Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Disneycember

Yikes, this is a sequel that surprised everybody! What can one say but “Hail Hydra.” Doug looks at The Winter Soldier.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

37 comments

  1. Yeah for me this is the only Marvel sequel so far to surpass the original, which is saying something because the first Captain America was pretty darn good in its own right.

  2. I really didn’t like Winter Soldier!

    1) It’s an X-Men Movie with Captain America – And I didn’t like the X-Men Movies {any of them!}.

    2) The Winter Soldier himself has zero character – You ask why they didn’t have more of a rivalry well…
    a) He’s powerful enough to kill pretty much anyone but Cap without breaking a sweat.
    b) As soon as Cap realises who he is it’s blatantly obvious Cap is going to do everything he can NOT to kill him despite all the deaths he’s racked up!
    and
    c) There’s literally no reason given or even implied for why Bucky cannot be reasoned with other than that he’s an unthinking machine!
    Basically – There’s nothing there! No way to have a real hero-villain rivalry – Bucky is simply an unthinking Assassin {A Bullseye if you will only without the charisma!}.

    3) The Spy plot where the lead is being chased by his own people has as you say been done to death and in far far better films {US Marshals to name just one! Heck the entire Bourne storyline relies upon it!}.

    4) The complete and total Hydra takeover of SHIELD is not even close to believable – Agents of SHIELD took this to absolutely ludicrous levels and I’m really worried that Civil War is just going to be more of the same X-Men storyline of Humans hating anyone different!

    5) After the really very good First Avenger Winter Soldier was for me one hell of a let down – As indeed was Dark World after Thor.

    • 1) No it’s not. There is nothing X-Men about this as…
      a) no superpowers.
      b) no split public opinion on the characters.
      c) it’s a guy with limited allies making it more like a Bond movie where he’s cut off from MI6 or Mission: Impossible 4 and 5.

      2) Winter Soldier has always been a tool for higher organizations or characters. He’s essentially Darth Vader to Cap’s Luke.

      3) Just because other films have done it doesn’t mean this one is bad for it because the Bourne sequels would be bad as a result. (And U.S. Marshals was a bad attempt to cash in on The Fugitive.)

      4) This infiltration and takeover is very realistic as many governments and groups have been taken over from within like this through history.

      • “Not realistic.” This is literally what the United States government did after World War II. We rounded up all the Nazi scientists and doctors we could find and gave them full amnesty for their crimes against humanity, then put them to work for us. This is 100% a realistic and believable plot.

    • Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and I’m not going to criticize but I’d really like to hear an explanation for reason #1.

    • Thank you!!! Finally someone else who didn’t like this movie!! I was left bored and cold by this movie. However my reasons for not liking it are different to yours:

      1) Zero character – What is Black Widow’s character arc? Non-existent. Cap starts the movie trying to find an emotional link to his past, and he ends the movie…. trying to find an emotional link to his past!

      2) Cap has no character – Chris Evan’s godawful portrayal of Steve Rogers. He has that one serious-yet-confused look on his face throughout the entire movie. In the comics Cap is a wise yet occasionally stubborn leader. Chris Evan’s Cap barely looks like he could lead a halftime parade, let alone a team of Shield agents! I never get the feeling like he’s leading in this movie, always that he’s the on being led.

      3) The guy with the wings – Can’t remember his name. But for a guy who’s only met Cap for a fraction of the movie’s run time, he sure does have a hard-on for following him around. He volunteers to be Captain America’s Robin after only barely meeting the guy. He couldv’t been implemented better.

      4) Serious / goofy story. The first movie’s plot was very fantasy-based. The sequel is more realistic, more akin to Bond than a comic book. The problem is that by bringing back Hydra, they’re essentially putting something portrayed as supernatural or slightly silly, into a film that doesn’t need it. I would really have preferred a different source of antagonism that fits better into the movie’s more realistic take on Captain America. It’s like putting Loki in Spectre! Yeah it’s a good villain but he has no place there!

      5) The MCU – Normally this is a good thing as most MCU movies have been great. But by having a lot of Cap and the MCU’s story developing over multiple movies, this one movie is lacking any of it’s own. It’s as if the directors couldn’t put too much of Cap’s story here because they were told it has to happen in another movie somewhere. The result feels half-baked. Want Black Widow to do something personal? No, it’s going to happen somewhere else. Want Bucky to fully reunite with Cap? No, wait for the sequel. Is Nick Fury really dead? No, we need him back for future stuff. This is the only movie I’ve seen of Marvel’s where the MCU actually makes it a worse-off movie.

      There, ranted long enough. Cap 2 blows.

      • I think a lot of these points have to be with personal opinion and point of view, so they’re hard to argue with. But I do want to argue with the first point:

        “1) Zero character – What is Black Widow’s character arc? Non-existent. Cap starts the movie trying to find an emotional link to his past, and he ends the movie…. trying to find an emotional link to his past!”

        Okay, no. These two actually have complicated character arcs that are very similar.

        By the time we get to see Cap in this movie, he’s already had some development since the end of CATFA. When we meet Cap in Avengers, it’s like he isn’t even TRYING to adapt to the modern times. He’s angry and frustrated and even though he feels like he doesn’t belong, he’s not trying to belong either. He can’t let go of the past. His first scene in Avengers shows very well just how angry he is. And also, just look at his clothes… He dresses like a grampa. He seems very reluctant to move on and accept he has to live in this time– And it’s not like you can blame him for it.

        But when we meet him in CATWS, he finally started to adapt to the times. He seems to fit in a lot more than before, and he even admits the good things about the current times. However, he still can’t let go completely. Well, it’s not easy. The most difficult part is his job in SHIELD: Cap WANTS to be a soldier. He WANTS to follow orders, to fight for what’s right and to protect the people. But he doesn’t really feel like he can trust SHIELD. We see this clearly when he argues with Fury after seeing the three helicarriers, and later when he speaks to Peggy. He feels like things aren’t so easy anymore. He wants to fight for what’s right, but instead he has to face complex moral questions and decide what he’s willing to do. And he doesn’t know (he shows this clearly the second time he speaks to Sam). He’s a soldier, but these aren’t times of war (in the MCU at least), and so, things aren’t so simple anymore.

        By the end of the movie, he already knows he wasn’t wrong about distrusting SHIELD. He’s left thinking that he can’t simply follow the lead of just anyone– that he must do what he feels it’s right. This feeling of his is probably what will motivate him in Civil War, honestly. He’s seen what organizations like SHIELD can do, how badly they can mess up. And he can’t trust a government that allowed this to happen to make a better organization this time. But I digress– The point is that he goes through an emotional and moral journey. He starts the movie feeling lost, but by the end he finds a motivation and new beliefs. He has to face a lot of painful things during the journey, but now at least he knows what he wants to do.

        Natasha goes to this journey but… in reverse, I guess. She actually trust SHIELD, she trust Fury very much, and she doesn’t have doubts about what she’s doing. Sure, she has to do “shady” things now and then, but she believes it’s for the greater good. She has a good motivation. (Not that she doesn’t have issues of her own. She has! But those are mostly identity issues. Who is she really? and all that).

        But she loses Fury, and this actually hits her hard. And then, SHIELD turns out to be infiltrated by HYDRA. It turns out that she’s worked for yet another despicable organization who has used her blind trust against herself. And she blames herself for letting them use her (“I thought I knew whose lies I was telling. I guess I can’t tell the difference anymore”). Now she’s the one who’s lost, who doesn’t know what to do. She chooses to follow Steve, because she knows for sure that he has a good heart and that she can at least trust him.

        By the end of the movie, she also releases all the information about her past to the public. She isn’t invisible anymore. And she says it herself: she has to figure out a new cover. Or actually figure out who she really is, and what she wants to do from now on. Her arc is one about carefully destroying everything she was so sure of, and forcing her to chose for herself. We don’t get to see what happens next, sure, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t develop through the movie. She definitely grows, and she’s forced to become her own person now, to stop just following organizations and decide for herself what’s right. It’s something her character really needed.

        And for all this rant, there are scenes in the movie that clearly hint everything I’ve said. Maybe the character development feels a little lost under all the political drama, but to me it’s clearly there.

  3. Damn this was a good movie. 2014 was a great year for Marvel! (This one, not so much) I can’t wait for Civil War!

  4. Surprised not to hear a comment on how it’s another guy in a suit who’s the villain. Either way, Robert Redford was having a blast in this and was one of the best parts since he’s such a A-level actor who can do affably evil.

  5. Cap can’t really have that same rivalry relationship with the Winter Soldier imo for a couple reasons. He is trying to save him, not defeat him (well, not at first). This is one of the last people that he knew from his own time, so it makes sense he’d do whatever is in his power to save him. Which brings up the second point, he’s trying to do exactly that in Civil War, which would be at least a little awkward if they’d had the kind of relationship you wanted. He was once essentially his sidekick. This is more akin to Batman fighting a Robin who he had believed was dead (crazy, right? 😛 ).

  6. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    Glad you liked it as much as we did Doug. It truly was my favorite marvel movie of phase 2 and leading up to the avengers age of ultron it was awesome and man black widows way hot int this one(there I said it so nobody else would have to admit that we get it). I kinda felt like Robert Redford wasn’t on screen that much but for the time he did get it was fun. Buckle up cause next time where headed to the galaxy(guardians of the galaxy that is).

  7. The Scarlet Ninja

    I wasn’t that big of a Captain America fan until this movie, now I’ve got his shield hanging up on my wall. Really ties the room together lol. I’m so happy with what they did in this movie, I’d add nothing to it, I’d take nothing away. I’m eager to see what they are going to do with Bucky now. Is he really back to normal and going to fight for the good side, is it all an act to kill Cap., or some other route. Can’t wait to find out!

  8. Saw this movie after watching the first Captain America on the same day… it was awesome!

  9. Couldn’t help but notice that this movie has a similar premise to another movie with Robert Redford, Three Days of the Condor in which Redford’s character faces similar challenges. It’s not a copy, but it’s along the same lines as that move.

    • Snorgatch Pandalume

      The whole movie is basically an homage to the conspiracy thrillers of the 70s, of which Three Days of the Condor is one of the best examples. That’s no doubt why they cast Robert Redford in it.

  10. This is my favorite standalone movie, tied with the Avengers. It’s made in a much better way, enough to match the hype going for Avengers. I could go into it for over two thousand words but I’ll pass n that.

  11. Yes, this one was great. And I agree, of the three, it was the one I least expected to be THAT great. But they made it awesome. I do kinda have to disagree about the filler part though; I mean, this movie made things move by having SHIELD disbanded.

  12. To me Winter Soldier has to be one best Sequels of all time. Easily in the top 15 with Dark Knight, Wrath of Khan, T2, and Empire Strikes Back. Because they build on the story and action. To be honest none of the MCU sequels are that great to me, not bad just not great. I was just as shock as everybody about how much effort they put on this movie.

  13. I do like this one even more than I like first one and I already liked first one a lot. To me it’s that they made Winter Soldier spy movie but with superheroes that makes it so interesting. Yeah sure big bad of this movie was another guy in suit but least he worked for Hydra so that gave him reason to be bad guy.

  14. actualy calling it a filler movie is a slight mistake. While captain America was half the setting for Avengers (the other half being iron man, Hulk and Thor) this one s the COMPLETE setting for Civil War. The very basis and foundation of what is going to happen this 2016.

  15. I found it weird that they changed him to hydra but kept the communist red star on his bionic arm.

  16. I think Cap has got to be my favirte hero in these movies, he not some closed minded idoet whos stuck in the past, in my mind he is what a super hero is supposed to be, a guy with power that tries his best just to help. no pretension, no meaningless speeches just a good guy being a good guy

  17. Wow, you have low standards if you actually LIKED this movie, Numerous plot holes, scenes that you know how they are going to end long before they even start simply because you’ve seen it in literally EVERY OTHER CHEAPLY MADE ACTION MOVIE YOU’VE MADE FUN OF! Literally all the scenes are tropes, lets also not forget, explanation that simply cut the question off at the knees without any real details being given, which is ANOTHER thing you’ve complained about in multiple other bad movies like Never Ending Story 3, After Earth, Never Ending Story 2, Shark boy and Lava Girl, The Animated Titanic Movies, need I go on? You say Yes? Then how about when they are saying that Hydra can with just one carrier override the other two however they can’t override one with two? That’s never explained. How did Nick Fury who just came back from the dead for no reason get to a Helicopter and get it more than fourth stories in the sky through an A.A. barrage from one of the carriers to be in the right spot for hawk to jump and land safely inside all without knowing where he was? Those carriers are obviously easily boarded by slow moving helicopters apparently, lets not forget how the hell did the doctor make an exact copy of his mind up until the moment he died? Why did they ever need hawk in teh first place? When they have hijacked two carriers why not have them target the one they haven’t jacked yet and blow it out of the sky? For that matter When they have absolute control of the carriers why didn’t they just keep control of them rather than blow them to pieces? Ugh, so much Stupidity from this movie it’s making my head hurt just thinking about how much better this would have been had some logic and effort put into it! Oh lets also not forget that the names Captain America and Winter Soldier are literally in the title however the tertiary story character, Hawk, almost gets more screen time than either one of them, the two that get the majority of the screen time are Black Widow and Nick Fury each one totaling more screen time than EITHER of the main characters COMBINED! The complaints I have with this movie are nearly endless, it’s boring, it’s dull, it’s one long trope train, and it loves to show off it’s explosions, wait a minute, Did Michael Bay direct this movie? I bet he did! If it wasn’t him then he had a MAJOR impact on the ones who did because Winter Soldier has all the ear marks of a Michael Bay Film, it also has ear marks from Shyamalan, oh no, Don’t Tell me, This flaming pile of anal excrement is the flaming love child of Michael Bay and M. Night! Because at this point that’s EXACTLY what this movie looks like!

  18. That part about Cap not expected to be a great character, and yet somehow pulling it off great: that describes my attitude to a tee. I didn’t expect anything good from Captain America. What, he’s a guy with pretty lackluster powers, and his whole schtick is that he dresses up like a flag and beats up Nazis. And yet, this film – and to a large degree its predecessor – really hit me hard and impressed the hell out of me. I never thought I would love Captain America, but these three films (CA:FA, Avengers, and WS) really proved him to me. Now, he’s one of my favorites, right up there with Batman and Wolverine.

    And it’s for the very reasons you specified: you see his journey. You see him as the underdog who just wants to do what’s right, you see him as the diehard friend who puts his life on the line for those he cares about.

    The Man out of Time. In almost any other movie, this aspect of his character would make him goofy. Kind of like Thor in his first movie. But with Cap, there’s awkwardness, but most of it is just pain. Pain from the life he left behind, pain from a world that has forsaken the values he holds dear, pain from the loss of friends and family, pain from losing his true love in a way that only the elderly truly understand. Frankly, I think they did a much better job of portraying that than I had ever seen in the comics.

    I like that, in the final battle, he fights because he absolutely must. But when the fight is over, he is willing to lay down his life to redeem his friend, even though his friend wants nothing of it.

    It has been suggested that the title “Winter Soldier” applies not merely to the villain, but also to Cap himself. Because the winter soldier is the man who keeps fighting through it all, and doesn’t give up. The summer soldier only fights when he knows he can win; Cap keeps fighting even when there seems to be nothing left for him to fight for. And through the entire film, you feel this.

    Next time around, we get to watch him scold his teammates for their potty mouths (even though he swears a cuss or two himself in this one). And we get to see Black Widows complex character journey boiled down to just needing a man in her life.

  19. I just signed up for an account in order to say this. One of the things I love about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole is that, despite generally starring superheroes doing superhero-y things, the individual films are not solely superhero movies. Thor is epic fantasy, Iron Man is techno-thriller, Incredible Hulk is a monster movie. First Avenger was as much a war drama as it was anything else, and Winter Soldier is a political conspiracy thriller with Robert Redford in a major role (albeit with a lot more explosions than the Seventies could have produced). And still to come are things like the Space Opera, the Heist, and the Gritty Urban Crime Drama.

    And Avengers? Avengers shows that all these great tastes can taste great together.

  20. I wouldn’t really call this a ‘filler’ movie, as it delivers some pretty big plot bombshells that really shake up the world in the movies in the way something like Thor 2 doesn’t.

  21. Snorgatch Pandalume

    I have always loved Captain America. To me, he personifies what is best in superheroes: brave, kind, humble, generous, self-sacrificing, and yes, patriotic. Patriotism doesn’t have to be preachy or self-righteous or intolerant, and Cap is none of those things. He is a humane, compassionate man who loves his country but more than that, loves the values upon which it was founded. There is nothing phony about Cap. Plus, he kicks ass. People say they can’t identify with Superman because he’s too powerful. Cap is basically Superman without the powers.
    I am delighted that the MCU has apparently caused many people to change their minds about Cap, among them, my wife. She said she never got Cap until she watched Captain America: The First Avenger. Now she does. He hates bullies.

    • This is exactly it. It plays to both the grandeur and humanity of the character without being corny or preachy. I loved the line where Falcon asked if Steve rehearsed his speech. For those who don’t know, one of Cap’s things is big inspirational speeches. I loved how just by talking he got people on his side. A computer tech stood up to a trained field agent with a gun just on Cap’s word.

      I think too many people expect naivete from such a character. That’s not Captain America. He understands there’s corruption. He’s just not going to let it make him cynical. It just makes him fight harder and he looks others who’ll join him. He’ll fight alone if he has to, but always believes he’ll find allies who share the core of his beliefs. Likewise, his companions are truly loyal because they see he has the courage of his convictions and are inspired to do the same.

  22. Yeah, this was the first part of phase two that I LOVED. Heck, this video made me want to see again! I’m going to look for it On Demand! LOL.

  23. I feel like on paper, on a purely technical level this is probably the best of the phase 2 movies. I was engaged, it expanded the presented the protagonist’s specific corner of the Marvel Universe and challenged his (and by extension our) moral understanding of the functional world. It demonstrates how malleable the superhero genre is by giving us a top notch political thriller… and yet I tend to think I have a harder time bringing myself to watch this one than any of the other Phase Two entries. Going by the “rewatchability” metric, it doesn’t have check off the boxes that make some of the “less good” entries enjoyable. It wasn’t fun the way I want a Marvel superhero film to be. I was a Marvel fan way before the films, so buoyant character dynamics and broad (oft-times bonkers) adventure are the name of the game for me. With the exception of Cap’s scenes with Black Widow, who is the MVP in every Marvel film she appears (with the exception of Iron Man 2, in which everyone went home a loser), I didn’t get the same level of engaging character interplay that you get in just about any other Marvel film. And with the exception of Falcon’s flying and Cap’s shield throwing, it didn’t feel like the film had enough spectacle. I appreciate that the director wanted to show how flexible the superhero genre is, but I feel like in order to make the espionage action-thriller they wanted, it came at the cost of a lot of visually interesting superheroics. It’s the first Marvel film that really felt scared by the fact that these characters aren’t based in reality. Falcon has an unusual and potentially very fun power set to play with in the comics. He can communicate and control birds. There could have been some really out there, visually interesting, Hitchcockian use of his abilities in combat, but the film makers were afraid of the comic book source material getting in the way of the spy movie they wanted to make. Now, he’s just a guy in a military issue flight pack. In a universe with gods, gamma giants, and armies of aliens, they had to pulp all sense of wonder out of him? By pulping out all the fantastic superhero imagery they could get away with, they may have made a good spy/action film, but a disappointing superhero movie. Do I think this is a bad film? Absolutely not. Do I think it’s disappointing as an entry in the Marvel film series? Kinda, yeah. I don’t hate it, but it falls into, “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” territory.

  24. I remember watching Marvel: Agents Of Shield. They said Nick Fury was dead, but then I found out he wasn’t in this movie. Uh, spoilers? Come on, everyone familiar with the comics knows who the Winter Soldier is! I’m so glad my dad loved this with me. It’s probably his favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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