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Captain America:

The Winter Soldier

April 10, 2014

The second chapter in Marvel’s Captain America franchise pulls off that rare feat of managing to keep itself on a par, quality wise, with its 2011 predecessor.  From a sequel standpoint, I won’t go as far as to say that it’s on a level with something along the lines of the second Godfather film, but the filmmakers certainly manage to do more than you might expect with a Captain America sequel. The plot—courtesy of writers Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely—is tight and, setting it apart from other films in the Marvel universe, there’s enough of a human element to keep more serious minded filmgoers engaged as well. All told, it’s what you would hope that Marvel might manage to accomplish every time out of the gate.

Anyone seeing the new film will be required to have some knowledge of what transpired during the first installment of this franchise. At the end of that earlier installment WWII hero Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), watched his best friend, Bucky (Sebastian Stan), apparently expire while also managing to get himself frozen and then thawed out some seventy years later. As the new film opens, Steve is dealing with catching up to life in the twenty-first century when a shadowy figure known as the Winter Soldier enters into the picture, forcing Captain America to deal with a new threat. 

Johansson & Evans in the new Captain American

The Winter Soldier is a trained assassin and a very good one. When he makes an attempt on S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) life, Steve/Captain America, aided by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) finds himself caught in a web of intrigue that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1970s era conspiracy thriller. In addition to the film’s intriguing plot, the filmmakers also manage to sprinkle in appearances from a good number of other Marvel characters, most of whom I’m sure will play pivotal roles later on in other films in the Marvel universe. Usually when this kind of thing happens, it can feel forced. Thankfully, it feels organic to the plot here, something that I certainly found refreshing.

Speaking of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and its conspiracy theory overtones, Robert Redford appears in a pivotal role in the film as Alexander Pierce, a long time associate of Nick Fury. It’s best not to say too much about how his character plays into the plot but I will go on record and say that it’s a bit of inspired casting when one considers Redford’s involvement with so many of the great conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s. His presence adds a certain something to the proceedings that is certainly welcome here and is likely to put a smile on moviegoers of a certain age. It’s only one of the many things to recommend this surprisingly entertaining film.

Editor’s note: Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel opens this Friday, April 11, at the Carmike in Hikcory. Adam Long reviewed the film on March 20 in FOCUS, and that review is archived online at

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is playing everywhere in the area, including the Carmike in Hickory.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at






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