LOS ANGELES – “Captain America: The Winter’s Soldier,” the sequel to 2011’s box office hit “Captain America: The First Avenger,” finds Steve Rogers residing in Washington D.C., struggling to adapt to modern society. But after a S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) compatriot is attacked, the World War II veteran becomes embroiled in a mystery that could destroy the world.
Samuel L. Jackson, who plays S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, hopes audiences take time to reflect how much society – and politics – has changed since Captain America was created in 1941 just before the United States was drawn into World War II.
“We always need someone to represent the ideal we have… Freedom, righteousness. And his ideals are from a time when freedom meant something different. The government stood for something that everybody respected and felt protected by,” Jackson told FOX411 at the star-studded Hollywood premiere. “So for him to espouse those ideals in this particular time, and to find out that those ideals don’t mean holding a gun to people who you are supposed to be protecting, it means a lot. And it should resonate with this audience and hopefully they will go home and think about that.”
Clark Gregg – who hinted that the film will impact his related ABC series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – said that studying Captain America has forced him to think deeply about just how much the game has changed.
“I’ve always loved that that character has been used as someone from the past, and is wrapping his head around what America has become,” Gregg said. “In some ways, he has to grow up. But there are some things he remembers we have lost touch with – the film represents that in a spectacular way. We are in charge of protecting people, but we also keep a lot of secrets.”
Captain America himself, Chris Evans, stressed the importance of having a strong, patriotic superhero.
“It’s always important to have strong patriotic characters, whether we have chaos in the world or not,” the Evans told FOX411. “It is someone to look up to. And it’s not only in terms of America, (everywhere needs a) hero and someone to aspire too.”
“The Winter’s Soldier” is set for international release on March 26, and will open in North America on April 4 in 2D, 3D and IMAX.
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay