This is the latest film to come out of the ever-growing Marvel universe in what has shaped up to be one of the most impressive movie strategies of all time. Marvel Studios has been releasing one to two films a year with enough of a tie-in to each other to ultimately connect them all. Each of these movies are a lead-up to the second Avengers film, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will probably be the biggest movie in the history of superhero movies.
So is background in the series needed for this film? Not necessarily. For those of us who are newcomers (myself included. This is the fourth movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe I’ve seen – the first Captain America not among them, and I’ve never read the comics), enough backstory is provided or implied to get the gist of what is going on, though it’s helpful to go in prepared anyway.
Starring Chris Evans as the titular hero, Captain America is now working for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the aftermath of the events from The Avengers as he continues to adjust to modern life. The story takes a familiar approach to the digital apocalypse that uses information gathered to anticipate people who are deemed future threats to world security.
In other words, the plot doesn’t seem to be central to the film, at least compared to the significance of Captain America’s relationships with S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the so-called Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), whose presence seems limited considering his placement in the film’s title.
The underwhelming plot is made up by character development and lots of flash and glamour in the way of futuristic technology and battle scenes. Mind you, the technology-boasting isn’t quite Mission: Impossible or James Bond level and the effects are far enough away still from being likened to a Michael Bay flick, but it still brings unnecessary clutter.
For those more in tune with the Marvel universe, I can only refer you to those in-the-know who have in fact deemed The Winter Soldier as one of the best of the series so far. For those like me, I went into the film with no expectations and came out of it satisfied.
I’m hardly the target for these films but I appreciate the effort put into making a film that appeals to the diehards without shunning potential newcomers. It’s an incredible feat to attempt and actually pull off.
Yet, when you think about it, it doesn’t even matter whether these films have universal appeal as long as they continue to appeal to the already established fans because they have such a large pull. The roll-out of these movies has been well-received and continue to get even better as the stage gets set for the next Avengers film. It’s an all-around winning formula and there’s no turning back now.