Three directors for one movie seems like it might be recipe for disaster. But Anthony (You, Me, and Dupree, Community) Russo, Joe (Welcome to Collinwood, Happy Endings) Russo, and Joss (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) Whedon prove that theory wrong by not only starting out strong, but doing the unthinkable for a Marvel Studios film: Maintaining the rhythm throughout the entire film. Expertly filmed, written, and acted, this is by far the strongest Marvel film yet in the seemingly unstoppable Avengers franchise. No matter your feelings on the not-so-subtle political subplot or the abundance of comic book fan Easter Egg moments, one thing is for certain: This is some of the best superhero action the big screen has ever seen.
Star Chris (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Losers) Evans returns to the title role and reminds us yet again that he is a versatile actor who can not only look the part, but make us care. Returning franchise favorites Scarlett (Match Point, Lost in Translation) Johansson, Samuel (Lakeview Terrace, Unthinkable) L. Jackson, Cobie (How I Met Your Mother, Agents of S. H. I. E. L. D.) Smulders, Toby (The Mist, The Hunger Games series) Jones, and Sebastian (Political Animals, Gossip Girl) Stan each play their roles perfectly, proving that someone (or, more realistically, everyone) read their source material before shooting began. New to the film this go around are Anthony (The Hurt Locker, Million Dollar Baby) Mackie, Emily (Revenge, Brothers & Sisters) VanCamp, Maximiliano (Thor, Warrior) Hernandez, and Frank (The Grey, End of Watch) Grillo, who all do a great job building the Captain America mythology for fans both new and old alike. Some cameos by Garry Shandling, Georges St-Pierre, Haley Atwell, and even Marvel mastermind Stan Lee make for a nice addition to an already excellent cast. But the true shining moment is the gravitas by the film's villain, played by none other than Robert (Spy Game, All is Lost) Redford. He is absolutely wonderful and has just the perfect amount of calm and cool collectedness to pull off such an important role.
The film's plot, numerous high-octane action sequences, and perfect cast make this not only the best entry in the Marvel movie catalog, but the most important. It sets the tone for future films (with an additional three A-listers making a great post-credits debut, leading directly into next summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron blockbuster) in that yes, humor and camp is fun every now and then, but the stakes must be high. The world must literally be at stake. And the villains, though over-the-top in their goals, must not only be terrifying, but believable. So far, this is the film of the year. It goes without saying that Evans is going to have some more fans after this film not only redeems the first movie, but quite literally, like in the opening sequences, runs laps around it.