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'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' is one of Marvel's best

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Has the summer movie season already begun? No, it hasn't even though "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" opens today, April 4. In the past, some big movies have opened during the final weekend of April. This allowed them to get a jump on the summer movie season; but, opening right now it is just too soon. Big tent pole movies, even one that is part of the Marvel Universe, can open "out of season." In fact, that may give it a chance to become more successful at the box office. Given how great this movie is, that just may happen.

This is the third solo superhero movie since "Marvel's The Avengers" and it is probably the best one since the original "Iron Man" movie. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) is now working directly with S.H.I.E.L.D. The problem is that Steve Rogers does not agree with everything S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing and what they have planned. He still feels out of place in this new world. That is not the only problem. While Rogers is continuing to adapt, there is turmoil within the agency and a new foe, The Winter Soldier, is threatening the Captain and all those around him.

"Captain America: The Winter Solider" works well on so many levels. The approach they took that they made it more of a spy/espionage movie rather than a superhero movie. Our main protagonist in the movie is a superhero, but he gets to a point where he no longer knows who he can trust, including the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). A great mystery must be unraveled and once it is we, the audience, is just as shocked to learn what is going on as the Captain. Every superhero needs a great villain to face off against and while the enemies in "Captain America: The Winter Solider" are many, The Winter Soldier himself is a great match up for Steve Rogers. He is essentially the negative carbon copy of Captain America. The two have some great fight scenes together and the filmmakers really utilize Captain’s shield against The Winter Soldier’s metal arm.

There are plenty of action sequences throughout "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and they all pay off! It just goes to show that you can't always judge someone by their resume, as the past credits of co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo do not indicate they could deliver a movie on this scale. Besides great action, there are some very sweet scenes between the characters, an element that is sometimes overlooked in other action movies. One must remember that if an audience does not care about your characters then they will not care about the outcome of an action scene.

One of the best decisions Marvel Studios made when they decided to start making these movies is hiring quality actors to fill their universe. Chris Evans does a great job playing Captain America/Steve Rogers. He does not rely on his dialogue to express his concerns about how S.H.I.E.L.D. is acting. We can see it on his face, even when he is wearing his mask. Anthony Mackie comes on board as The Falcon and as he said in an interview in Miami last year, “The costume looks really tight." Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury and nails it again. The biggest surprise bit of casting in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" would be Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce. One might think he would view a comic book movie as beneath him, but he clearly embraced and enjoyed playing this role and it shows. Finally Scarlett Johansson is phenomenal as The Black Window and hopefully she will be granted her own movie some day.

As is with most superhero movies recently made, you can see "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" in 3D, but keep some things in mind before you go spend that extra cash to see it in that format. Unlike Sony and Fox, who now shoot their Marvel properties using 3D cameras, Disney uses regular cameras and then converts the movie into 3D during post-production (and it's rarely a good conversion). An advance screening of the movie took place in West Palm Beach earlier this week. It was shown in the 2D format and everyone in the theater had a great time watching it that way. The only thing you are likely to get by seeing this movie in 3D is a lighter wallet.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" proves how a comic book movie can be so much more than that. This movie is no mere popcorn flick. The movie begins with a little humor and then unfolds to become a massive ride for an audience providing great action and twists and turns along the way. This could well be the best Marvel movie to date. It is rated PG-13 intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.

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