Captain America: The Winter SoldierThough we reviewed the film two weeks back, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is hitting theaters tonight, and it’s the first big Marvel movie to open outside of the Summer or holiday season. Is that because Marvel thought they had a stinker, or is it because they’re trying to test the boundaries of releasing three or possibly four movies a year? We’d guess the latter, as our review roundup suggests they have a winner on their hands.

Currently the film is sitting at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes with 114 reviews in, which means the film is certified fresh, while Metacritic shows the film has a positive rating of about 70%, which sounds about right for a comic book movie (there is critical support, but also it doesn’t get super high ratings because it’s popcorn). That’s something you can see in Michael Phillips’ review, which starts as such:

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a better-than-average Marvel superhero bash, intriguingly plotted and pretty clever in its speculations about 21st-century life for Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, the greatest of the Greatest Generation warriors, as he contends with contemporary American geopolitical ideals run amok.

The movie does its duty. It’s a reliable commodity, delivered efficiently and well, like pizza.

And when highbrow critics give it praise, it’s like Richard Corliss did in Time:

The movie began shooting last April, the same month that Edward Snowden started transmitting classified National Security Agency documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. So the creepiest scene in The Winter Soldier must be serendipitous.

So, yeah, it’s about stuff. But you also see people consistently praising it as either the best or one of the best Marvel movies. Todd McCarthy over at The Hollywood Reporter wrote:

For sheer plotting and audience involvement, this is a notch above any of the other Avengers-feeding Marvel entries, the one that feels most like a real movie rather than a production line of ooh-and-ahh moments for fanboys.

While Amy Nicholson over at LA Weekly praises the film for being “the first Marvel film in forever that doesn’t climax with our heroes mowing down a generic horde of non-human nobodies.” And Devin Faraci over at Badass Digest has updated his Marvel rankings. Guess which came out on top?

There’s not that many negative reviews, though they may have more to do with Marvel and Superhero fatigue than this being a bad comic book movie. As Kenneth Turan says in his pan for the LA Times:

In fact, this ailment, defined by clinicians as a bone weariness at having the relentless Marvel Cinematic Universe (their phrase, not mine) pound its formulaic product at you for film after film after film for what seems like forever, struck me when it was least appropriate: during a screening of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which by any rational measure is one of the better Marvel films.

So, basically, if you’re not tired of Superhero movies, you’ll probably like this one, which I gave an 8.8, and said:

Marvel has learned from their previous movies, and there’s a case to be made that this is the best Marvel movie yet. Iron Man 3 sags a little towards the end, while The Avengers takes almost the entire movie to get going (and the opening sequence is not very good). From the opening frames, The Winter Soldier exudes confidence, and a sense of humor. We’re no longer building to something (that stuff is built), and now we get to have fun in this universe. Even more so than Thor: The Dark World, The Winter Soldier delivers in spades.

This is pretty much everything you could want from a modern Captain America movie, with political machinations, clever plot twists, and fun action set pieces. It also helps set up the Age of Ultron (though only just), while it also has no problem with messing with institutions and characters that might have seemed off limits. It’s fantastic

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters April 4.