Captain America: The Winter Soldier

This sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) trades that film’s 1940s setting for a contemporary one and its genial tone for a blithe cynicism more typical of Marvel Studios. The convoluted story involves the sabotage of SHIELD—the secret agency of Captain America (Chris Evans) and his superhero peers—by another organization that’s rooted in Nazi Germany. Unless you’re intimately familiar with the so-called Marvel universe (or you really love CG explosions), little of this will resonate; directors Joe and Anthony Russo race through everything but the special-effects set pieces, assuming that fans will compensate for the lack of nuance by drawing on their knowledge of the comic books. The impressive supporting cast includes Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson, Frank Grillo, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson.