counselor turned guy flying around with a jet pack with wings. And guns. And awesomeness. After just one movie, he has become my second favorite character in the Marvelverse.
Again, to avoid spoilers, I won’t go into the post credit scenes other than to say that there are two of them and they made me more excited for Avengers 2. That being said, I think that Winter Soldier may be the new bar for Marvel movies, including Avengers. That may seem like a big ask, but I honestly believe it. Just like with any studio, Marvel’s movies continues to get better and better with practice. And with a rumored roadmap through 2028, the sky is the limit.