STORY: Captain America realizes that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised by an internal group and soon, he will have to face a formidable enemy created in the Soviet Union during the Cold War era – the Winter Soldier.
REVIEW: Captain America (Evans) is an embodiment of a set of values – truth, honesty, courage and so on that were predominant during the ’40s. He never loses sight of that in contemporary times, despite some good-natured ribbing from Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett) and war veteran Sam Wilson (Mackie), whom he befriends during a morning jog.
During an action sequence where Rogers, Romanoff and members of the Strike team are called upon to rescue a S.H.I.E.L.D ship from French-Algerian pirates, Rogers notices Romanoff downloading classified data from the ship’s computers. That, along with a subsequent meeting with Nick Fury (Jackson), makes him question S.H.I.E.L.D’s validity and his own role in it, especially when it comes to ‘Operation: Insight’, the brainchild of thesuper-secret group HYDRA.
‘Insight’ involves a trio of surveillance ‘Helicarriers’ linked to spy satellites that can eliminate all kinds of ‘threats’ (read: a metaphor for totalitarian control by the state) with lethal fire from the sky. It’s hard not to interpret this as a reference to modern-day drone warfare. In fact, there are quite a few visual metaphors and cross-references from the Marvel universe scattered throughout the film.
There is also a barely-concealed dig at the God-like superhero dialogues. “Man, shut the hell up,” is what Wilson snaps at Brock Rumlow (Grillo) when the latter starts pontificating during a fight. And no Marvel fan should miss the legendary Stan Lee’s nifty cameo. Robert Redford plays the smooth bad guy Alexander Pierce with panache.
While Romanoff adds some playful sex appeal, Captain America is a lot more aggressive in this outing as he takes on the Winter Soldier (Stan) and increasingly uses his shield as an offensive weapon. Rogers might not have Batman’s toys, Tony Stark’s wisecracks or Superman’s strength, but he is the most ‘human’. This ranks among the finest in the superhero genre.