It’s fitting that this film has done away with the usual numbering that we see in sequel titles since calling this ‘Captain America 2’ would be an oversimplification of the complex route its characters have taken to get here; its the third, fourth and fifth appearance for most of them, recurring as they have throughout the Marvel universe. It would also have been a mistake to imply that this is a direct sequel to the film that first spawned Cap into the MU since their relationship is more that that of Alien and Aliens: there are some deep-cut references and ties to the formers lore, but the tone, tempo and arguably the genre has changed over the break.
Which makes perfect sense given how much the character has changed since his first cinematic foray. Johnston’s film was a WWII-set homage to the adventure movies of the era that embraced the cheese and machismo of such things, but as the Captain is now a contemporary his films had to have a more modern feel to them. What doesn’t make as much sense is the fact that the filmmakers went to the well of the Cold War and the cold conspiracy films of the seventies to achieve this, merging them with the staple comic action of Marvel studios. Much has been made of the movies inclusion of drones and other such contemporary commentaries, but to call this a modern movie ( or Marvel’s Dark Knight) would be short-sighted; in its own way it’s just as dated and daggy as the original but that’s exactly why it works as well as it does.