Captain America and the Winter Soldier, A Film Review

By René Dario Herrera

“For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to do what’s right. I guess I’m not quite sure what that is anymore,” said Captain America Steve Rogers to Peggy Carter in the film Captain America and the Winter Soldier.

Captain America and the Winter Soldier is a 2014 film. The film follows Steve Rogers’, the lead character, personal journey. The audience is reminded how Rogers was formerly a soldier in the US Army. An experiment transformed him from a scrawny, but courageous, weakling into America’s greatest hero of World War II. While on a mission, Rogers suffered an accident, was frozen, and lost. His body was discovered decades later and thawed out by a contemporary and technologically advanced anti-global threat government agency called SHIELD. Rogers has become a living symbol for American ideals of freedom and liberty.

Rogers however, is experiencing conflict. He still sees himself as a soldier who is devoted to fighting for individual freedom, but he begins to question the true motives and methods of the agency who now gives him his orders. The enemy is no longer a foreign military power, but a network of covert international terrorist cells. He is uncomfortable with the ruthlessness displayed by the other agents who accompany him on his missions. He begins to question orders. This internal conflict is mirrored by his status as a man displaced in time. Rogers was a soldier for the US Army in the 1940s, but from his perspective he must adapt to life nearly 70 years in his future. Everyone he knew and loved is dead. The physical, cultural, and social world has changed beyond recognition. He is lost, and his coping mechanism is to follow orders and fight for America. But as he begins to question those orders he becomes even more lost. How can a man catch up on the significant social and cultural events of the past several decades?

During Rogers’ work to find himself he discovers the homeland defense agency, SHIELD, he works for has been infiltrated by a modern version of the World War II villain he fought against, HYDRA. With a target in his sights and accompanied by the Black Widow Natasha Romanoff and a US Army veteran, Sam Wilson, Rogers sets out to investigate the details of the HYDRA plot. During this part of the film, the trio discovers HYDRA intends to use a sophisticated computer algorithm to profile the entire human population and eliminate anyone who may pose a threat to HYDRA’s vision of a planet under their complete and total control. HYDRA intends to restrict individual freedom. They intend to launch the fleet of SHIELD helicarriers and kill everyone who the algorithm identified as a target, leaving behind only the chosen few who can usher in a new world order.

After Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson capture a HYDRA agent and interrogate him, they learn the details of the plan. Unfortunately, the trio is met with a dangerous foe from Rogers’ past. The Winter Soldier appears with a cadre of SHIELD-HYDRA operatives. The Winter Soldier is a near physical match for the superhuman Rogers and with the element of surprise the Winter Soldier almost succeeds in neutralizing Rogers and his team. The heroic trio narrowly escape the encounter with help from an unlikely ally. In the aftermath of the battle, Rogers discovers who the Winter Soldier is. It is his best friend who went missing in action and now appears to be a brainwashed assassin under HYDRA’s control.

Rogers and his team prepare for the final strike to foil HYDRA’s plan for world domination. Rogers gains access to the SHIELD communication system and makes a short speech, alerting SHIELD agents of HYDRA’s insurgency and plan. In his call to action, he says, “The price of freedom is high, and it always has been. But it is a price I’m willing to pay.”

Rogers’ speech causes deadly skirmishes between HYDRA insurgents and SHIELD agents who join the fight for freedom, but HYDRA continues to progress with their plan. The helicarriers begin launch procedures. It is still up to Rogers’ and his team to manually shut down the launch or disable the helicarriers.

In the final part of the film, Rogers and his small team very nearly disable the helicarriers targeting system before the Winter Soldier reappears for a duel with Captain America. In the final fight for freedom, Rogers must replace a circuit board while defending the Winter Soldier’s attacks. The Winter Soldier uses firearms and knives, intent to kill Rogers. Captain America uses a shield to defend freedom. At the last possible moment, Rogers succeeds in replacing the circuit board, but appears to sacrifice himself. The helicarriers are disabled. Rogers’ team survives.

In the aftermath of the helicarriers’ destruction, the Winter Soldier emerges from the wreckage with a defeated, but very much alive, Captain America. The Winter Soldier rescued Rogers but escapes the scene.

In the resolution to the film, Rogers’ allies set off to undo the global harm done by HYDRA and SHIELD, while Rogers himself seeks to find the Winter Soldier. Rogers remains a man out of time, and he has no one left to give him orders. His interest is in helping secure the freedom of his oldest friend and the only other man on Earth who could understand what it means to be Captain America.

Tags: review