Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Review

winter soldier poster

When it was announced that the follow up to Captain America: The First Avenger would be Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the comic book fanboy in me was beyond excited.  The Winter Soldier is one of my favorite characters of the last 10 years, and as long as Marvel Studios didn’t drop the ball, this had the making of an awesome movie. They didn’t drop the ball. Captain America: The Winter Soldier rocks.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the Captain America movie we deserve. Captain America: The First Avenger was decent, but I would put it at the bottom of the list of  Marvel Studios’s movies thus far. Winter Soldier, on the other hand, rockets to the top, with maybe Iron Man 1 and Avengers ahead of it.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW. If you haven’t seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, see it first and come back. And if you’re an Agents of SHIELD fan, make sure you watch Winter Soldier BEFORE you watch the tonight’s episode!


I’m a huge fan of Ed Brubaker’s decade long run on Captain America. It was in this run that Brubaker debuted the mysterious Winter Soldier, whose identity remained hidden for awhile. Comic book fans are aware of the revolving door between death and resurrection among heroes and villains. Remember when Superman died, only to came back less than a year later? But there were two characters who seemed to be the exceptions to the revolving door rule: Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben and Captain America’s partner Bucky. Not only did Brubaker bring back Bucky, in the form of new Cap villain Winter Soldier, but he did it in a masterful story that seemed 100% plausible ( in a world inhabited by mutants and gods).

The movie is handled perfectly. Besides superhero fans, I’d recommend Captain America: The Winter Soldier to anyone who loves thrillers, espionage and movies like The Bourne Identity and Taken.

The opening hostage scene seemed to echo the opening of the PS2 video game Metal Gear Solid 2. The way Cap sneaks onto the boat, the ways he silently takes out the terrorists, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching what could have been the opening of Metal Gear Solid: The Movie. And I loved it. I like that this movie from the start was more Bourne and Bond and less Superman and Thor.

The action scenes in Winter Soldier were fantastic all around. I really felt like I was on the edge of my seat as I watched the movie, or at least as close to being on the edge of your seat you can be in one of big recliners at the AMC on 86th and Broadway. The fight between Winter Soldier and Cap on the Helicarrier seemed reminiscent of Cap’s scenes on the mothership in The Avengers, but it didn’t seem repetitive at all. That’s a nice balance to strike.

I thought Marvel did a great job with keeping the identity of the Winter Soldier a mystery leading up to the debut of this movie. Yes, if you read the comic books, you knew it was Bucky, but for anyone new to the story, Marvel did a good job of keeping the cat inside the bag.

The big stand out in the movie for me is Anthony Mackie as The Falcon. Mackie is just perfect in this role. He makes The Falcon so likable and cool that I hope we see Falcon in Avengers: Age of Ultron and don’t have to wait for Captain America 3 for his return.

falcon mackie

If you saw the movie, hopefully you stayed for both end credits scenes. How many Marvel movies have to come out before everyone realizes that you do not get up until the very end of the credits? I’ve already talked to a few people who missed one or both of the end credits scenes. Stay in your seats!

The first end credits scene involved Baron Von Strucker, a compatriot of the Red Skull. The two twins he has imprisoned are Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Flash Fact: They’re Magneto’s kids. Though you probably won’t hear that mentioned in any Marvel Studios movie until the X-Men franchise rights return to Marvel. In the comics, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch started out as X-Men villains, but reformed and became early members of the Avengers. Because of this, they’re in the interesting place of being used by both Marvel Studios for their Avengers franchise and Fox for their X-Men franchise. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will both appear in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Futures Past, but played by different actors than they’re played by in Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Also in that scene, Baron Von Strucker is in possession of Loki’s staff, which is powered by a glowing blue ball of energy. Like the Tesseract and the Aether, I believe this ball of energy is another of Marvel’s Infinity Gems. I’m guessing this one is the Mind Gem, since Loki used that staff to control people’s minds in Avengers. In the excellent comic book series, Infinity Gauntlet, villan Thanos (purple dude from the end of The Avengers movie) gathers the 6 Infinity Gems and gains power over pretty much everything. I think Avengers 3 will be based on Infinity Gauntlet. You should give it a read. It’s a great series.

In the second scene after the credits, Bucky is reading about himself at the Captain America Smithsonian exhibit. I’m already excited for Captain America 3, and more Cap/Black Widow/Agent 13/Falcon action. I’m guessing the four of them will team up to track down Bucky and rehabilitate him, with Crossbones and someone else as the big bad guys.

More Comic Book Connections:


Brock Rumlow, played by Frank Grillo, is the Hydra agent in charge of taking down Captain America. At the end of the movie, he’s recovered from the Helicarrier crash, badly burned and barely alive, and  put into the back of an ambulance. Brock Rumlow is the alter ego of longtime Captain America villain Crossbones. In the comics, Crossbones was the Red Skull’s right hand man and later was involved with the Skull’s daughter, Sin. I expect we’ll see Grillo return as Crossbones in Captain America 3.

agent 13

Agent 13, played by Emily VanCamp, is a huge part of Captain America’s life. She’s been his partner in the field and his lover.  She is Captain America’s Lois Lane; if he ends up with one woman, you can expect it to be her. She’s also the grandniece of Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers’s best gal from the 1940s, the old woman Stever Rogers visits in the hospital in Captain America: Winter Soldier.


Sam Wilson/Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, is another huge part of Captain America’s life. Falcon even shared the title on the cover of Captain America’s comic in the 1970s, when it was rebranded Captain America and the Falcon. Like many of the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Falcon in this movie derives his costume and origin more from Falcon in The Ultimates  than from the main Marvel Universe.

Overall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the best, if the not the best, movies to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one of the best superhero movies of all time. I cannot recommend seeing this movie enough.

For more on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, be sure to listen to this week’s episode of the Tuesday Night Comics podcast, where Dave and I discuss the movie in depth.