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'Captain America' returns

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Rating:
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Marvel Studios is continuing to be inventive in their films and promotions of them. A few years ago, Marvel was almost exclusively a summer blockbuster affair. Since “The Avengers” rewrote the success of their ever-expanding universe, Marvel has been wisely positioning films in areas where competition is far lacking. Continue to create the blockbuster films and franchises, but place them in holiday times (“Thor: The Dark World”) and early spring to better increase attendance.

“The Avengers” franchise may be years away from the sequel hitting the screen, the tie-in franchise have all experienced a bump since the supergroup came out. Both the latest “Iron Man” and “Thor” films noticed a very healthy improvement on sales. The increased awareness and fondness for the predecessor has also affected the latest “Captain America,” which debuted this weekend.

Following the events of “The Avengers,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” sees supersoldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) teaming with Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and S.H.I.E.L.D. in modern time. When a mysterious threat and a growing conspiracy put Captain at the center of it all, he must search for answers among people sworn to protect them.

The thing that makes this franchise unique compared to other Marvel stories is how the film is so rooted in adult-oriented storylines. Conspiracy, freedom, war, honesty, and espionage all are key elements of political thrillers. Despite being more patriotic than political, it still has a thriller core to it that elevates the story above basic action-adventure tropes. The more than capable cast, including scene-stealers Anthony Mackie and Robert Redford, keep the film moving. It doesn’t lose steam or feel stretched in the third act like many films appear to do these days. Content with one simple ending as opposed to many, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a classic superhero film. Smart, integrated story of Roger’s past and brush with S.H.I.E.L.D. make it feel familiar while building on the mythos. 4 out of 5 stars.

Check your local listings for showtimes and theaters (click here)

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