Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the first post-Avengers Marvel movie to give me and most other Marvel fans the one thing we’ve wanted. The one thing Iron Man 3 squandered away for a punchline. The one thing Thor: The Dark World got close to delivering but got handcuffed by Thor’s…well…immortality. Captain America: The Winter Soldier finally gave me STAKES. It finally provides the feeling of true peril and importance to the grand scheme of this carefully constructed Marvel cinematic universe. People not only get hurt in this film, they get hurt bad. They bleed, they suffer, they die. And throughout the chaos, you finally get the sense that important sh%* is on the line. AND THAT’S EXCLUDING THE WINTER SOLDIER PLOTLINE!
I’ve been on media blackout for this followup to Captain America: The First Avenger since I saw the face melting first trailer. I did this because Marvel, god bless ’em, has a bad habit of revealing the best parts of their films in their commercials. (Not as bad as Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 revealing EVERY part of their film in their 30+ commercials, but still.) That first trailer gave me everything I needed to know about this film. Since then, I’ve inadvertently overheard really positive stuff, going as far as to say, “It’s better than The Avengers”. Well, I’m of the opinion that The Avengers is THE BEST superhero film ever made. So, to even make a claim like that really raised my expectations for what I’d see. I’m glad to report my expectations were met with ease. Now, I’m not saying that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is better than The Avengers. I mean, COME ON! Need I remind you THIS happened?: