I personally was a fan of 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, having seen the movie a few months after it released on DVD. I know that initial reviews were mixed but I tend to give Marvel comic book adaptations the benefit of the doubt. Despite my bias, I really liked the set up of the Captain America character and also really liked seeing the alternative history and the connection of Hydra to the Third Reich. I felt that The First Avenger told a good origin story and that Chris Evans’ performance was really good as well. My favourite parts of the movie were the transformation that Steve Rogers’ went through from a short, scrawny man who was rejected from military service, into the tall, muscular Captain America. The use of CGI, with Chris Evans’ face being superimposed over a smaller actor’s body worked really well and made Rogers’ transformation believable.

While The First Avenger could’ve been better, many were unprepared for its masterful sequel. That movie completely took me by surprise. In particular, I was highly impressed with the switch in tone from the war/adventure movie that was The First Avenger, to the paranoid/political thriller that The Winter Soldier.

Why Captain America: The Winter Soldier Was A Serious Game Changer…

Since the creation of the Marvel cinematic universe, comic book movies made by Marvel, DC, Sony and Fox have had their ups and down. Recently, I wrote a post on why I prefer Marvel’s movies to DC’s and you can take a look at that if you’re interested in further knowing my opinion. This time around, I want to get into why I feel that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is better than Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X2, Batman Begins and Tim Burton’s Batman, which are some of my favourite comic book movies of all time. I also think that The Winter Soldier is better than The Dark Knight and Richard Donner’s Superman.

3 Reasons Why Captain America: The Winter Soldier Worked So Well…

First off, the directors. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was directed by a team known as the Russo brothers who were mainly known for directing comedic movies and TV shows beofre they worked on The Winter Soldier. This risk initially made many of us nervous, especially when looking up the Russo brother’s resume on IMDB. What would the directors of You, Me and Dupree know about a serious comic book movie? The answer was lot. From the action, to the character development, to the sprinkles of humour throughout, both Russo brother worked very hard and made an incredibly balanced, well-made comic book movie, despite the skepticism they received.

Second, the action. I know that this might seem a little general because there’s always a lot of action in every comic book movie, and of course it has to be both intense. However, the one element that sells me every single time is the assault on Nick Fury’s SUV. Travelling from S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Nick Fury is ambushed and initiates a series of defensive technologies in his car that turns out to be an absolutely breathtaking sequence. Not only was this scene intense but it was something no one had never seen before. Ok sure, we’ve seen car chases and shootouts in cars plenty of times but how many times have we seen a machine gun pop up from the middle of a front seat and then have the driver dig a tunnel underneath the car to safety? Not many times at all and if you haven’t seen this sequence before, please go watch the movie. It’s incredible. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to move on without mentioning the elevator fight scene. That is seriously one of the best confined action sequences I’ve ever seen on film.

Third, Robert Redford. Probably the one of the main reasons why I love Captain America: The Winter Soldier so much is because of Robert Redford plays the antagonist in the movie. While many actors have recently taken up roles in comic book movies, Robert Redford is an Oscar-winning legend whose careers spans 5 decades. When someone like him appears in a comic book movie, which only 20 years ago would have been dismissed as total rubbish, it not only brings credibility to the genre but it confirms the genre as acceptable. The significance of Redford is symbolic for many of us who never dreamed that an actor of his calibre would appear in such a movie. But the times they are a changing. Superheroes and comic book adaptations are popular for a reason. It’s because they’re finally drawing in big numbers and big crowds. This means that screen legends like Robert Redford have taken notice and Redford himself has even stated that he took the role in The Winter Soldier because he wanted to try something different. This new opportunity has given comic book adaptations more credibility and this shouldn’t be overlooked when judging why The Winter Solider is a terrific comic book movie.

For all the reasons I gave above and for the many more I didn’t have time to go into, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the greatest comic book movie ever made, so far. While I’m sure it will have a lot of competition in the next few years, I place it at the top my list. It’s an achievement that more than deserves to be there and is a great movie that I cannot recommend enough.