The world of cinematic storytelling changes with the times and with new innovators, and this is very much the era of the innovative Marvel Studios. Not only have they revolutionized comic book movies in general, but they’ve created a blueprint on how to craft your franchises and lump together as many movies as possible without seeming convoluted.
But every so often one of those films is bound to stand out and for Marvel, that film is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not since Iron Man back in 2008 has a film been this fun or this good from Marvel and there has been plenty going on in-between.
That’s part of what makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier so brilliant. It both combines virtually everything that has happened in past Marvel movies but veers off into it’s own wildly exciting territory full of mystery, deception, heartbreak and action.
The story picks up after the events of The Avengers — as mostly all ‘Phase 3′ films have — but we begin to see right away that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is different. The tone is different, the pacing is different and most importantly that story is different. Unlike Thor: The Dark World, this film greatly advances the general Marvel plot and races towards events we will see continued in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and it leaves you gasping for air when it’s done.
What helps Captain America: The Winter Soldier stand out most is the acting, as everyone from Chris Evans to Scarlett Johansson and newcomer Anthony Mackie help sharpen the edges of the film as it knifes through the story straight to the action.
Nothing really feels derivative or out of place and things play out like warped spy thriller. James Bond is still untouchable but the espionage in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a unique trait that helps it stand out amongst the other Marvel films.
Let’s also not forget to mention the legendary Robert Redford, who plays a role you won’t soon forget and is as good as he’s ever been in this setting. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Redfrod step out from behind his indie film curtain but as he does we are reminded just why he’s the acting icon he is today.
Overall, don’t expect The Dark Knight when you go to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as it still oozes with Marvel charm. But it’s a much darker film than we may have been expecting as it follows marvel tropes before veering off into destructive territory we’ve seldom seen.
If you feel like you just got sucker punched in the gut as the credits roll, you won’t be alone.