By KILY WONG ’16
Raking in $95 million in ticket sales just after opening weekend, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” did not disappoint as a sequel.
By filling the movie with suspense, plot-twists and tension, co-writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely prove that superheroes can be more than just comic characters brought to life.
Set in present day Washington D.C., Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) finds himself continuing to participate in missions for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. At the same time, he attempts to integrate himself into the rest of society. But as he completes his most recent mission with partner Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Rogers realizes that there might be more to three giant satellite-linked Helicarriers than meet the eye.
Once armed, these massive aircraft carriers can target all probable threats in the world and eliminate them in a matter of seconds. While their sole purpose is to ensure order and security by only being activated with care and diligence, their very existence is questionable. This notion is the core question that directors Anthony and Joe Russo pose in their film: If there were 100 people we could kill to make us safer, would we do it? What if there’s 1,000? A million?
In an interview with Glenn Beck, the directors admitted that the film is in fact a critique of Obama’s drone policy and the National Security Agency.
However, as S.H.I.E.L.D. becomes compromised soon after an attempt on Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) life, Rogers is left not knowing who to trust. Fury’s last words to him were instructions to trust no one. Armed with only his shield and a flash drive of encrypted data, he is soon deemed a fugitive by Alexander Pierce, head of the World Security Council, and is forced to go on the run.
Teaming up with Romanoff, Rogers discovers that the assassin who went after Fury is known as the “Winter Soldier.” As the duo struggle to uncover the true mole within S.H.I.E.L.D., deactivate the helicarriers and stop the Winter Soldier, they discover truths that they wished they never had to face.
But even as they struggle to take on the responsibility of maintaining world order and global security, the two are joined by Sam Wilson and his “Falcon” wing-pack which allows him to become a soaring side-kick. Together, they learn to combat psychological traumas of war, arm themselves against “blasts” from the past and address the politics of national security.
Despite the gravity of the film’s themes and the explosiveness of the non-stop mix of stunts, exchanges of punches and kicks and car chases, there is some comic relief. However, nothing happens beyond the teasing attraction between Evans and Romanoff. “But the chemistry is there, which is important,” Johansson said in a recent L.A. Times article. “Just because they’re not romantically involved doesn’t mean that they’re not still attracted to each other as people. I like that the door is open a little bit.”
In the end though, maybe the reason why this film resonated with so many viewers is because of its ability to help us better understand, critique and navigate the world in which we live. As Fury warns us, “You need to keep both eyes open.”