We are inside the top four and the fight to be named the Best Movie is becoming fierce. We have already heaped praise on a string of wonderful films, but today is the turn of Captain America: The Winter Solider, which is in at four.
The Winter Solider was the first of two Marvel movies that we were treated to this year, as Chris Evans returns to the role of Steve Rodgers for the first time since Avengers Assemble back in 2012.
This was the first Captain America solo movie with Rodgers in the 21st Century and it was all change in the director's chair. Anthony and Joe Russo took over the franchise from Joe Johnston in what was their first Marvel film.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. However, when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn.
When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy - the Winter Soldier.
I have to say, The Winter Soldier was my favourite blockbuster movie of the year, and really did rival Avengers Assemble as my favourite Marvel movie of all time.
What I love about the Marvel films is that they are all part of this interweaving universe and yet they all work as solo movies - this is one of Marvel films that really does stand proudly on its own. You don't need to have seen any of the other Marvel films to truly understand what is going on - yet it subtly nods to characters and moments from other movies for those who have seen them.
While this is a movie that is, of course, laden with wonderful special effects - which look terrific - Anthony and Joe Russo have delivered a movie that has the story and the characters at its core. This is the first film that really explores Rodgers' struggle to find his place in the 21st Century and trust the people around him.
But it is not only Rodgers that is given more layers; we also see some of the mystery of Nick Fury and Black Widow stripped away. Scarlett Johansson is a great addition to the Captain America franchise as these is a really chemistry between Johansson and Evans.Anthony Mackie is also a terrific addition as Falcon, and I hope that he is a character that we going to see more of going forward. Mackie brings a real swagger to this character and I love the banter between Mackie and Evans.
The pair may be on the same team, yet there is a friction and a distrust of one another at the beginning of the film - especially from Rodgers. Through the course of the film, their relationship grows and it really is the core of this movie.
The Winter Solider truly is an action packed ride from start to finish and is packed with some wonderful set pieces that are bigger than anything that they had attempted before. This is a blockbuster that also has real substance as well as looking good, and is one of the best movies of the year.
A third solo film is already in the pipeline - which will explore the Civil War storyline - and it is great to know that the Russo brothers will be back in the director's chair to develop this franchise further.
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