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Review: Avengers – Age of Ultron


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The most awaited sequel to mega blockbuster of 2012, Age of Ultron hit the theaters last week in theaters worldwide. Creating a sequel to a blockbuster as beloved and successful as The Avengers is something big for anyone to live upto. One of the reasons the film became such a massive hit because of the novelty of seeing these characters on screen for the first time ever on the big screen; something that was long thought to be impossible. After massive success of the first movie, the sequel would have to shake things up. Age of Ultron feels like writer/director Joss Whedon is constantly trying to outdo himself. For the most part, he is succeeds. The film is more ambitious, emotional, funnier, and darker than its predecessor. However, it’s also less coherent and streamlined. In an attempt to juggle so many characters and subplots, the film loses that magic of simplicity that made the first film so appealing.  Despite those misgivings, the film manages to still be a fun and engaging superhero epic that serves to kick off the summer movie season and serves as a proper farewell to Whedon from Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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For me Age of Ultron is a massive success but it fails to pull off everything with the grace and synergy. The movie is on a different scale unlike Avengers was. The movie is a massive balancing act, pulling in about a dozen important characters and trying to give them all something to do while also telling a cohesive, succinct narrative. The movie is a juggling act that Joss Whedon tries to maintain fairly well. While I was fairly satisfied while walking out of the theater the feeling was not as great as the first movie and there is where the problem is.

Most of the reviews are made comparing it with the first movie when they should not. Most of the reviews have complained about new characters, if there was a sequel without new characters there would still be complains. The movie outdoes the expectations that fans had after the announcement.

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Age of Ultron proves to be a massive entertainer from the beginning. It opens with an exciting, and an entertaining action sequence that reintroduces all of the characters and the dynamic they share as a team. The opening is right on point in nearly all aspects, and creates a sense of high energy and pacing that is never really lost. While there are slower moments in the movie (such as a mid-movie sequence at the Barton farm) the sense of energy is never halted because there’s always something happening that propels the story forward. Unlike with the opening act of the first Avengers film, which tended to lull in some segments as the team was pulled together, Age of Ultron quickly establishes an excellent sense of narrative pacing, and this is arguably one of the film’s greatest strengths.

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The movie shows a great pacing apart from action sequences. Joss Whedon and his team does their best to manage their time amongst the numerous threads that the plot weaves along with the way characters connect with each other. As a writer, Whedon manages to find a great way of doing this, incorporating minor details from previous Phase Two films to show that, yes, they were relevant, while also keeping the focus where it needs to be: the matters at hand, how the team operates, and how the characters evolve because of the ordeals they undergo.

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If The Avengers was about assembly, Avengers: Age of Ultron is about disassembly. The former played on their conflicting personalities while the latter plays on their fears and insecurities. Though Ultron may be the main antagonist of the picture, it’s our heroes who have themselves to fear. How can these people save the world when they can’t even save themselves? The internal struggle of these characters is trying to overcome their mistakes and pain. That is what raises the stakes in this film. The entire world is jeopardy, but it’s also a battle for the Avengers to save their souls.

The film is loaded with terrific action sequences. The Hulk vs Hulkbuster scene is everything you hoped it would be and more. Though there is a lot to take in from the set pieces, they never feel exhausting or overwhelming, despite it being clear Whedon is always trying to top what he accomplish in the first film. Though admittedly, it’s hard to feel sense of danger when you know these characters are going to be back for their individual movies including more Avengers sequels. As usual, each character gets their shining moment. The principal cast has grown into these roles to the point where they could pull them off in their sleep. A most notable improvement is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who after being relegated to Loki’s henchman for most of the first film, gets an integral and dynamic role among the team. Not to mention that he gets some of the best lines in the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if he emerged as fan-favorite after all is said and done.

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New additions to the cast vary. Thankfully, Ultron works for the most part and is miles ahead of just about all of the villains in Marvel films so far (which isn’t that hard when you look at how these villains were written). He’s surprisingly more snarky than people would expect an angry, maniacal robot to be. But that imbues the character with a personality that is sorely lacking from the rogue gallery in MCU. Joss Whedon admitted that the initial cut of the film was much longer. It comes out clear at many places as origin story for Quicksilver and Wanda comes out in a very rushed manner. Their origin is touched upon but in a very rushed manner. The Maximoff twins begin to work as characters as the film progresses, but there were missed opportunities to get audiences behind them early on. The breakout character of the film is hands down the Vision (Paul Bettany). While I won’t spoil his origin here, the film will leave you wanting to see more of especially since he does a fantastic job of making an impact in his first appearance.

The movie works and proves that Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere. Age of Ultron succeeds in teasing future movies with its supporting cast. The movie is entertaining but at the same time worries me about execution of future Marvel movies. It sets up Civil War, Wakanda and most importantly Infinity War and suffers with the same problem that Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man 2 suffered but on a very small scale. The summer has started with a bang and Marvel is going to rule.

Rating 8.5/10

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Trailer Analysis – Avengers: Age of Ultron


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After a long wait and being teased again and again at different expos and comic con finally we got to see the much awaited sequel of Avengers and the trailer was mind blowing. Certain bits and pieces in the trailer although unclear were worth noticing. I have watched the trailer again and again and finally here is a trailer analysis about how and what the movie is going to be.

Is there a superhero movie these days whose trailer doesn’t starts with a monologue. This is something that separates Comic Book movies different from other movies. Weather it is Zor’El monologue from Man of Steel or Steve Rogers and Alexander Pierce pep talk in The Winter Soldier it has been part of the comic books who the story shapes out. Here in Age of Ultron we get a similar monologue by our Villain Ultron voiced by the legendary James Spader whose voice sounds absolutely terrifying.

The monologue contains a number of moments, New York City in destruction and chaos and people running away from something (guess what). The clip soon cuts to another group of people who are standing protesting about something, I feel that the trailer sows the seeds for Civil War and these people are the ones demanding a registration act or something similar. Interesting part is that both Quicksilver and Scarlet witch are in this crowd of protesters. So again I am not sure whats going on.

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The clip moves to show Ultron’s hand being covered in something metallic (Vibranium may be?) this happens somewhere in between of the film when Ultron finally arranges Vibranium and upgrades himself. We see more people shouting and then we see Captain America in between of a battlefield. He looks tired and broken followed by quick shot of Hawkeye. He seems he is back on evacuating duty like last time and then Thor’s hammer.

The shot cuts to the scene where a terrified Bruce Banner is sitting with Thor and Widow both of them look broken and tensed. But why is Dr. Banner so terrified that will make him crawl in his own space. This may be after his fight with Hulkbuster and he does something unfortunate that he is not supposed to. Anyways the whole trailer makes a point clear that Dr. Banner is in pain, he is terrified and running away from something.

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Scene cuts to Ultron Mark 1 walking inside Avengers mansion that he seems to build himself from scraps of pervious Iron Man suits, he is such a party pooper. There are two unknown women in the party, one of them is Maria Hill, the other one I am not sure about though.

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The interesting part is that no one seemed to notice is that there is already an Ultron Bot fallen on the floor that Ultron lifts and breaks it apart. Ultron has some major daddy issues, furious against his creator with a belief that Humanity is flawed and he can achieve perfection by killing them all. I am still not sure that what this bot is doing on the floor, maybe there was an attack by one of the Ultron Bots that Avengers or one of them took him down after which Ultron made an appearance or someone simple sucker punched one of the Starks personal security bots to show their might.

Marvel logo flashes on the screen while the creepy version of Pinocchio’s I’ve got no strings on me starts playing in background. We see Iron Man in a new suit in between of mountains, a fort that seems like a new Hydra base and Captain Rogers breaking a door and entering.

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These army guys never understand, they have to open fire at every alien or robot that descends and attack the city doesn’t matter if their bullets are not even going to touch them. We see army deployed in a city most probably NYC followed by more innocent civilians, a tank and then Bruce Banner running and falling on the snow, he is terrified and in pain. Is he having trouble controlling the monster inside him? May be.

From here we get our first introduction to the twins, it seems at some moment they’ll be working with Ultron before becoming the good guys.

A number of Ultron Bots appear from sea and make their way for the battle. I personally feel that these Ultron bots are not a part of Ultron’s army but the private security created by Tony Stark and SHIELD. They assist Avengers during the fight against HYDRA after which they become fully aware and it might be a result of Loki’s mind gem that is with Baron Stucker in the beginning of the film.

We see Avengers in the battlefield, Thor’s hammer falling on the ground that I believe is just a metaphor for defeat and he is not going to become unworthy so soon. Although I feel that Thor might die in this movie sowing seeds for Ragnarok where he has to escape Hel in order to protect Asgard.

We see couple of shots of Tony Stark, looking at a damaged Ultron Bot and then regretting about all the decision and the path he took. Stark always wanted to privatize world piece and Ultron might be his biggest mistake.

We soon move to what for me is most anticipated parts about this movie that is Hulk vs Hulkbuster. Hulk seems to be possessed, his eyes are red and nerves show up all around his arms and shoulders. He is angry and doing what is does the best, destroying a city until Stark intervenes.

Black widow jumps out of a quinjet riding a badass motorcycle followed by Quicksilver in a slo-mo scene fighting Ultron or a bot and saves Captain America. Even Scarlet Witch looks angry and all hexy (you see what I did there?)

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There are a few scenes that I am yet not able to understand. Steve Rogers is in some 1940 setting with a part going on, is there time travel involved? Is this one of the Ultron Visions or an illusion created by Scarlet Witch. We see water all dried up as ships stands still that seems like another distant future vision and what is Andy Serkis doing here? He might be playing Ulysses Klaw who’ll arrange for Vibranium for Ultron. This opens doors for Black Panther movie as the Serkis can play the Klaw’s sound version excellently in Black Panther movie with the mo-cap technology.

Even Thor seems deranged as he comes out of the water, I feel that Thor dies at some point and this is either Hel or Valhalla where he recovers in afterlife.

There is something going on between Black Widow and Hulk. May be she turns out to be his new calm down agent.

The death and destruction follows by a bunch of Ballerinas and then more death and destruction. We see Hawkeye in his Ronin suit running in the same snowy setting. In the next clip Thor lifts Stark by his neck, he probably doesn’t know that Destroyer armor is still in SHIELD custody and Thorbuster might be on the way.

We see the heroes fallen with Captain America’s shield broken in pieces and Thor’s hand next to it. Again this could be vision. Finally we see the Upgraded version of Ultron who declares that there are no strings on him.

If you look at the trailers closely the numbers and street signs vary from European to Asian that makes sure that the danger this time is worldwide rather than only NYC being in attack.

In short there is a lot going on in the movie, I wonder how Whedon will manage all of this. But I have my full faith in him.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE GREATEST SUPERHERO EVER!!


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The greatest and the most popular heroes in comics and pop culture who represent the average humans with burden and responsibility are Superman, Batman, Spider-man and Captain America. They all are iconic and have a sense of responsibility to protect the innocent and help the weak at all cost. But of all of them I always believed that Captain America is the greatest and purest of all three and in this write up I’ll try to prove it. Because even if you don’t like the character, Captain America has to be admired and respected for being the person that he is and doing what only he can do.

Big time props should go out to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for creating a truly inspiring hero for all kids to see in December of 1940 with Captain America #1 from Timely Comics (which would later become Marvel). In that era a character in comic books actually punched Hitler was a big deal. He was most popular and enduring in those days as a pop culture icon.

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Captain America is one of the few who rose from this disabled kid who lived for patriotism of his country. He read the propaganda and he bought into it all the way. So much that he agreed to be part of an experiment that would allow him to “serve” his country as a supersoldier and help win the war and then realized the lies within the propaganda. But that didn’t stop him from loving his country and trying to live up to the values of what got him there, even if his own country didn’t stand behind them.

Captain America is again better than Superman who was the first true comic-book superstar risen from the pages of Action Comics #1 in 1938. Superman started the trend that followed later and put him up high in the pantheon of our modern-day heroes.

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Superman’s biggest flaw is that he represent everything good. No one can beat him and he’ll always win over the wrong. This is what gives the character the biggest flaws compared to Captain America. Cap despite being a Super Soldier he is still a man. Despite being a weak kid from Boston who became a Super Soldier and a symbol of peace and freedom still has to train everyday to stay this way. His suit makes him a target of all enemies. He is the most respected and recognizable hero in the Marvel Universe who inspires a nation and even other super-powered beings as well as powerful Gods from far off fabled lands.

He can’t fly at super speeds, survive direct hits from atomic missiles and lift buildings over his head with ease. He is a human being who shows the common man that each of us possesses all the superpowers we need to be heroes ourselves. For this reason I shall always believe that Cap is a better “pure” hero than Superman.

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Another comparison is Batman who is just perfect. But he represents the darkness that Captain America can never embrace. Steve Rogers is not a rich kid like Bruce Wayne and whatever he has today is a result of his hard work and losses he suffered in the path. The two are very comparable when it comes to overall abilities, grit, determination and willpower. It’s anyone’s guess who really is the better (even though Cap is physically Batman’s superior). Both put their lives on the line against all comers and are usually the last ones left standing in battle. But that is where the comparison’s end. Batman uses fear, stealth, gadgets and his own plan regardless of what his teammates want also Batman is egoistic. Even Batman in the JLA/Avengers limited-series (2003-2004) steps back and is lead by, who else…Captain America!! Why? Because even he knew the Cap would do a better job than him. When it comes to pure RESPECT by his peers even Batman takes a back seat to Cap. This is why Cap is a much greater “pure” hero than even Batman.

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Spidey is a true hero because the superhero life has never been easy for him. People always loved Cap (most of the time) and Superman. They’re recognized as heroes, supported by the government, and their battles are usually straight up right vs. wrong. Spider-man’s life, on the other hand, would be much better if he stopped being a hero. Being Spider-man has made his life hell and he sees no reward from it and is even recognized as a criminal, but he keeps doing it because it’s the right thing to do. Spider-man is a symbol for overcoming adversity, not giving up, and doing the right thing even when it hurts you. And this is everything needed to be a truly great “pure” hero. But truth be told, Spidey is this way because of Captain America. He looks up to Cap as the living, breathing and fighting symbol of freedom and wants to be just like him. That’s the big difference between the two; Cap is doing what he will always do in the face of adversity because he has too and everyone around him knows it and is inspired by it! And Spider-man is one of those many faces in the crowd looking at Cap for that inspiration. Even though Spidey is a “pure” hero in every sense of the word, Captain America IS the hero he’s trying to be.

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Captain America is the symbol of hope in despair, light in darkness and yet everything wrong in the world that he stands against for. His morals, values make him what he is. He stood for vigilantes and masked superheroes in Civil War and ultimately took a bullet because he believed in his principles and his values didn’t allow him to take Tony Star’s side.
Steve Rogers truly deserves respect and is the purest and greatest Superheroes ever.

Movie Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier


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Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the sequel to 2011 blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger and follows up after events of Avengers. Captain America:TWS is one of the strongest films by Marvel Studios.

The plot of Captain America: TWS is simply mindblowing, two years after cataclysmic events of The Avengers Steve Rogers is trying to blend into the current world and is working as a SHIELD agent at the same time. The film sets in Washington DC where Cap is currently living and in the first sequence we are introduced to Sam Wilson who will take on the mantle of Falcon as the film proceeds, Wilson who is also a war vet and involved in secret rescue missions apparently has his own post war issues as revealed when Rogers runs into Wilson at a P.T.S.D. support meeting.

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The first action sequence is well done and serves as a precursor to how much the choreography has improved in Cap’s fighting. Cap’ along with his S.H.I.E.L.D. partner Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson) and Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillow) on a rescue mission aboard a ship taken over by French pirates. From the moment Cap’ boards the ship we are treated to a more impressive Captain America than seen in both The First Avenger and the Avengers. He is faster, more hard-hitting, and utilizes his shield in more creative and effective ways. This action scene was so impressive a late movie goer stumbled right into the middle of Cap’s fight scene with the main pirate and mistaken it’s intensity for the ending of the movie.
These sequences are also littered with great rapport building between Romanoff (Black Widow) and Rogers which continues throughout the movie. What’s so effective about these moments between Romanov and Rogers is that it’s done in a not so cheesy way. They portray a genuine friendship consisting of quips, interest in each one’s personal lives, and friendship. What’s also effective about the collaboration between the two is that they play off one another’s differences to their advantage in the field.

When the movie gains pace and the plot slowly begins to come to life, we realize the SHIELD is changing for worse. SHIELD is on a project to eliminate threats even before they start acting like a threat. Captain America as per his nature stands against what SHIELD is planning and in process makes himself public enemy #1.

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Among the villains in this film, the Winter Soldier is the standout amongst them.He’s cold, ruthless, brutal, scary, and an unstoppable force. Even when he is not in the film, his presence is felt throughout the film and how he’s been working in the shadows throughout the history.

When we slowly come to know that SHIELD has been infiltrated by HYDRA among every rank, Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon fight their way with destroying the project insight and in process getting some cool Easter Eggs.

Another villain played by Robert Redford’s character Alexander Pierce is as menacing and threatening as one can get. For the amazing actor Robert Redford is he made his presence and mission clear since the start of the movie and will go through any means possible to achieve it.

Russo Brothers about whom everyone skeptical when they were announced as the movie directors because they had nothing huge in their profiles actually proved to be an excellent choice to direct this film. It is great that they’ll be returning for the third installment that comes out in 2016.

Overall Captain America is an experience of the lifetime and the most solid entry by Marvel Studios.

Final Rating 5 out of 5

Wilson who is also a war vet and involved in secret rescue missions apparently has his own post war issues as revealed when Rogers runs into Wilson at a P.T.S.D. support meeting.
Read more at http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/DrBrooklyn/news/?a=97631#WTA8KHz2GiQ60hqv.99
Wilson who is also a war vet and involved in secret rescue missions apparently has his own post war issues as revealed when Rogers runs into Wilson at a P.T.S.D. support meeting.
Read more at http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/DrBrooklyn/news/?a=97631#WTA8KHz2GiQ60hqv.99

(Know Your Movies) Captain America: The Winter Soldier


Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out this week on April 4th and everyone who is still trying to make up their mind if they should go watch this movie or not, here is why you should be watching this movie.

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The main characters

A look at the main characters in the film is as follows.

The Black Widow

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Natasha Romanov, aka the Black Widow debuted in Iron Man 2 and then in Avengers. At times there are occasional rumors of her getting a solo movie sometime in the future,she has been through an excellent character development. The Black Widow is a former soviet spy turned an Avenger and part time Agent of SHIELD. In comics as well in the MCU its been hinted that she has a romantic relation with Hawkeye so it is going to be intriguing how this is going to proceed in future movies.

Falcon

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The filmmakers were interested in adding more of a tactical design to the Falcon costume than was represented in the comic books. Accordingly, they incorporated a lot of real-world webbing, straps, and gear. The final result was a costume that retained the iconic parts of the Falcon costume but stripped away the more comic book elements that would not work in the modern day. The Falcon costume takes actor Anthony Mackie 25 minutes to put on.

Bucky

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In the comics, Bucky Barnes was Captain America’s young sidekick during World War II; a fresh-faced 18 year-old just old enough to enlist. Years later, it was revealed the Bucky’s innocent exterior was a cover for his true purpose: while Captain America was the stars and stripes, Bucky had secretly been trained to act as Black Ops assassin, killing high priority targets during the war. In the comics, Bucky was killed in the same accident that would put Captain America on ice; on film, he was killed in a separate incident, falling from a train.

The Winter Soldier

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Years later, it was revealed that Bucky had survived the explosion depicted above, at the cost of his left arm. He landed in Soviet territories, where he was resuscitated. Suffering from amnesia, he was given a cybernetic arm and reprogrammed to act as a Soviet operative throughout the cold war – codename Winter Soldier. During this time, he would form a relationship with a fellow Soviet operative – the Black Widow. When not out on mission, Bucky was kept in a cryo-stasis that preserved his body over the decades. It wouldn’t be until the 21st century that the Winter Soldier would come into conflict with his former partner, Captain America.

GSP – Batroc The Leaper

Reigning UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre plays a French mercenary in the film. For the filmmakers, landing the popular MMA fighter for the role was a stroke of luck and good timing but is was equally a stroke of luck for Georges St-Pierre who was excited to get his first chance at being in a big action movie.

NICK FURY

the legendary director of the international peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D, is back at headquarters in Washington, D.C., following the success of his special team, The Avengers, in repelling an alien invasion of New York City. Now Fury is faced with a hidden enemy that threatens to put the world at risk.

ALEXANDER PIERCE

A high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and personal friend of Nick Fury’s, Pierce is respected and politically connected. Often the person who interfaces with prominent world officials, he is polished and well spoken, and presents a credible face to the world on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Read list

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Captain America: Winter Soldier (The Ultimate Collection). The entire Ed Brubaker run on Captain America has been amazing but this one is more important of all.

The sequel pick-ups where The Avengers left off, as Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and teams up with Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, to battle a powerful yet shadowy enemy in present-day Washington, D.C.

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Chris Evans returns as the iconic superhero Steve Rogers/Captain America, along with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. The Winter Soldier character, played by Sebastian Stan, was created for Marvel comics by Ed Brubaker in 2005. Though the character of Bucky Barnes existed previously in the Captain America comic books, he was killed off in WWII and not resurrected until Brubaker brought him back as the Winter Soldier.

Chris Evans truly had mixed martial arts training as the fighting techniques he employed in the film were a mixture of Parkour, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, karate, and boxing. The filmmakers believed that bringing Steve Rogers into the modern day also meant that he had studied and mastered modern fighting styles and techniques. Evans also willingly engaged in gymnastics training. That training had a big payoff when it came time to shoot fight sequences like the Elevator Fight.

Captain America gets a new “stealth” suit—a navy blue, utilitarian-looking suit that moves fluidly. Since Captain America is working in special ops in the new film, it was only logical that he would not be wearing a target on his chest when on clandestine missions. So the filmmakers opted for a suit that would have texture and look more real world with a Kevlar-based ballistic component that would protect Captain America but at the same time function like a military uniform.

Triskelion. Fans will get to see multiples of the 2.0 version of the helicarrier as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters based in a building called the Triskelion in Washington, D.C. The Triskelion is a newly designed, state-of-the-art facility that fits seamlessly into the backdrop of Washington.

Here is the official synopsis for Captain America: The Winter Soldier:

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C., and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widown, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off assailants sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.