By no rights should this movie have been as good as it was.
This movie was amazing. Seriously, I'm still kind of in shock at how good it was.
Considering how much I disliked the first one, this is very high praise indeed. Here's how this movie nailed it:
There was very little exposition and introduction. Unfortunately, all these Marvel movies have their first movies as origin stories which slow everything down to a grinding halt. This film had none of these hangups and moved along at a quick pace. We're dropped right back into that universe and we're hitting the ground running.
It's a true action movie, full of awesome thrills and incredible fight sequences. It's cinematically gorgeous and amazingly choreographed. I was fully engrossed and entertained the entire time. Anytime there was a lull in the action, it was filled with scenes that actually progressed the storyline. The film lagged very minimally.
It also had some scenes that were really well placed, such as the soldier support group that Falcon runs. It was a really beautiful touch that adds a layer of connection between him and Captain America.
Of course, the identity of The Winter Soldier was no real surprise; anyone who has read the comics or has been online at all in the past year knew who was going to be behind that mask. However, Sebastian Stan was incredible, and he and Chris Evans played off of each other phenomenally.
The chemistry between all of the characters was pretty incredible. That was another really nice element to the movie: it was an ensemble piece. We have plenty of Captain America, but Black Widow, Falcon and even Nick Fury all play pivotal roles to the outcome of the plot. They were all well used, and no one was left in the corner.
That brings me to the fact that this movie wasn't centred around a love story, like the previous film. Yes, there were insinuations, and yes Black Widow spends most of the movie trying to set Cap up but those were all on the periphery.
The one thing that kind of bummed me out was near the end when we see Councilwoman Hawley (the only female in Alexander Pierce's hologram group) beat the shit out of Pierce, it's not actually her, it's Black Widow in disguise. That would h