I wasn't that cracked about the first Captain America movie, but the sequel more than made up for it. The juxtaposition of someone from the Greatest Generation dealing with the fucked up world we have today made Steve Rogers shine.
Oh Goddess, where do I start?
1) I think in my secret heart-of-hearts I hoped Marvel Studios would tap the Winter Soldier storyline. Sebastian Stan did a delicious job as James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes in the first Captain America movie. In this case, making Bucky the same age as Cap instead of his junior sidekick, as well as having the two of them being childhood friends, twisted the knife even more cruelly when Steve discovers what has been done to Bucky.
2) Two sidekicks in one movie! Just as Bucky had been Cap's sidekick in the '40's comics, Falcon filled that role in the '70's, aka my childhood. I'm thankful that the writers turned Sam Wilson back to his social services roots (as a returning veterans counselor in the movie) as opposed to the pimp/drug dealer an asshole comic writer retconned Sam into when I was a kid. (The retcon in the book seriously pissed me off even as a kid. Heaven forbid a black man be a respectable citizen!)
3) Black Widow kicking ass. 'Nuff said.
4) Yeesh! The effects this movie will have Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s storyline! I'm a little upset about Sitwell, and I'll be even more upset if May follows in his footsteps, which seems to be where the storyline is going. But the rest of the season should be very interesting!
5) Chris Evans has finally found his happy place as Cap. Over Christmas, I re-watched Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. I'm more aware of how stiff Chris was in the first movie. I'm not sure how much was the directing and how much was him, but I think that's what contributing to my dissatisfaction with the first movie. In The Avengers, I think working with RDJ made Chris step up his game. In this one, he obviously feels a lot more comfortable donning the star-spangled suit.
6) The "ripped from the headlines" story was a pleasant surprise. The writers did an incredible job of adapting the Snowden incident to the Marvel world with the correspondingly devastating ramifications.
Overall, I'd give this movie a 9 out of 10.
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