Let me just get this out of the way. Captain America is in my top four favorite superheroes, mainly because of Ed Brubaker’s now-classic run which heavily relied on espionage and spy drama. And of course, Brubaker’s The Winter Soldier stands out to me the most as having the balls to mess with the established mythos and revitalize the character for years to come. You see, The Winter Soldier may not my favorite Captain America storyline, but it’s pretty damn close for it set the pieces in motion for some of the greatest Cap stories ever.

Which brings us to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

The story involves a bunch of helicarriers that are controlled by an algorithm that will help SHIELD determine terrorist threats and neutralize (read: kill with extreme prejudice) them before they even start to be a threat. SHIELD Director Nick Fury and World Security Councilor Alexander Pierce are behind the project, but Steve Rogers, coming from a time where he had to punch Hitler in the face to fight for freedom, naturally was against it. After an assassination attempt on Nick Fury’s life apparently succeeds, Captain America finds himself to be a fugitive when, for no reason, SHIELD suddenly decides to take him down, with the mysterious Winter Soldier hot on his heels. Later on, he discovers that Hydra has infiltrated SHIELD and is out to remake the world in their image, and it is up to him to take down both SHIELD and Hydra.

If you don’t know by now, The Winter Soldier is none other than Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s sidekick who seemingly died a violent and icy death during World War II. I was worried at how they would be able to handle this twist as The Winter Soldier’s identity is pretty much blown in the comics. I need not be worried, though – after the audience let out an audible  gasp after they revealed who he was, I knew they handled that particular plot point well.

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It’s the darkest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie yet, and I’m really glad they went that route. The Winter Soldier sheds the pulp movie trappings of The First Avenger and gives us a spy drama-inspired film that does not stray too far from its comic book roots. It has twist upon twist, betrayal on top of other betrayals, and some of the best fight sequences in a Marvel movie to date – which is not an easy feat, considering it had The Avengers to live up to.

  • I know that it’s Nick Fury’s thing to escape death over and over, but I wish they used a Life Model Decoy instead of having him “die” and live again with Bruce Banner’s science.
  • I really, really, wanted Alexander Pierce to be the Cinematic Universe’s version of Aleksander Lukin. In the comics, Lukin was possessed by the Red Skull’s consciousness. Since Hugo Weaving refuses to play the Red Skull again, Robert Redford as an evil insane villain wearing a Red Skull rubber mask would be awesome. Instead we get Robert Redford the… evil diplomat who likes to sneer. A lot.
  • I had doubts about Georges St-Pierre playing Batroc the Leaper. Aside from the fact that GSP isn’t really an actor, he was also going to play one of the most obnoxiously stereotypical French characters ever, whose schtick is that he can jump really high and kick really well. All while wearing a purple leotard with yellow highlights. And god damn, the movie made it work. I’d like to see more of GSP playing Batroc and kicking stuff.
  • It didn’t dawn on me that the one guy chasing after Cap was Crossbones. No wonder he seemed to be getting an abnormal amount of screentime to be just Random Cannon Fodder #83655
  • Falcon was amazing. I hope he gets to have a huge part in future Marvel movies, because in the comics, he’s one of the best street-level Avengers.
  • I still don’t think Scarlett Johannson is a good choice to play Black Widow. Amazing moves, though.
  • I had doubts when Sebastian Stan was first announced as Bucky. I didn’t know if he was going to be able to play a menacing Winter Soldier. Heck, I even had my doubts in the first movie. I am so glad to have been proven wrong.
  • There was too little Sharon Carter. I hope she gets to shine in the future, because, well, Emily VanCamp.
  • In the comics, Captain America gets assassinated and after half a year with nobody carrying the shield, Bucky comes out of hiding, and having successfully shed the brainwashing that turned him into The Winter Soldier, becomes Captain America. Let’s make this happen in the movies, Marvel.
  • So SHIELD is effectively dismantled. What does that mean for Agents of SHIELD and will HAMMER take its place?
  • In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark made a suit that does not need a human pilot. In Winter Soldier, an algorithm that determines people who need to be killed infects the SHIELD network. Combine them and this is how you create an insane robot that is out to destroy humanity just in time for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • This has been my favorite Marvel movie so far. What I loved the most about it is that it took Captain America to a really dark place that really pushed the boundaries of who he was, but he never faltered. Not once. (Unlike Man of Steel, which turned Superman into a murderous asshole.)

What’s your favorite Captain America: The Winter Soldier moment? Did you love it as much as I did?

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