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Captain America returns in exciting though curious sequel

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Marvel’s true red, white and blue super hero pounds back onto the big screen and brings some friends in the exciting pre-summer sequel “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Chris Evans returns his old fashioned good looks and likeability to the role of Steve Rogers, the 1940’s little guy with big ideals turned superhuman stars and stripes crusader. Though he’s 95 years old now, following a deep freeze, thawing out and induction into The Avengers, he looks even bigger and stronger than he did in his previous films. He teams up with Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow and a new character played with wonderful humor, warmth and heroics by Anthony Mackie in an action packed albeit curious outing.

It’s curious in that the story is more akin to “The Bourne Identity” than a comic book flick. A rescue at sea retrieves some secret technical data, leads to a hit on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and sees Captain America on the run from SHIELD. The story’s dark, modern, political and quite serious tone is made even more so with the addition of Robert Redford as the heavy head of SHIELD.

Curious also is the lack of color. Captain America’s costume is now a dark affair without the bright red, white and blue. Even his shield looks faded and tarnished. In fact the entire movie is starkly presented in shades of silver, grey and black. The jumping off the comic book page brilliance of the first Captain America movie and the color variety of “The Avengers” are sorely missing here. Maybe that was intended so as to give us an extra boost when the Captain goes old school late in the picture. If so, it worked.

In spite of those quirks, this is a pulse pounding thrilling entertainment laced with humor and terrific multiple character interactions and relationships. Roger’s good natured jabs of “on your left” as he repeatedly laps Sam Wilson (Mackie) on the track and Black Widow’s incessant attempts to find Rogers a date, even in the heat of battle, make these characters all the more endearing and human. We must deal with our country’s loss of innocence and face the evils of modern sensibilities just as Steve Rogers must do. And he does so with a solid blockbuster.