By Cara Murray
Elm Staff Writer
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) return to the big screen after the MARVEL ensemble hit “MARVEL’s The Avengers.” This film picks up much where “Marvel’s The Avengers” left off for the Captain. Rogers is still struggling to connect to a modern world; not only is he baffled by pop culture, but also he feels the loss of the ideals and morals of the past. While Rogers is learning to work within SHIELD (that’s Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, for those of you not in the know), parameters the organization take a huge blow in the assassination of their Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) by the legendary Winter Soldier. In an attempt to learn more about the circumstances surrounding this event, Rogers is pulled into a conspiracy that brings old enemies to light. Before he can get too close to the culprits, Rogers is branded a traitor by SHIELD and is forced to work as a fugitive. With the help of the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), and his new ex-military friend the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Rogers must expose the conspiracy and ultimately save the world. This task is made no less difficult when Rogers discovers the true identity of the Winter Soldier, a discovery which sets the film up for the next Captain America feature film.
For any fan of MARVEL’s Avengers series, the singular character films as well as the ensemble movies, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was another ridiculously fun and successful hit. This film has high action fight scenes, stellar CGI and plenty of fan service to spare. Evans gave another great performance as the time-displaced war hero, but it was his relationship with the new character of Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, that made the story come alive. We tend to forget that Captain America was once just Captain Rogers, a soldier barely fit for basic training. While he was never much a part of the physical war, he still lost a great deal. He bonds with Wilson over this shared sense of loss as well as a fierce belief in the fight for good. While Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, is always a welcome addition to the team with her incredible moves and sassy attitude, her character falls a little flat in this film. Her inclusion in the film is integral to the plot (and the fan service, if that Captain and Widow kiss was anything to go by), but the assassin’s performance seemed lacking in the wake of her “MARVEL’s The Avengers” appearance. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” overall was a great addition to the Marvel line but there are plenty of new films to follow, which are hinted at during the two must-see bonus scenes in the credits.
It is no secret that MARVEL has a solid grip on the box office in terms of comic book adaptations. Other companies like Dark Horse and DC have consistently failed at putting up a good fight (not that they haven’t tried). It seems as though the lighthearted, action-filled and humorous films put out by MARVEL have captured the dedication of the masses, and it is this dedication that MARVEL is hoping to put to the test when they employ their “Phase Three” films. The studio released plans for their cinematic universe in separate phases, each being marked by the release of an ensemble film surrounding the Avengers. In response to MARVEL’s plans, DC is working on an ensemble sequel to their most recent film, “Man of Steel,” entitled “Batman vs. Superman.” Around the beginning of May 2016 both MARVEL and DC will release films to go head-to-head in a box office brawl. This fight for the numbers will be won by the fans alone, but regardless of which film comes out on top, it means a mass amount of comic book adaptations for the viewing audience. I say let MARVEL and DC fight it out. In the end, it’s the fans who will win.