Captain America: The Winter Soldier ***1/2

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“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” continues expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as continuing the adventures of Steve Rogers aka Captain America. The directors this time are Anthony and Joe Russo, the creative team behind such movies as “You, Me & Dupree” and “Welcome To Collinwood” as well as the TV show “Community”. Hardly the resume you would want to read from the directors of a major studio blockbuster but these guys pull this movie off as if they are seasoned veterans. This is one hell of a thrill ride both in terms of action and story.

The plot follows Steve Rogers about two years after the events of “The Avengers”. He is now working for S.H.I.E.L.D. full time. The film opens as he is sent on a mission to resolve a hostage crisis on a freighter in the middle of the ocean. This leads in to a plot where the Captain finds himself on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D as he tries to uncover a sinister group of people who are trying to bring down Nick Fury.

The most mysterious figure that Rogers is The Winter Soldier, who is a deadly assassin with a bionic arm and is particularly linked to Captain America’s past life in the 1940’s. The Winter Soldier himself is a cool character who can match Roger’s strength and agility.

Joining Rogers is Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. Mackie almost steals every scene he is in, especially when he straps on the wings and flies through the air while battling aerial crafts. I liked his character a lot and hope to see more of him other Marvel movies.

Also new to the series is Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow, who eventually becomes the villain Crossbones, probably in a future installment. Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson are the returning characters as Black Widow and Nick Fury.

Fans of this Marvel series of films will know what to expect at this point and they will not be disappointed. What really floored me was just how compelling the story was this time. I would recommend this to people who simply like a good conspiracy thriller as well as comic book fans. The directors and writers have really crafted an engaging movie that truly sets the stage for hopefully bigger and better developments in this franchise. Most of the action is pretty awesome as well. I did get a little annoyed at some of the shaky camera moments but at this point I don’t see this style going away any time soon.

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