Cast - Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Colbie Smulders Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford
Director - Anthony and Joe Russo
Rating - ****
The sequel to 2011's 'Captain America: The First Avenger' follows Steve Rogers/Captain America and his attempt to survive in the modern world. The film takes place after the events of 'The Avengers' and starts off by explaining that Captain America now works closely with Natasha Romanoff/The Black Widow and goes on missions for world peace keeping organisation S.H.I.E.L.D.
The film without giving away any major spoilers is a conspiracy thriller, that revolves around the infiltration of the world's biggest espionage agency. Cap along with Widow and other allies must thwart the conspiracy before millions of people die.
Chris Evans reprises his role as the eponymous character and does a brilliant job of portraying the conflicting nature of a soldier who wants to follow orders, but also won't follow them blindly. Till this point, in the first film and even in 'The Avengers', we've only seen a one sided image of the first Avenger. But in this film, Evans really steps up, and provides an engaging lead troubled with his past while also giving us a look at the truly human side of his character. Although the film doesn't focus on it outright, it also subtly focuses on the issues of privacy and the ever conflicting view of safety and peace. The film has the message that we shouldn't give up our freedom so easily, and Captain America, the epitome of the Land of the Free is the best advocate of such a charge.
The supporting cast included Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Colbie Smulders and Samuel L Jackson reprising their roles as Natasha Romanoff, Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier, Maria Hill and Nick Fury respectively. And what a cast it is, all three of them add to what is definitely one of the best cast superhero movies in the MCU. Johansson gets much more screen time, and it works well. Her character gets a great deal of development, flushing out her fierce nature while also showing you that she is a little apprehensive about her past. The chemistry between her and Evans is simply beautiful and one of the finer points in the movie.
Stan doesn't get much screen time as such, but his role will definitely be expanded in further films and with his strong performance even in the brief time he was on screen, it should be worth looking forward to.
Anthony Mackie and Robert Redford are new comers to the franchise. Redford plays Alexander Pierce, a higher up at S.H.I.E.L.D and does a fabulous job as the calm and collected manipulator behind the scenes. Mackie joins the MCU as Sam Wilson/The Falcon - long time Avenger and best friend to Steve Rogers in the comics. Mackie had some great lines in the movie, and his chemistry with Evans makes you believe the strong friendship they will eventually have in any subsequent sequels. He's a welcome addition to the franchise.
In addition the acting, the film has a good amount of action that plays out throughout the film and the direction and cinematography of the fight scenes is absolutely brilliant. Great stunts and smart sequences make the action a little more down to Earth, even in a big budget superhero film. The opening scene itself in which Rogers infiltrates a hostage ridden ship is one to marvel about.
The film soars far higher than most of the other Marvel movies because each cast member has a part to play and does it well. The story-line explores real issues and makes the story work well while also introducing new elements to the main universe. The changes seen in the film will have repercussions through the rest of the franchise.
Another plus point is there are various pop-culture references riddled through the film. There's a great nod to Samuel L Jackson's role in 'Pulp Ficiton', a fantastic cameo by Danny Pudi from 'Community' and a couple of lesser known Marvel characters who make an appearance.
Overall the film is by far one of Marvel's best films, the cast delivers a strong and engaging performance and the movie will definitely be enjoyed by comic book fans and non-fans alike.
PS. There are two post credits scenes that will tie into the main franchise, so don't miss it.