Back when ‘The Avengers’ came out in 2012, I said that it was the best superhero movie ever. It was quite the bold statement and it’s one that I still stand by, but after I saw ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, I questioned my choices for a bit. While it was definitely a great superhero movie that appeased both casual fans and comic book fanboys (and fangirls), I felt like it was a pretty epic movie overall.

After the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers headed to Washington DC to continue working with Black Widow and Nick Fury in S.H.I.E.L.D. as an asset. But as Cap struggles to embrace his role in modern society, his past comes back to haunt him in the form of a deadly assassin known as The Winter Soldier, who happens to only be one piece of an intricate scheme years in the making.

The first thing that made the sequel to ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ great was the script. There were so many unexpected twists and turns in the story that I definitely didn’t see coming, so it made the movie watching exciting. It borrowed just the right amount from the source material written by the amazing Ed Brubaker while still offering enough new and different material to make it fresh for long-time fans. As someone who holds the Winter Soldier storyline very near and dear to my heart, I felt the writers treated it with respect and definitely did it justice with their adaptation. It also helps that the character design from the page to the screen was super badass.

Next, the choice of directors was so solid. At first, I was a bit hesitant about Anthony and Joe Russo because they were primarily known for directing comedy prior to this. However, the action sequences were very well done and the overall look of the film was really cool. They must have done their homework because there was a distinct action thriller feel to much of the movie that was reminiscent of classic spy movies, but with a superhero twist.

Speaking of classic spy movies, Robert Redford (as expected) was phenomenal in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’. While the rest of the cast like Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson did a great job reprising their roles, Redford stood out the most to me. He’s an old veteran when it comes to spy movies, but he takes his old reliable genre and spins it on his head. There are so many things that I want to say about Alexander Pierce, but that’s nearing spoiler territory, which I’m doing my best to avoid. However, I can talk about Anthony Mackie, who also did a great job in his first go as Sam Wilson AKA the Falcon. His chemistry with Chris Evans made it seem like they’ve been friends for years. I loved Cap and Sam’s back and forth and I hope Marvel Studios decides to use him in more things in the future. I’m also a fan of his uniform, which takes on a more functional purpose rather than the flair of his comic book counterpart. At first, I thought the lack of color would make it boring, but it worked out just right, especially when you see the red in the goggles.

Finally, at the end of the day, the best thing you can say to describe the Star-Spangled Avenger’s latest feature film is that it’s a game changer. As Marvel has consistently done in the past, they raised the bar for the superhero genre once again. But at the same time, they changed the game for their own cinematic universe completely. Nothing will be the same after this movie for the characters in this world, which creates the opportunity for some really exciting stories in the future. We’re in for some epic stuff when ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ rolls around, but until then, I think I’ll head to the theater and watch ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ again in IMAX 3D because I’d say that it’s the best solo Marvel film so far.

Final Score: