There are several reasons why the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier seems poised to reach new creative heights for a Marvel Studios production, not least of which is that Cap’s (Chris Evans) coworkers at S.H.I.E.L.D. – Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) – seem to be treated like his genuine equals in the film, rather than glorified eye candy or kowtowing sidekicks.

Marvel has released another featurette for the Captain America sequel, which shifts the magnifying glass ever so closer onto Natasha Romanoff, including (but not restricted to) her evolved working relationship with Steve Rogers – who, as is brought up during cast interviews in the latest preview, forms a yin-yang circle with Natasha, in terms of the differences between their respective personal moral/ethical codes.

Two years have passed since the events in The Avengers – both in the real world and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – so it’s nice to see that the changing times appear to have been more organically integrated into the proceedings in this “Phase 2″ film (more so than in Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World). That’s also manifested by Steve and Natasha’s understanding of one another. Natasha’s even started to try and setup Steve on dates, while crushing evildoers’ skulls between her thighs. How thoughtful of her.

Meanwhile, the film’s latest TV spot – the “True Heroes” promo – highlights the exciting action and espionage storyline featured in the Captain America sequel, with Cap, Black Widow, and their S.H.I.E.L.D. allies battling the “mysterious” Winter Soldier. At the same time, this footage continues to paint the movie as a modern political thriller – one that has been re-examined through the lens of the superhero/comic book film genre, that is.

This seems like a smart approach, as it allows the pulpier elements from Cap’s comic book adventures to be presented in a more palatable (read: less campy) light onscreen, without also homogenizing the property in the process. Which is to say, our collective expectations for Captain America: The Winter Soldier remain high as ever, even given the sheer (over-)abundance of hype-building that Marvel Studios has done already.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in U.S. theaters on April 4th, 2014.