"Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists. The ones that do call him the Winter Soldier. He's a ghost, you'll never find him."
The film opens with an action sequence in a freighter that made me worry I was going to be let down as I was with the first Captain America. Out of all the Marvel films the first Captain America film was my least favorite. This sequel opened with some shaky camera work and quick editing cuts, but once the story began to get going I was pleasantly surprised. This is very different from the rest of the Marvel films that relied heavily on CGI and light storytelling, The Winter Soldier is a bit more serious and tells an interesting story. At times you forget you are watching a superhero movie and it turns into an interesting espionage thriller. Even Captain America became much more interesting in this film and I'm sure fans will appreciate this sequel directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (You, Me and Dupree) much more than they did the first. Not only is this the best Captain America film, it also is the best film of Phase 2 (post The Avengers) for Marvel. The story is really entertaining and gripping, the film also looks really good considering it has much more live action scenes than CGI. After the disappointing opening sequence, the rest of the action scenes completely worked and they managed to keep me invested in what was going on. Sure the twists were a bit predictable, but the story was really well developed and the framework for the next sequel has been set. The new characters in this film also added a lot more to this franchise and I really enjoyed the pacing of this movie. This sequel delivered thanks to a gripping and suspenseful story and well developed characters.
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely teamed up again for the adaptation of this sequel which takes place some time after the events of The Avengers. Captain America (Chris Evans) is now in Washington DC as he continues struggling to adjust to the present while working for SHIELD under the guidance of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson). It's a different world now and Captain America realizes that there are enemies disguised as friends even inside SHIELD headquarters. With very few people he can trust, Captain America teams up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to try to expose the conspiracy and traitors in the department before the world is attacked yet again. As they begin to dig deeper, a professional assassin known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is sent to stop them. Knowing that they can't expose the conspiracy on their own, Captain America finds an ally in Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a veteran who knows where Steve is coming from. He becomes the Falcon and together they begin to expose the corruption in SHIELD.
Chris Evans is comfortable yet again playing one of the most beloved comic book superheroes. Captain America might be the simplest of the heroes from the Marvel films, but he doesn't negotiate his values and is true to his word. Someone with his morals is hard to come across with in the present and that is why he finds it so difficult to establish meaningful relationships. Scarlett Johansson is great once again as the Black Widow and it's always great to see her fighting off the bad guys. As for the new characters I really enjoyed Anthony Mackie's performance as the Falcon. He really has great chemistry with Chris Evans and both their characters have similar values. Mackie also delivers some of the funniest lines in the movie in an otherwise pretty serious thriller. Sebastian Stan is also impressive as the Winter Soldier. His character is very interesting although I think he did try a little to hard at times to look cool. His posture and attitude reminded me of a rock star, but I still enjoyed his character very much and though he was a great addition to this film. Like the other Marvel films, you should stay for the credits as there are two short but interesting scenes. This was a huge upgrade for Captain America and it is my favorite film of 2014 so far. The climax is formulaic and we know what we are going to get, but the journey getting there is what made this film such a wonderful experience for me. This film actually had some interesting character development and it wasn't just an excuse to run from one incoherent and noisy action scene to the next like some other recent superhero films.