The arrival of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is the franchise film equivalent of throwing out the first pitch to open the baseball season. It could be worse. If we must endure yet another spring-summer cycle of comic book superheroes, this movie at least delivers the wham-bang goods (recycled though they may be).
Muscly Chris Evans is back as Captain America, this time in modern-day Washington, D.C., where it appears that nefarious traitors are undermining S.H.I.E.L.D. More topical than most films of this ilk – supersecret surveillance tactics are at the core of the shenanigans – this second installment in the “Captain America” series is a bit heavier on real-world blood and bullets than is customary (or necessary) for this kind of escapade.
But codirectors (and brothers) Joe and Anthony Russo keep the action nimble and literally high-flying. Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, and no one wears an eyepatch better. Scarlett Johansson, reprising her role as ex-Soviet operative Black Widow, mostly slinks and slugs. Robert Redford plays against type as a paramilitary meanie. Add another sack of gold to Marvel’s coffers. Grade: B (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.)