Captain America_ The Winter Soldier Movie PosterMarvel Entertainment

“How do we tell the good guys from the bad guys?”
“If they’re shooting at you, they’re bad.”

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D. C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S. H. I. E. L. D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy–the Winter Soldier.

I’m just going to have to come out and say it: I, your beloved Uncle NecRo, identify as a post-Comic Book Geek. I used to be all about the comic book love…then Marvel more or less killed it for me with the all but universally reviled “One More Day” Spider-Man storyline, with DC’s New 52 being the final nail in the coffin of my former obsession of the four-color print medium. But, that didn’t kill my love of modern superheroes, and fortunately we’re still in the midst of a superhero movie renaissance, and thus I can get a decent geek fix without feeling overcharged for something that normally boils down to a quick couple’a minutes read on the crapper.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the second Captain America movie to be produced by Marvel Studios as part of the Marvel Movie Universe, and takes place two years after the events of the first Avengers movie. The Cap is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. under Nick Fury, and is first seen in this movie helping to free hostages on a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel by mercenaries lead by none other than Batroc the Leaper. Geek-boy senses, tingling. The Black Widow is along, and seems to have a different agenda than Cap was expecting, and thus after everything is taken care of, confronts Fury about the deviation and not being told about it. Cap is then told about some satellites that were designed to eliminate potential threats, information of which was stored on the ship, but was unable to decrypt. Fury is then ambushed by the titular Winter Soldier, escapes and gives Cappy a flash drive containing the data from the ship, and then is gunned down and presumably dies in surgery. Cap is then declared persona non grata by S.H.I.E.L.D., and is now hunted as a fugitive, with only a small handful of friends he can trust, including the Falcon, a former Air Force pararescueman with some badass wings. Slowly, they peel back the layers of the conspiracy, discover that the Winter Soldier is actually Bucky all brainwashed for evil, and work to bring down Hydra within, take down the death satellites, and maybe try to save Bucky in the process.

In the comics, Bucky was killed off (implied, anyway) in the 1940s, after the comic book itself was discontinued in the Golden Age, and remained that way through the decades. The joke was that, in the Marvel Universe, the only characters that stay dead are Bucky and Uncle Ben. Then they brought him back, when they revealed in 2005 that the mysterious Winter Solider that was introduced in Captain America comics was in reality Captain America’s former sidekick all grown up and brainwashed for evil. Not to mention looking rather good and young thanks to being put in cryo-freeze in-between missions for the bad guys. It’s only a matter of time before they figure out a way to bring back Uncle Ben, and make him one of Spider-Man’s rogues.

I bring that up because, admittedly, I never really got into the Captain America comics. Like a lot of the Marvel icons that I never got into reading, I am familiar with certain story arcs and character developments and such. And the Winter Soldier arc, due to the waves it caused in fandom with the reveal of his identity, was one I was well familiar with without having to actually read the story line. All things considered, it makes sense to introduce him into this movie, despite not being considered one of Captain America’s “classic” villains. The Winter Soldier seems to work well with the overarching story that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is telling, and let’s face it—Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one fine piece of movie storytelling in and of itself. And again, I didn’t think I’d be all that interested, until I decided to go watch it at the second-run theater out of boredom. It’s yet another fine action adventure movie, filled with some great action scenes, snappy dialogue, a good spy thriller undertone, and enough fanboy nods that even I was able to point out. The movie is a lot darker in tone than the previous, and they did a very good job at making the Captain a much deeper and palpable character without loosing the inspirational icon in the process.

Once again, I have to admit that I enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier much more than I had anticipated. Unlike the first Captain America movie (which I have yet to get around to reviewing as of this writing, my bad), I at least caught it on the big screen at the El Cheepo second-run theater. Recommended watching.