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'Captain America: The Winter Solider' (review): Marvel at its best

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Marvel studios takes audiences back into their universe. "Captain America: The Winter Solider" premiered Friday amid much anticipation to be brought back into the Marvel universe. Opening Thursday night, it gained $10 million and by Friday had already gained $37 million. The movie continues to be well received as it is sure to claim box office gold this weekend.

The first "Captain America" movie released in 2011 received moderate reviews and success. With the success of other powerful Marvel movie franchises like "Thor" and "Iron Man" allowed them to bring out the worldwide hit "The Avengers" which put Captain America back in the spotlight. "The Winter Solider" brings back actor Chris Evans as Captain America. Audiences see other familiar characters the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and audiences also get introduced to new exciting Marvel character additions. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo take over directing duties for this movie. They create almost perfection on screen from conception to execution.

The story jumps off from where “The Avengers” movie left off, Steve Rogers aka Captain America or just simply Cap, is still trying to adjust to in the modern age. The movie moves quickly having the other movies in its background and has no problem jumping right into the story and action. Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D, quickly calls Cap and the Black Widow to a mission where a naval ship has been taken by pirates. This one single event sets the stage for all this will come. While aboard the ship, during what Cap believes is a simple rescue mission, he discovers that Black Widow has additional instructions.

The themes and issues of this movie are presented right in your face along with the action of this movie. This movie explores conspiracy, loyalty and the issue of trust as well as continues to remind audiences just how entertaining a well thought out and executed comic book movie can be. After their return to Fury, audiences discover just how important that information Black Widow retrieved is to the entire plot of the movie. Fury comes under attack and we get our first glimpse of the “Winter Soldier”, played by Sebastian Stan. This is when the action really begins to heat up and we get the first chance to see just who is on whose side.

Suddenly, the story becomes about survival and Cap deciding what to do when all he once thought and believed in is stripped away from him. The directors put the story in your face as we see Cap team up alongside Black Widow and Sam Wilson, aka Flacon (Anthony Mackie), and they take on the former S.H.I.E.L.D command and head of the World Security Council Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). Cap must turn against all he has known and destroy those who "created" him. Along the way he discovers an unexpected complication, when the identity of the Winter Solider is revealed. This element, which comic book fans expect, adds to the overall themes and intrigue of this movie.

Evans plays the character with ease and is very believable as the charming, caring and dedicated Captain America. Audiences identify with his struggle and sympathize as he comes to discover just who the “villain” is that he is up against. This movie is so well written and intermixes with such ease drama, comedy and action. It has a little bit of everything for everyone, even those like me who might not be the most avid of comic book fans.

This movie, like almost all others in the Marvel universe, hints and foreshadows the other movies to come. Be sure to stick around after the credits and even after that to not miss one of the three endings. Audiences can gladly look forward to more to come and now we all just wait for the next “Avengers” movie just to see where it all will go and ultimately how it will all play out in the end.

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