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Captain America: The Winter Soldier/Rated PG-13 for violence

Although comic book genius, trillionaire, and part time actor Stan Lee is now 92, he refuses to slow down. If you add up the gross box office results of all of the Marvel films he has appeared in, he now is the biggest box office actor of all time. Despite this, when you see Stan for his cameo in CATWS, his line is, “I am so fired.” I don’t think so, Stan.

Also not fired is actor Chris Evans. This is his fifth co-starring part with Lee, and since CATWS saw a box office of over $300 million its opening weekend worldwide, there will be a lot more CA films to follow.

This time out, Captain America is facing traitors in the upper echelon of SHIELD, as well as a new army of bad guys from Hydra, and a super-duper bad guy known as The Winter Soldier. You need to watch the previous CA film, and at least The Avengers, to know what is going on and understand all of the acronyms. If you don’t, then expect to be very confused when you see CATWS. I saw all of the films and I’m still a little cloudy about what’s going on and why.

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Not that it matters. This film is top-end entertainment full of CA’s angst, lots and lots of big time action scenes, and a big surprise from Scarlett Johanssen as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow when she plays dress up. The chases, car crashes, shootings, and explosions are continuous. And it all works well.

The only respite in the action is when CA starts feeling some angst over his past – and since he was born in 1918, he has a lot of past to be angsty about. He slept through a lot of it, but during his waking hours he tends to get very, very active. Robert Redford chips in as the SHIELD’s head guy.

Watch the scene where RR opens the refrigerator in his apartment and you might spot a jar of Newman’s Own sauce sitting on a shelf. (Redford and Newman had a lot of important collaborations. The two best were The Sting in 1973, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969).

While there’s some humor, this film has a definite dark side and takes the series in a more serious direction than the previous Marvel films. A few characters in the first CA film are back, which is surprising but not unexpected if you have seen all the other Marvel films and have all of the characters and plot lines together in your mind.

There are two scenes that run after the credits begin to roll. Don’t leave until you are sure you have seen them both, or prepare to be even more confused than before. Captain America and the rest of the Avengers crew return next year in Avengers: The Age of Ultron. James Spader, currently the good guy on TV’s The Blacklist, will be on hand as Ultron the bad guy. No doubt Stan will be there. Will Oscar take notice?

Rated 3.9 out of 4.0 reasons to wonder why this film, which opened April 5th, was not titled Captain America: The Spring Soldier.

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