Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two Rewatch: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Back on the old site, I wrote a few articles following a rewatch of the Marvel Cinamatic Universe. Here are those articles again.

Title: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

Writer(s): Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Characters created by: Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee

US Release Date: April 4, 2015

Budget: $170,000,000

Worldwide Box-office: $714,400,000

Returning characters: Steve, Peggy, Bucky, Natasha, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Senator Stern, Arnim Zola

Summary: Two years after the events in The Avengers, Captain America works for S.H.I.E.L.D. under Director Nick Fury, while adjusting to contemporary society. Cap and Black Widow are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism striketeam, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a vessel from Georges Batroc “The Leaper” and his mercenaries. Cap discovers that Widow has another agenda: to extract data from the ship’s computers for Fury.

Cap returns to the Triskelion to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project.

Fury is ambushed by a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier. He escapes to Cap’s apartment, and warns Cap that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. After handing Cap a flash drive containing data from the ship, Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier. He dies in surgery, and Hill recovers the body. The next day, Pierce summons Cap to the Triskelion.

When Cap withholds Fury’s information, Pierce brands him a fugitive.

Using data in the flash drive, Cap and Widow discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that Hydra has secretly operated within S.H.I.E.L.D. The pair narrowly escape death when a missile destroys the bunker, and realize that Pierce is Hydra’s leader.


Cap and Widow enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Cap befriended, and acquire his powered “Falcon” wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future threats to Hydra’s plans. The Insight Helicarriers will sweep the globe, using satellite-guided guns to eliminate these individuals. Cap, Widow, and Falcon are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, who kills Sitwell. During the fight, Cap recognizes the Winter Soldier as Bucky Barnes.

Maria Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips. After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers’ launch, Cap broadcasts Hydra’s plot to everyone at the Triskelion. Widow, disguised as one of the Council members, and Fury force Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D’s database so that Widow can leak classified information, exposing Hydra to the public. Following a struggle, Fury kills Pierce.

Meanwhile, Cap and Falcon storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Falcon’s suit and fights Cap on the third Helicarrier. Cap fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other. Falcon fights Runlow and barely escapes the Triskelion.

Cap refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Cap is thrown out into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Cap before disappearing into the woods. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Black Widow appears before a Senate subcommittee and Fury, under the cover of his apparent death, heads to Eastern Europe in pursuit of Hydra’s remaining cells. Cap and Falcon decide to find the Winter Soldier, while Rumlow, who was a double agent for Hydra, is hospitalized following the Triskelion’s destruction.

MCU Continuity Nods: Peggy Carter appears both as an elderly woman and in footage at the Smithstonian, which also features the Howling Commandos. Fury mentions that Tony Stark redesigned the turbines on the Helicarriers after getting a close look at them in The Avengers. Pierce asks Fury to have Iron Man stop by a birthday party. Stark, Bruce Banner, and Stephen Strange are targets for Hydra. Gary Shandling reprises his role as Senator Stern, who is revealed to be Hydra. It is Shandling’s final film. The laser Fury uses to escape his car was invented by Fitz from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Zola’s computer mentions the deaths of Howard and Maria Stark. The events of the movie, with S.H.I.E.L.D. being destroyed affected the plot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. during its first season, and Dr. List, seen in the mid-credits scene will also later appear on the television show. The facial disguise used by Black Widow is later used on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Easter Eggs: Stark, Bruce Banner, and Stephen Strange are targets for Hydra, as well as a “man from Cairo” who may be Moon Knight and a “high-school guy” who may be Spider-man. There is a brief mention of a Canadian agency called Department H by Natasha Romanoff, which was the organization that experimented on Wolverine and gave him his Adamantium-bonded skeleton in the Marvel comics. In addition, it is the organization that created the Canadian superhero team, Alpha Flight. Baron von Strucker experiments on twins with superpowers. In the comics, Strucker actually subjected his own twins Andrea and Andreas to a treatment which gave them superpowers (a plot currently used on the television show Gifted).

Stan Lee Cameo: Janitor in the Smithstonian


Infinity Stone: The Mind Gem is seen in the mid-credits scene in Loki’s scepter

Post/mid Credits Scene: Baron von Strucker reveals Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in cells. Bucky visiting the Smithstonian


My Take: I like how Steve and Sam immediately bond over their service establishing a great friendship from the get go. The battleship sequence really shows off Cap’s ever growing skill and abilities as well as showcasing Black Widow’s skill and personality better than we’ve seen before. In the comics Batroc is kind of a joke, but reimagined here by Georges St.Pierre as a straight up badass. The Winter soldier is a perfect match for Cap. The elevator sequence is great, one of my favorite fight scenes, matched only by the bridge scene.

Project Insight begins the debate between security and freedom. How much are we willing to give up to be safe? The whole movie is enhanced by the comradery between Cap and Widow. Evans and Johansson worked several times before and their chemistry is clear. Anthony Mackie excudes charm in every scene. Robert Redford is cast against type as a corrupt politician. This is the best of the MCU so far.

Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy