Captain America: The Winter Soldier blows its predecessor out of the water and rivals The Avengers for slam-bang action and thrills. It's the best Marvel movie thus far.
This time around the screenwriters have given Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) a sense of humor, and Evans is growing into the role (as are his trapezius, bicep and tricep muscles). Plus, someone figured out what Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is doing here. Mainly that means kicking ass and not even bothering with the names.
Then there's Robert Redford, as Alexander Pierce, a maybe-ally of S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization for which the Avengers work. Redford's natural good looks and guarded delivery make him an inspired choice for a government heavyweight. It's a joy to see him put his character skills to work as he parries with Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson).
The plot involves a shadow organization infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. and developing a human weapon codenamed The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) as its muscle. There's also a new weapon S.H.I.E.L.D. is developing called the helicarrier, which can kill targets from thousands of miles away.
At times, the fights become rote, but there are big action set pieces that astound. Make sure you stay through the entire closing credit sequence.
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
With Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson
Regal Stadium 14
Santa Fe Reporter