Captain America : The Winter Soldier is a 2014 American science fiction / action / superhero blockbuster directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It stars Chris Evans as Captain America, with Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie serves as a sequel to the events of Captain America : The First Avenger & the first Avengers movie. In this film we are introduced to both the Winter Soldier (who was only seen as his normal avatar of Bucky Barnes, a close friend and fellow soldier to Steve Rogers and the debut of the Falcon.
Steve Rogers leads a team that includes Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow about two years since the events in New York, on a mission to rescue hostages onboard a SHIELD vessel in the ocean that was taken by Algerian terrorist Georges Batroc (retired UFC champion Georges St-Pierre) and his mercenaries. As Rogers fights the Algerian he finds out that Natasha has an additional mission, that of retracting vital data from the ship’s computers. After securing the vessel and the hostages they return to headquarters where Rogers confronts Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Unable to decrypt Romanoff’s recovered data, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project. Fury is ambushed while in his car by a team of assailants led by a mysterious masked figure, who we will come to know as The Winter Soldier, and barely manages to escape. He ends up in Rogers apartment where he passes on the data on a USB drive to Rogers before he is shot in the back by the masked man.
Rogers is unable to get to the assailant and at the hospital Fury is declared dead much to the dismay of Romanoff & Rogers. Agent Maria Hill recovers the body as Rogers is called back to the headquarters to meet Pierce. As Fury told him moments before he died to trust no one, and seeing a team of SHIELD soldiers arriving to escort him, Rogers hides the USB drive in a vending machine at the hospital. When Rogers witholds the information from Pierce, he is branded a fugitive and is ambushed by several agents who he manages to defeat and escapes. Using the data from the drive, Rogers & Romanoff discover an underground bunker in New Jersey where an old SHIELD lab was built and housing a supercomputer with the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that Hydra is still alive, hidden within the ranks of SHIELD and responsible for creating chaos on a global scale with the agenda for the world to give up freedom in favour of security. The bunker is hit by a SHIELD missile and the duo narrowly escape and make their way to the home of Sam Wilson, a former USAF man who Rogers had befriended for recuperating. With the help of Sam’s “Falcon” wingpack they approach SHIELD agent Jasper Sitwell and force him to reveal Hydra’s plans to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future threats to Hydra’s plans.
Once the hellicarriers are launched they will target these individuals and use satellite guided guns to eliminate them from above. Just then the Winter Soldier and his men attack the trio and kill Sitwell. During a fight Rogers unmasks the mysterious figure and recognizes as Bucky Barnes, his best friend and fellow soldier who was captured during WW3 and experimented upon by Hydra and is more powerful and hasn’t aged a bit. The trio are captured but enroute to the SHIELD headquarters they are extracted by Maria who brings them to a hideout where they find a still alive Fury! Fury gives Rogers, Natasha and a newly recruited Sam controller chips which need to be placed in the 3 hellicarriers to foil Hydra’s plans. At the headquarters Rogers reveals Hydra’s existence and their plans to the entire SHIELD staff via a broadcast while Romanoff, disguised as one of the Council members, disarms Pierce. Fury arrives and forces Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D’s database so that Romanoff can leak classified information, exposing Hydra’s actions. After a struggle Fury shoots Pierce dead while Rogers & Sam storm the hellicarriers to replace the chips. At the 3rd carrier the Winter Soldier destroys Sam’s wingpack so Rogers arrives to a showdown with his old friend.
Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other. Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown out into the Potomac River. Barnes, having recovered some memory of his former life, rescues Rogers and leaves him on the banks and leaves. With SHIELD in disarray & Fury still “dead” Natasha speaks before a Senate committee while Fury heads for Europe, Sam joins Rogers to find Barnes. Post credits we see scientists examining an energy specter while two mutant twins are revealed inside glass cages; one with super speed and the other with kinetic abilities while the Winter Soldier goes to see a Bucky Barnes exhibit at a museum.
Exhilerating, entertaining and a fantastic action packed thrill a minute ride, this is an extremely worthy successor to the original movie and probably one of the better Marvel movies to date. On a budget of $150 million the movie has grossed $715 million before home media sales. I give it a 8.5 outta 10!