When you think about it, good and bad are extremely abstract concepts. What does it mean to be good or evil? Unless we’re talking about stereotypically evil, people always believe they are doing the right thing. We always say that we are the good guys and anyone who opposes us is evil.
For example, as destructive as the Nazis were, they felt they were doing the right thing for the betterment of mankind.
Right and wrong are ideas that change wildly depending on who you ask. If you fight for something, like freedom for all people, you are going to make some enemies. Because others will fight for their beliefs. In the end, who is really the good guy?
This is the point of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” as the famous patriot fights for the same values he has always believed in, only to find that the world has changed, and so has its beliefs.
Captain America (Chris Evans) has now joined S.H.I.E.L.D. as a full-time agent as a way to protect the innocent. But after learning of the new Hellicarriers they have been developing, Cap begins to question who he should be working for. Things change when Director Nic Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is targeted for assassination by a mysterious soldier with a mechanical arm.
I should probably mention that, since this is a sequel, I particularly enjoyed “Captain America: The First Avenger.” It was a warmhearted and well-appreciated film about a man would fight for his belief that all men are created equal. It was brief and kept its dialogue and scenes to minimum, much like Captain America himself. Only speaking when he absolutely has to and only saying what needs to be said. I respect the film for that.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” does not try to emulate its predecessor at all. While the first film was a war movie, this one is more of a political thriller and how values, much like the world, have changed wildly over time.
Some of the better scenes in the film come when Cap is taking a tour of the Smithsonian and finds the hall dedicated to him and his companions. We see the work of Captain America is appreciated and respected, but how it is now a relic. Something that is no longer of use and belongs in a museum.
It is really a testament to Chris Evans’ acting, as he observes everything he did, and gets so much emotion across without saying a word. Perhaps he sees himself as another relic, as only an artifact of the past, in both time and beliefs.
I find it difficult to discuss other plot points in this film without spoiling it. Many of the emotional moments hinge on the plot twists and where characters true alliances are.
A big point in this film is to not trust anyone, which Nic Fury advocates to Cap with a speech about his grandfather liking people, but never believing in them.
This was a smart move on Marvel’s part, because it adds another dimension to the one-note character of Captain America. Don’t get me wrong, I think Cap is a great superhero who will always for the right thing. But what if he didn’t fight for that? In a world full of corruption and distrust, can there really be a right thing?
Not even Captain America is sure of that.
Overall, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was a fun, smart, sophisticated approach to a classic superhero and made his role more ambiguous in the world. The action sequences were well choreographed, the acting was good all around, the comedy was consistent and it kept me enthralled from the first action sequences to the standard Marvel credit sequence.
Final Grade: A-