Just when Steve Rogers, the chemically enhanced Captain America, is settling down peacefully in his town and coping with contemporary society after coming off a different era, the law-enforcement agency called S.H.I.E.L.D., of which he is a part, is attacked.
S.H.I.E.L.D stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, but has had many variations since it was created in 1965, when it first appeared in the comic book “Strange Tales” by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
In the second installment to the “Captain America” franchise that stars Chris Evans as the titular character, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), aka Black Widow, joins forces with the hero to fight off a covert and furtive adversary known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who is threatening to destroy the fabric of society.
With help from a newfound ally, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and backed by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nicky Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain America tries to take down one of the most powerful enemies yet.
The film takes off after the events in “The Avengers” (2012), in which the legion of superheroes—Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and Captain America himself—defeats the deadly, extraterrestrial race of Chitauri that is starting to take over the world.
Since its debut in 1941 by creators Joe Simon and Kirby, “Captain America” comics have sold more than 210 million copies in more than 70 countries. From the first comic-book cover image displaying a young hero with the American flag on his chest, punching Adolf Hitler square in the jaw, to the current iteration, the character remains relatively unchanged in many ways.
“They’ve done a lot of things since Jack and I worked on the character; however, we’re still reminded who Captain America is and what he is,” Simon said. “He is a symbol. He is an icon.”
Stan Lee, who is also the film’s executive producer, revived the character early on after Marvel halted its publication. He said he has always seen it as a “timeless character that is still relevant today.”
“When I became the editor of Marvel, the company had stopped publishing ‘Captain America’ and I told them I wanted to bring that character back. But I don’t just want to make him a guy who fights bad guys, I want to make him something a little deeper,” Lee said.
From past to present
Set during the Second World War, scrawny-looking Steve Rogers, whose parents died when he was young, enlists in the military, only to be rejected for his frail physique. Seeing him as a possible human prototype for an experiment, an underground organization gets Rogers’ consent and injects him with a serum that will transform him with physical strength.
Already fit for war, Rogers, who takes on the name Captain America, is sent to the battlefield, much to the surprise of the enemies.
To make the story more modern and relevant today, Lee and his team decided to put the main hero in an entirely different timeline.
“We conceived that Steve Rogers had been frozen in a glacier for a few decades and when he wakes up, he feels like a character from another time,” Lee said. “He can’t understand Woodstock or what was going on with hippies, drugs and so forth. The character has trouble fitting into the society that he finds himself in, and by giving him a little more personality and problems to cope with, readers could connect and identify with him.”
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens in theaters nationwide on March 26.
In addition, Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Aug. 1; “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015; and “Ant-Man” on July 17, 2015.