Captain America: the Winter Soldier (2014)

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run time: 136 mins
rated: PG-13
considered: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Joss Whedon
starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Maximilliano Hernandez, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Stan Lee, Callan Mulvey, Jenny Agutter

movie summary: Only a few years after the events of New York City, Captain America (Chris Evans) returns to his day job as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. to help fight the ongoing battle against HYDRA.

The Captain is slowly adapting to life in the 21st century where he is stronger than anyone but still has the mind-set of someone from the 1940’s. He is always on call with SHIELD Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who dispatches him to the Indian Ocean for a mission to save a cargo ship’s crew that have been kidnapped by a band of pirates. Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is also sent on the trip with a secret mission of her own, to retrieve valuable information from the ship’s computer that Director is Fury is trying to protect. The super duo take out all the men including the pirate leader Georges Batroc (George St. Pierre) before surviving an explosion that near kills them.

In Washington, DC. at SHIELD headquarters, Director Fury tries to access the information from the ship but is denied. The Captain shows up to talk about the mission and how upset he was to not be included in on all the details. Fury explains there are many things he doesn’t know about because he’s so old school and needs to get with the current times. They get on the elevator together and travel down to the basement where Fury shows him the future of SHIELD, Project Insight. These high-tech aircraft are equipped with enough fire power to kill any potential terrorist threat on the planet. Captain America is surprised about the project and storms off pissed that he is never included in what is going on around him.

Director Fury leaves headquarters where he is ambushed by a group of highly trained killers who shoot his SUV up with bullets. He gets severely injured before hiding out in the Captain’s apartment where he gets gunned down again by the Winter Soldier. When Natasha and the Captain meet at the hospital they exchange any and all information they may have about this new unknown medal armed soldier. Fury informs both of them that SHIELD has been compromised, that any and everyone associated with the agency is now going to be captured and/or killed. The Captain is summoned back to headquarters by acting Director Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) and questioned about what he knows in regards to the secret information that Fury was after. Since he doesn’t have the correct answers, Pierce orders the Captain’s support team to turn on him and kill him. After escaping the building with a few scratches, he meets up with Natasha and the two begin to research any clues they have about Pierce and how corrupt he may actually be. Their trail leads them to New Jersey and the bunker where the Captain underwent his transformation. Inside they discover a huge computer that is Arnim Zola (****), the brain’s behind HYDRA operations for over 50 years. He informs the two that HYDRA has high-ranking officials planted in organizations across the globe, that will one day lead to HYDRA gaining complete control of the world. SHIELD, who is hot on the trail of the Captain and Natasha, blow up the bunker with missiles to eliminate them.

The pair survive yet another attempt on their life before finding refugee with former US Army veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who will help them attack SHIELD headquarters. Wilson knows of a top-secret flying suit that will aid the duo while they attempt to destroy Project Insight. On route towards SHIELD headquarters the Winter Soldier and his henchmen attack the trio and destroy a city block in their firefight. The Captain comes face to face with the Winter Soldier who he recognizes from his past. Amazed by this new discovery, he is easily defeated and arrested. While being transported to headquarters SHIELD agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) rescues the trio and brings them to a secret hideout to strategize their attack. On the day the helicopters launch, the Captain, Natasha, Wilson, Hill, and Fury begin their assault to bring Pierce and HYDRA down again while fighting off the Winter Soldier and his team of former elite SHIELD fighters.

The three helicopters leave their secret riverbed bunkers while Natasha bursts into Pierce’s office to break up the celebration party. Wilson manages to replace a computer chip in one of the ships that allows Hill to reroute the ship and bring it down. The Captain manages to exchange a chip on a different ship before crossing paths with the Winter Soldier yet again. They fight all over the place on the third ship before losing the final computer chip. The Captain has a gut check moment when he must decide what his next move is. He needs to bring the ship down to stop HYDRA, he also needs to continue his fight against the Winter Soldier without killing him, and needs to restore the integrity of SHIELD which may require him to sacrifice his life once again.

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my thoughts: The second movie in the Captain America franchise was a lot better than the first in terms of action and humour but suffered with its storytelling. The Captain explores his action hero side by kicking a lot of ass in this movie even though he is caught up in a don’t trust anyone kind of story. Fury And Pierce try to one up each other in an attempt to rule the SHIELD which involves using a secret weapon in the Winter Soldier. Captain America gets distracted by his own legacy and his connection to the Winter Solider that he evaluates and rethinks every move before making the best decision based on his characteristics. Unlike many of his other Avengers friends, the Captain is never alone and usually travels in a group of men who support him or the SHIELD. This time around Black Widow is the brains to his muscles while their new best friend Sam Wilson brings some high-tech toys to the battle and help build up their arsenal.

I sat through the second movie regretting have watched the first one a few hours earlier because I liked it more. Not for the action or the character build up, but because the story just flowed so much more seamlessly. The Winter Solider movie focuses on every move Captain America makes but the reality is the story isn’t about him instead about everything going around him. I have never read the comics and doubt I ever will but I honestly feel bad for a hero from my home country, because he’s always on the outside looking in even when he’s inside doing his job. My hope is the third installment of his storyline and the second Avengers build on his great personality and morals because not every superhero has the mentality of Iron Man, Thor, or Hulk. He just wants to do the right thing even if it means risking his own life so people can live in peace and harmony.

Any fan of the Marvel universe will have either have gone to see the Winter Soldier before or after reading this, because they know this will be a great movie that won’t disappoint. When you forget the details of how complicated the Marvel character stories are, you can just sit back to watch many gun battles, explosions, and Captain America do what he does best, kick ass.

my star rating: 8 out 10

imdb.com: 8.3 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 89%
metascore: 69/100


12 thoughts on “Captain America: the Winter Soldier (2014)

  1. Great review. : ) You really liked the first one better? First person I’ve heard say that so far… Agree the focus isn’t really on Captain America in this one – I’m hoping to see even more character development next time. But I loved this one – thought it was a big improvement from the last one. : )

    1. I was only pointing out having watched the first one hours before hand for a refresher, that the story in that one was better. I didn’t give it a higher mark just that “hey, that all made sense” and this one was “while this is all over the place, but look at that explosion!!” Ha ha

  2. Though it took me awhile to actually get what the hell was going on in this movie, I must say that I had a fun time with this. Even with all of the damn shaky-cam and whatnot. Good review Ryan.

    1. Thanks Dan! This movie was definitely entertaining and the action blows away the first movie, but it was just missing great storytelling. Maybe the third one will have a combination of both and it will be a 10 out 10!

    1. I have always been a DC guy because Batman is my hero, but after watching both Captain America movies I realized maybe the Marvel guys are not that bad after all. Iron Man is still my favourite though.

  3. Fantastic review! I must say I had a great time with this and loved it. I seriously did miss the old school and charm of the first one, though, agreed there, but this one made up in other ways. It thrilled me!

    1. Thanks Zoe! I couldn’t agree more with you and we both allowed the great action sequences to make up for it. Hopefully the third one will be better then the first two!

  4. Loads of potential in this character – one of my favorites. I thought the first film was enjoyable but something was missing. They really nailed it with this one. Good read!

    1. Thanks Dan! I always thought CA was a wuss and was totally under utilized in Avengers but this makes up for that. Hopefully his character grows in both the next movies because Chris Evans was a great choice to play the role.

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