Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo.

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Robert Redford, Frank Grillo.

Running Time: 136 minutes.

Certificate: 12A.

Synopsis: Two years after the events of New York, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still considerably out of his time and struggling to adapt to the modern-day. He is soon forced into a world where mysterious, sinister forces are at work that may endanger everyone, only to find out the true cost of peace.

There are those of us that would condemn CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER to a destitute and unworthy shelf life simply out of disdain towards its predecessor, THE FIRST AVENGER. But this sequel far from deserves that treatment. THE WINTER SOLDIER is, on the outside, a visual spectacle that steers fast from the classic patriotism that was featured in the star-spangled forerunner, straight into the technologically driven age of today. THE WINTER SOLDIER is the finest Marvel film to date providing a level of insight, retrospectively, which forces us to reexamine the significance and influence of THE FIRST AVENGER. At its core, it contains a degree of self-reflection that is sincerely sombre, whilst recognising a sense of humour akin to the witticisms of IRON MAN. Quite frankly, it understands that in order to build a better cinematic universe, sometimes you have to tear down – or revolutionise – the old one.

It truly is a marvel to see how our starry-eyed patriot has evolved post-AVENGERS – roughly the same time as IRON MAN 3, for those of you uncertain as to the timeline. Leaving the audience at times howling with laughter and, on occasion, almost in tears, the sequel transcends the limitations set by its predecessor whilst mesmerising with impressive performances from everyone on-board.

The tone, though darker, grittier, and far more intense, aligns wonderfully with the sociopolitical undertones that add a shockingly realistic dimension to the universe, all the while complimented by Henry Jackman’s fantastic score that provokes a sense of wonderment akin to that of the earlier INDIANA JONES films. The frequency and scale of its majestically choreographed physical vehemence is far from gratuitous, and, though it’s not necessarily required in creating a gripping, thrilling experience, it certainly helps.

The Russo’s first Marvel outing grabs you by the scruff of the neck only to demand your respect. It is to THE FIRST AVENGER what THE DARK KNIGHT is to BATMAN BEGINS, and until THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON rolls along, THE WINTER SOLDIER will reign supreme. The Russo Brothers truly raise the bar for films of the superheroic – a rather large surprise, considering their last directorial effort was YOU, ME AND DUPREE.

In a nutshell, the Cap’s second solo adventure is the gasp of fresh air you’ve been waiting for, and after you see it you’ll be craving it even more. THE WINTER SOLDIER’s complex continuity has ignited a new era in the genre and is a superpowered masterpiece that develops America’s poster boy into a hero any fan would be proud to see on the silver screen.

[usr=5] CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 26th March and in the US on Friday 4th April, 2014.