Fresh off some seriously mediocre reviews for the Thor sequel, Marvel has unveiled the trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and are enticing us with plenty of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Robert Redford as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent.
Like Iron Man 3, Winter Soldier takes place after the Earth-altering events of The Avengers (no more 1940s for Cap). Chris Evans's Steve Rogers (a.k.a Captain—oh, you know) is now trading flirty dialogue with Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, sparring with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, and dealing with The Winter Soldier, his (spoiler alert) former friend Bucky Barnes. Anthony Mackie also turns up as The Falcon. The tone definitely seems more serious than the jaunty Avengers. Co-director Joe Russo—his brother Anthony is the other director—has said that Marvel had a "desire to take Captain America and merge him with a ’70s political thriller." Hence the Redford hire, we'd assume. Meanwhile, Joe explained that the film is "a two-hander" between Evans and Johansson. (Hey, it'd still be great if she could get her own movie, but at least it's something.)
By the time Winter Soldier comes out in April 2014, Marvel will be well into the post-Avengers second phase of its Cinematic Universe master plan. Iron Man 3 was a huge success, and based on the studio's performance thus far, Thor: The Dark World ought to fare well next month. Though, the film has had tepid critical reception so far, prompting Leslie Felperin at The Hollywood Reporter to write that "it's harder than usual to predict how well Thor: The Dark World will do." The first Captain America film grossed significantly less than Thor, so the sequel might have an even tougher time achieving mega-hit status. But, it's Marvel. And Marvel movies do well. That's just what they do. No reason to worry.