Review — Newest Marvel installment adds character development to film, modern issues

The best and worst thing about the Marvel movies is the unrelenting action, plot twists and sometimes formulaic structure. But with the latest installment in the Captain America series, “The Winter Soldier,” there’s an added delight. The characters actually undergo some personal development.

Typically, the films aren’t known for a focus on character: it’s more about the fight, the seemingly constant struggle to save humanity. Sometimes it can be dissatisfying for the viewer, but that has been resolved for this latest Captain America and the movie’s supporting characters. Right off the bat, the captain (Chris Evans) shares his normal human struggles. Sure, a few minutes later he’s shown combating bad guys, falling from the sky without a parachute, but it starts off with that human element that was missing from other SUBMITTED PHOTO - New movie -- Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans face off during a rescue mission in the latest Captain America film, 'The Winter Soldier.' The film opened April 4.

It continues with Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson), who until now hasn’t been portrayed as much more than a mysterious spy. And it’s much appreciated.

“The Winter Soldier” starts about two years after the first film, with Steve Rogers saving hostages and learning about “Project Insight,” a S.H.I.E.L.D. project that promises to eliminate threats before they occur via firepower placed in the sky. Playing with modern concerns, Rogers comments on the morality of the situation.

“You hold a gun on everyone on Earth and call it protection. This isn’t freedom, this is fear,” he said.

Exploring political issues that concern modern society is unusual in the Marvel franchise. It’s a nice touch trying to break away from the mold.

The plot thickens with the appearance of the Winter Soldier himself, a man who moves like the wind and is thought a myth. Fighting corruption, as is the captain’s forte, he struggles to save himself and the world.

Among the gunfire and explosions, something the franchise has done well is comedic relief. It’s often used to push the plot forward during chaotic or overwhelming scenes. It’s typically a brief moment, but gives viewers a chance to take a break, have a laugh and continue with the fight.

For those who haven’t enjoyed the Marvel movies, “The Winter Soldier” might have enough substance to be entertaining. For those who follow the series, it doesn’t disappoint.

The film opened April 4.

4 Stars ("Worth Seeing")

Contract Publishing

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