'Captain America' Sequel Makes for a Stellar Thriller

According to Peter Travers, 'The Winter Soldier' leaves other superhero films in the cold

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It's rare that Peter Travers reaches back in time to highlight a film on At the Movies, but he's got a good reason for this unprecedented move. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which opened last week, is already the biggest movie to ever hit theaters in April and it'll likely take the top spot at the box office for the second straight weekend. 

The Winter Soldier picks up after 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger (and the 2012 blockbuster Avengers movie), with Steve Rogers – the scrawny WWII private turned super soldier, played beautifully by Chris Evans – still navigating contemporary America after being frozen for 70 years.

Find Out Where 'Rolling Stone' Readers Ranked 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' On Our List of the 15 Greatest Superhero Movies

Travers has high praise for the directorial work of comedy vets Joe and Anthony Russo (Arrested Development, Community), who show Captain America trying to understand new music and Thai food, while also scoring his first kiss since 1945 (Scarlett Johansson, as the Black Widow, helps him out on that front).

"The jokes come and then the fights come," Travers says, adding that the movie takes on the style of 1970s paranoid thrillers, like Three Days of the Condor, when Robert Redford shows up as a nefarious Donald Rumsfeld-esque figure. "It's great to see Redford playing a bad guy," Travers says, specifically singling out his confrontation with Nick Fury, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., played by Samuel L. Jackson.

"We actually have a smart movie based on a Marvel comic that actually touches you here," Travers raves. "Of course you need to see it." For the film critic, this patriotic superhero up there alongside Iron Man, but let him know in the comments, e-mail, text – even shout it from your roof – what you think. "Even if you hate me," he says, "tell me what you think! But I'm standing here right now saying, 'I'm all about Captain America.'"