Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger and following on from The Avengers. It is the ninth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film finds Captain America and Black Widow going up against the assassin codename The Winter Soldier. It was released on March 26, 2014. Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones and Samuel L. Jackson return as Steve Rogers, James Barnes, Natasha Romanoff, Maria Hill, Peggy Carter, Arnim Zola and Nick Fury respectively. The film is directed by the Russo Brothers.
Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers is out on a jog in Washington, D.C. While jogging, he runs past a man who later introduces himself as Samuel Wilson. Wilson tells Rogers that he used to work in the army but now works in the debriefing section. After the jog, Wilson and Rogers have a chat about how Rogers is adapting to the modern world. Natasha Romanoff then arrives to take Rogers with her on a mission. The mission at hand is to rescue the hostages of a pirate-hijacked S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel called the Lumerian Star. Rogers, Romanoff, and S.T.R.I.K.E. (led by Agent Brock Rumlow) fight the pirates and rescue the hostages. As events unfold, Rogers realizes Romanoff has her own secret mission: Extracting S.H.I.E.L.D. data from the ship onto a USB drive.
When back at the Triskelion, Rogers is angry with Nick Fury for lying to him. Fury then introduces Rogers to Project Insight, a program that will neutralize threats before they even happen. Project Insight consists of three highly advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers that will circulate the Earth. These Helicarriers will use precision weapons to kill enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D. He tells Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the world as it is, not as they want it to be. Rogers replies by telling Fury that what S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing is not freedom, but fear.
Later, Rogers visits the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian, as well as Peggy Carter at a retirement home. He also meets with Samuel Wilson again after watching him during the end of his debriefing session. Meanwhile, Fury discovers that the data on the USB drive is inaccessible. He asks Alexander Pierce, the secretary of the World Security Council, to delay Project Insight. Fury is on his way to meet Maria Hill from the Triskelion when he is attacked by rogue policemen and SWAT team members. He manages to escape, but is stopped by a masked man, who shoots a magnetic disk grenade under Fury's car, exploding and flipping it over. But before the masked man can kill Fury, he managed to cut a hole in the ground with a laser cutting gadget to escape.
Rogers arrives at his apartment after talking to his neighbor, but gets suspicious when he hears that his stereo is still on. Rogers sneaks in through the window and finds Fury sitting on his couch. He tells Rogers that his wife kicked him out and that the apartment is bugged, before getting shot several times in his back through the wall. He gives the USB to Steve and tells him not to trust anyone, before he falls unconscious. Rogers' neighbor smashes in the door revealing herself to be Agent 13. She explains she was assigned to guard Rogers under Fury's authority. Rogers pursues the gunman. He throws his shield at the masked man, but the man catches the shield with his cybernetic arm and throws it back. He then jumps of the building and disappears.
Fury is taken to a hospital, but his heart stops beating. Fury is pronounced dead at 1:03 AM. Fury is taken away and Agent Maria Hill asks to take care of the body. Agent Rumlow tells Rogers that he is wanted for a hearing. Rogers quickly hides the flash drive in a vending machine and leaves. When he arrives at the Triskelion, he is questioned by Alexander Pierce, who says he is one of Nick's oldest friends and wants to know who killed him. He also says that he and Nick were realists and that to build a new world sometimes meant tearing the old one down. Rogers doesn’t trust Pierce and tells him Fury told him not to trust anyone. He leaves Pierce's office to go to the hospital. While in the elevator, it starts to fill up with STRIKE agents and he soon realizes that they are there to attempt to arrest or subdue him. He asks if anyone wants to get out and then the fight begins. Rogers manages to knock out all his attackers, before jumping out the elevator to avoid arrest. After surviving the fall, he drives away on a motorcycle. A roadblock is set up for him and he also gets stopped by a Quinjet. However, he gets past both obstacles.
It is later revealed that Pierce is working with the masked man when he shoots his house cleaner for seeing him together with the masked man.
Rogers later arrives at the hospital where he notices that the USB is gone. Romanoff has taken it and he angrily asks her what she knows about all that has happened. She tells him that the masked man is an assassin known as the Winter Soldier and she had encountered him once before. She decides to follow Rogers. They go to an Apple Store to see if there is any valuable information on it. But they, as Fury did, find nothing. However, they did find the location where the USB could be unlocked. Meanwhile, Rumlow and his S.T.R.I.K.E. team attempt to find them, but fail to do so. Romanoff kisses Rogers in order to throw Rumlow off.
They steal a car and drive to the location while talking about their lives. When they arrive, Rogers says that they are at the old training facility where he had trained during WW2. They find a secret storage room full of old computers inside a S.H.I.E.L.D office. There they find a more modern looking USB slot and they put the USB in. The computers power up and someone starts to talk to them. It is Arnim Zola, who tells them that he was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. after WW2 and that he helped to rebuild HYDRA inside S.H.I.E.L.D., but in the 70's when he got the news he had a terminal illness, S.H.I.E.L.D., still needing his help, transferred his mind onto hundreds of thousands of databanks. He had been working on an algorithm that HYDRA wanted. He told them that some of the deaths of S.H.I.E.L.D. leaders had been due to HYDRA, showing them a picture of Howard Stark, implying that his death might not have been an accident. He was also involved in the Winter Soldier program. But before Rogers and Romanoff can get any more information out of Zola, S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up and blows up the place. They survive the explosion and seek refuge with Sam Wilson. Wilson tells them that he was part of a military project called Falcon, a testing of a new form of winged jet packs.
They head back to D.C to confront Agent Jasper Sitwell, who is also working for HYDRA. Sitwell just had a meeting with Senator Stern, who before saying goodbye whispered Hail HYDRA. Sam Wilson calls Sitwell and forces him up on the roof of a tall building. Rogers forces him to the edge of the building. Sitwell taunts Rogers, saying throwing people off the roof is not his style. Romanoff kicks him off the roof, and Wilson saves him using his wingsuit. Together, with Romanoff and Rogers, they get Sitwell to tell them that Zola's algorithm could calculate if a person would be a threat in the future. Sitwell also tells them that Hydra are going to use Project Insight as a weapon to eliminate what they see as threats against the world, mentioning Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Stephen Strange. This, though, would also mean that millions of innocent people would die.
The gang leaves, but is attacked by the Winter Soldier and his men. A battle breaks out and as Rogers and the Winter Soldier fight, the Winter Soldier's mask is broken and it is revealed that he is Bucky Barnes, Steve's best friend. Rogers recognizes Barnes, but Barnes does not recognize him and Rogers, Romanoff and Wilson are taken into custody by STRIKE. While in the prison van, one of the guards stuns the other one and reveals herself to be Maria Hill. She then uses the laser cutting gadget to escape with Romanoff, Rogers, and Wilson.
Agent Hill takes them to a secret facility where Fury is recovering. He had taken a anti-stress serum, developed by Bruce Banner, that lowered his heartbeat to only one beat per minute so that he would appear dead. Hill and Fury tell them that Project Insight is only hours away and that they have to act quickly. The Helicarriers would hover in a triangle, connected, targeting all its targets before firing. The only way to prevent this is to use three special chips that alter the helicarriers' program. Each helicarrier had to have one chip inserted in it. Rogers lost his suit earlier so he broke into the Captain America exhibit and took the uniform on display.
The Winter Soldier is being prepared for battle but he starts to ask who Rogers is. Pierce decides he knows too much about his past and they brainwash him again. He gets a flashback showing how HYDRA's Russian division found him in suspended animation after falling of the train. We then learn that Zola had amputated his left-arm and changed it with a cybernetic one. He also remembers being put in Cryo-tanks between his missions so that he would not get old.
The members of the World Security Council arrive at the Triskelion. They are given a device to put on their collars that will grant them access to anywhere in the Triskelion. They then all walk up to Alexander Pierce's office. Captain America and Wilson (now revealed to be the Falcon), break in and take control of the microphones. Rogers tells all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that there are HYDRA traitors in S.H.I.E.L.D. and that Alexander Pierce is one of them. Rogers orders S.H.I.E.L.D. not to launch Project Insight. Rumlow and his men walk in to the control room and threaten to shoot the man in charge of launching Project Insight if he doesn't get the Helicarriers in the air. Agent 13 intervenes and a gunfight breaks out. Rumlow still manages to get the Helicarriers in the air. As the Helicariers begin to take off, Rogers and Falcon go for the first two Helicarriers.
Pierce pulls a gun at a WSC member but Agent Romanoff, disguised as a WSC member, stops him. She then calls for Fury who is a S.H.I.E.L.D agent of the highest degree, and since two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents of the highest degree are needed to stop Project Insight she asks Pierce to help them. Fury states that Pierce probably erased all traces of Fury being the director of S.H.I.E.L.D, but not on the eye scan since, quite recently, Fury changed the eye scan from the his working eye to his damaged eye. Romanoff then dumps all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s and HYDRA's secrets onto the web. Pierce tries to escape, activating the devices on the WSC members' collars that kills them and holds Romanoff hostage. Romanoff disables the device momentarily, giving Fury the chance to shoot Pierce dead.
They manage to put the chips, with some hardship, for two of the Helicarriers in the right place, but when Falcon is going for the last one, his jetpack is damaged by the Winter Soldier and he is forced to parachute down to the Triskelion where he gets caught up in a fight with Agent Rumlow. He is about to put the chip in place before he is confronted by Barnes. They fight, and during the fight, Rogers tries to convince Barnes that Barnes knows Rogers. As he tries to get the chip in place with only seconds left before Project Insight will initiate, he gets shot multiple times by Barnes. The Helicarriers reach 3,000 ft and using Zola's Algorithm, they target 715,854 people. When all seems lost, Rogers manages to insert the chip at the last minute. Hill takes control and turns the helicarriers onto themselves. Before Rogers passes out, he tells Barnes that he is "with him to the end of the line," a promise Barnes gave Rogers years ago. Rogers falls into the water beneath after the glass pane they are on explodes. Barnes saves Rogers by pulling him out of the water, before disappearing.
One of the Helicarriers crashes into the Triskelion and causes it to collapse. Falcon jumps out of the window to the 41st floor and is saved by that much by Fury and Romanoff. Rumlow is buried under rubble, but is later seen being taken care of by doctors, every inch of his skin burnt red. When Steve wakes up some time later a lot of new stuff has happened. S.H.I.E.L.D has gone through some major changes. Nick Fury is officially "dead" and he has destroyed all evidence of being alive, even replacing the eye-patch with sunglasses. Fury tells Rogers and Wilson that if someone asks for him, to tell him he is dead. Romanoff goes to a hearing where they ask why she shouldn't go to jail for what she had done. She said that it is because they still needs them. Now that her secrets were revealed, she needs a new identity. Rogers decides to start looking, with the help of the Falcon, for Barnes, so that he can convince him of who he really is.
In the mid-credits scene we see Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in a HYDRA research base in possession of Loki's spear. He states that though Hydra's spies in S.H.I.E.L.D may be gone, there are followers all around the world. He then walks over to a pair of cells. He stops in front of them and says, 'It's not a world of spies anymore. Not even a world of heroes. This is the Age of Miracles. He also states that There is nothing more horrifying ... than a miracle'. One of the cells contains a man who is running around at a tremendous speed. The other one contains a woman who levitates a few blocks, before destroying two of them. Though not mentioned by name, it is implied that they are Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, otherwise known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.
In the post credit-scene, we see Barnes, wearing street clothes walking around in the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian museum. He stops to read about himself and his biography.
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
- Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
- Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce
- Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
- Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
- Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter/"Kate"/Agent 13
- Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow
- Maximiliano Hernández as Jasper Sitwell
- Callan Mulvey as Jack Rollins
- Georges St-Pierre as Georges Batroc
- Toby Jones as Arnim Zola
- Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
- Garry Shandling as Senator Stern
- Chin Han as World Security Councilman Yen
- Jenny Agutter as World Security Councilwoman Hawley
- Alan Dale as a World Security Councilman Rockwell
- Bernard White as World Security Councilman Nagendra Singh
- Stan Lee as a Smithsonian Guard
- Adetokumboh M'Cormack as Ferdinand Lopez
- Zack Duhame as Gerald Durand
- Gary Sinise as the Smithsonian Narrator
- Danny Pudi as Moore
- D.C. Pierson as Aaron
- Gozie Agbo as Dr. Fine
- Steven Culp as Congressman Wenham
- Branka Katic as Renata
- Angela Russo-Otstot as Garcia
- Ann Russo as Strike Agent
- Dante Rosalina as Little Boy in Smithsonian
- Jon Sklaroff as Russo
- Nestor Serrano as General Scudder
- Robert Clotworthy as Fury's SUV (voice)
- June Christopher as S.H.I.E.L.D. Computer (voice)
- Damon Driver as Michael Duffy
- Aaron Himelstein as Cameron Klein
- Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
- Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff
- Henry Goodman as Dr. List
- Ron Underdahl as Riley
Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Steve Rogers/Captain America appears.
- Natasha Romaoff/Black Widow appears.
- Nick Fury appears.
- Maria Hill appears.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. appears.
- Peggy Carter appears.
- Bucky Barnes returns after seemingly falling to his death in Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Georges Batroc is introduced.
- Alexander Pierce is introduced.
- Sam Wilson is introduced.
- Sharon Carter is introduced.
- Brock Rumlow is introduced.
- Wolfgang von Strucker is introduced.
- List is introduced.
- The Battle of New York is mentioned.
- The Triskelion appears.
- Several Helicarriers and Quinjets appears.
- The World Security Council appears.
- Matthew Ellis is mentioned.
- Peggy Carter returns as an old woman. She also appears in several photographs and a movie in Captain America Exhibition in the Smithsonian.
- Upon visiting Peggy at her nursing facility, Steve references the dance they had planned near the end of Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Howling Commandos are mentioned. The Captain America Exhibition in the Smithsonian has photos and mannequins dressed in the Commandos clothes.
- Jasper Sitwell and Senator Stern return and are both revealed to be members of HYDRA.
- Jasper Sitwell mentions Bruce Banner and Stephen Strange.
- Natasha Romanoff wears an arrow trinket on a necklace. This is a link to Clint Barton.
- Sgt. Duffy makes an appearance when Steve is at Camp Lehigh and has a flashback of training in the camp before taking the Super Soldier Serum.
- Arnim Zola appears as robot A.I. interface. This mirrors Zola's comic book appearance, where his body is a robot with a similar camera for a head and a screen in the chest with his face on it.
- There is mention that HYDRA killed Howard Stark. Photos of Howard also appears in several scenes in the movie.
- Obadiah Stane is quoted in the newspaper clippings reporting Stark's death that Zola shows to Rogers and Romanoff.
- Red Skull is mentioned and appears in the video that Zola shows to Steve and Natasha.
- Alexander Pierce agrees to do Nick Fury a favor if he gets Iron Man to go to his niece's birthday party.
- Chester Phillips, Peggy Carter and Howard Stark are recognised as the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. in photos on the wall of the S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker that houses Arnim Zola.
- Tony Stark is said to have suggested that S.H.I.E.L.D. update their technology for the Helicarriers and designed repulsor engines for them.
- President Ellis is referenced in the Captain America exhibit and targeted by the Insight Helicarriers.
- The repaired Stark Tower, now called The Avengers Tower, appears briefly during the targeting sequence. A photo of Tony Stark briefly appears alongside it along with other unknown and unnamed occupants.
- Several scenes are taken directly from Captain America: The First Avenger and shown in a movie in Captain America Exhibition in the Smithsonian and in the video that Arnim Zola shows to Steve and Natasha.
- Maria Hill goes to work for Stark Industries at the end of the film.
- The Chitauri Scepter that was wielded by Loki is seen in the mid-credits scene.
- Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are introduced. and seen as volunteers of Wolfgang von Strucker and HYDRA in the mid-credits scene.
- Wolfgang von Strucker mentions The Avengers as Captain America's "colorful friends".
- HYDRA analyses the Chitauri scepter. In Marvel One-Shot: Item 47, Sitwell recruits Benjamin Pollack due to his ability to reverse engineer Chitauri weaponry. As it is revealed that Sitwell is a HYDRA mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. it is possible that Sitwell may have had ulterior motives for recruiting Pollack.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Computer A.I is introduced.
- Fury's SUV A.I is introduced.
- In heroes we trust.
The film was shot in Los Angeles, CA, Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
Who is the Winter Soldier?
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