REVIEW (GRADE: A-)
As much a political espionage thriller as it is a superhero film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds the hero's idealistic, WWII-era patriotism challenged in the modern world by the discovery of corruption in high places. The film rather shrewdly uses the comic book genre to examine the real-world dilemmas of sacrificing freedom in our quest for security. If that sounds too heavy, not to worry, this is first and foremost an action-packed adventure with fistfights, chases, and explosions bolstered by a winning sense of humor.
As a sequel, the film advances its characters and makes some unexpected narrative choices that are sure to shake up the entire Marvel universe. Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Cobie Smulders, and Samuel L. Jackson continue their fine work from before, while Robert Redford and Anthony Mackie are welcome additions. As the titular Winter Soldier, Sebastian Stan is fierce, frightening, and sympathetic. While some plot points are underdeveloped and the action is a tad over the top (even for this type of film), this is a must-see for Marvel fans.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Captain America- The Winter Soldier is rated PG-13. There is one s-word and a handful of mild profanities. There is no sex or nudity (a man and woman kiss). There is a lot of action violence, with punching, kicking, shooting, stabbing, and presumed civilian casualties as chases and shootouts occur in public places.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Like Captain Moroni, Captain America defends freedom by weeding out power-hungry enemies pretending to be his allies (see Alma 60). “I don't know how you feel, my brethren and sisters, but I'd rather be dead than to lose my liberty. I have no fear we'll ever lose it because of invasion from the outside. But I do fear that it may slip away from us because of our own indifference, our own negligence, as citizens of this land. And so I plead with you this morning that you take an active interest in matters pertaining to the future of this country.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The LDS Church and Politics,” BYU Devotional, December 1, 1952).