CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – Review by Susan Granger

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Marvel’s new cinematic adventure not only continues the superhero saga but also plunges into a Cold War conspiracy which could deliver covert technology into the hands of an enemy agent. Set two years after The Avengers alien attack in New York, U.S. Army Officer Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) becomes a target when he makes a discovery that could endanger the entire planet. Read on…

Rogers becomes suspicious about corruption within S.H.I.E.L.D. when the Secretary of the World Security Council, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), reveals top-secret plans for Project Insight, involving three, huge, high-tech drone-like “helicarriers” that float in the atmosphere instead of the ocean, insidiously spying eyes-in-the-sky. “This isn’t freedom; this is fear,” Rogers tells Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who warns Cap, “Trust no one.”

Working with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Rogers also enlists a former Iraq/Afghanistan paratrooper, Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), who is able to swoop around using giant wings. The titular bad guy is a brainwashed Russian assassin known as The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who turns out to be someone Rogers knew ‘way-back-when.

Based on Ed Brubaker’s comic book series and scripted by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely,, the quirky plot is convoluted yet adroitly directed by brothers Anthony and John Russo (TV’s Arrested Development and Community), who will be helming Captain America 3. To their credit, the Russos enhance not only the individual characters but also relevant contemporary themes of surveillance, security and control – versus liberty. Unfortunately, they over-use the shaky cam in repetitive, even confusing action sequences.

While Chris Evans doesn’t have the acting chops of Robert Downy Jr., Robert Redford gives inherent gravitas and it’s fun to spot Stan Lee in a cameo as a hapless Smithsonian security guard. Don’t leave the theater before watching the two teasers embedded in the end credits, the first directed by Joss Whedon, who helms Avengers: Age of Ultron, scheduled for May, 2015.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a spy-centric 7, a timely, intriguing espionage thriller.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.