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Movie Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier also known as “Captain America 2,” “Captain America The Winter Soldier”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Superhero Sequel 3D
Length:
2 hr. 16 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
April 4, 2014 (wide—3,900+ theaters)
DVD: September 9, 2014
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios

sacrificial spirit / self-sacrifice

bravery / courage

importance of living a good, righteous and just life

evil destroys itself in the end

Featuring: Chris EvansSteve Rogers / Captain America
Scarlett JohanssonNatasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Samuel L. JacksonNick Fury
Robert RedfordAlexander Pierce
Toby JonesArnim Zola
Cobie SmuldersMaria Hill
Sebastian Stan … Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Dominic Cooper … Howard Stark
Hayley Atwell … Peggy Carter
Emily VanCamp … Sharon Carter / Agent 13
Frank Grillo … Brock Rumlow / Crossbones
Callan Mulvey … Jack Rollins
Anthony Mackie … Sam Wilson / The Falcon
Stan Lee … Museum Staff
more »
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Joss Whedon
Producer: Marvel Entertainment
Marvel Studios
more »
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) a.k.a. Captain America continues the service he began back in World War II, only now as the lead of an elite squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents doing the missions that no one else can. But what starts off as a simple rescue mission to free hostages soon leads him to question his team mates, Natasha a.k.a. The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and even SHIELD itself.

Fury, seeing Steve questioning his tactics, brings him into his confidence and shows him SHIELD’s next big leap in world defense and surveillance named, Project Insight. However, instead of making Steve feel better about their aims, it only makes him more wary, and he has to remind Fury that though they made some compromises in WWII they did it to remain free.

SHIELD and Nick Fury have both come under attack by an unknown enemy spearheaded by the legendary killer/assassin known only as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Dating back to the days of the former Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain, the Winter Soldier strikes fear even in The Black Widow and with good reason, since even Captain America may have found an enemy he cannot defeat.

Searching for answers, and running out of both time and people he can trust, Steve can only rely on Natasha and recent war veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to uncover the enemy’s ultimate goal and save the millions that will perish if they fail. A bonafide action movie that often has the look and feel of an espionage thriller that makes a strong case for being the best entry in the Marvel franchise so far.

Objectionable Content

Violence: Heavy. The violence is a notch higher than that of the first Captain America movie and so is geared for teens and up only. No gore is shown, but people are shot, stabbed, blown up, most often within vehicles, run over, thrown into a jet turbine, crushed and killed executioner style. Non-fatal injuries include repeated punches, kicks to the gut, fracturing of bones, getting smashed in the face and elsewhere by Captain America’s shield and so on. Dead bodies are not lingered upon except for one prolonged scene after the victim is shot through the heart with only blood staining the shirt. Later, a patient is brought into a hospital that is badly burned.

Language: Moderate for a PG-13 movie, it is not without incident. The Lord’s name is taken in vain once (OMG), “sh***” is said complete once and obscured the second time around, although the intent is clear. “Son of a b****” is used twice, and “hell” and “damn” are mentioned. Though the movie could not escape a PG-13 rating based on the violence, it is a shame that these few words could not have been eliminated as the movie was the cleanest PG-13 movie I have “heard” in a while.

Sex/Nudity: Mild. There are two instances of mild sexual innuendo, one after Natasha kisses Steve to maintain their cover, the other involving a Senator, but they can both be easily dismissed. The skin tight, and at one point cleavage gaping uniform of the Black Widow notwithstanding, there was nothing else inappropriate in the movie.

Lessons

Steve Rogers, born in 1918, is a product of the 30s and 40s and as such is an anachronism in today’s world. The distinction between the upright “soldier of the 1940s” and the Russian spy turned agent Natasha Romanoff can be seen as a metaphor for people who are “living in the light” as opposed to “living in the world.” From their opposing views on stealing vs. borrowing a car, to their vastly different experience with members of the opposite sex, Natasha is a good example of how you don’t have to be a “bad” guy to be “worldly,” and how that viewpoint can prevent you from seeing the wiser and true path.

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight… ” —1 Corinthians 3:18.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world” —1 John 2:15.

“The righteous man leads a blameless life…” —Proverbs 20:7

Captain America, both in the comics and in this year’s film, is never more inspiring than when he is simply sharing his ‘cause’ and encouraging others to join him to do the right thing. The Captain’s scene where he does this is reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart’s role in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” where he stands resolute and alone against the corrupt Washington machine hoping against hope that “someone will listen”. The Bible advises us to do exactly that for,

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life… ” —Proverbs 10:11

“Seek justice, encourage the oppressed…” —Isaiah 1:17

Our hidden enemy has been integrating itself into the very fiber of America in order to attack us from within. Under the guise of national security, the surveillance state has grown in spite of the law, while liberty has been diminishing and now millions will pay the price with their very lives. In the film, we have an organization that speaks of unity, under their control and mass slaughter of anyone who can oppose them. As in real life, evil men are mimicking the Devil’s desires for all of us, and we should be on alert because…

“… your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” —1 Peter 5:8.

The Word of God further describes this kind of enemy, as well as their eventual downfall. As acknowledged children of God, we should take comfort in this.

“These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves! Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it” —Proverbs 1:18.

By contrast, the Captain’s sacrificial spirit, on display in the first film, is equally and even more poignantly featured here. Faced with the option of saving his life or that of his friends, and his nation, can we guess what choice Captain America will make?

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” —John 15:13.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is an awe inspiring thriller, steeped in intrigue leading up to a special effects laden climax that has an emotional payoff few action films achieve. Add to this a hero, in the truest sense of the word, that still considers himself just a kid from Brooklyn, and you have everything you would hope for in a sequel and more. I recommend this movie, and also suggest you stay for the two (2) extra scenes played during the credits.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate—“Oh my G*d” (1), “damn” (7), “hell” (5) / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Like most movies from Marvel Studios, this is free of sex and nudity, the profanity is limited to damn and hell, and the Lord’s name is not used in vain. Likewise, the violence is almost omnipresent, to the detriment of good storytelling; although one must admire the breathtaking images and flawless editing throughout the most complex battle scenes.

The evil which Captain America must battle is the villains’ use of satellite-guided, airborne, precision weapons intended to police the world for the good of mankind. That these weapons are analogous with America’s current use of drones in the Middle East is inescapable, making this movie unusually thought provoking and somewhat controversial. A Canadian politician is presently being pilloried for even suggesting that Western nations reflect on the repercussions of current policies.

The movie recognizes the sacrifices and encourages the support of our men in uniform. Watch for the usual Stan Lee cameo, and sit through ALL the credits.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Brian Schacht, age 67 (Canada)
Positive—Wow! Best Marvel movie in my opinion since the original Iron Man! I enjoyed the first Captain America movie, but this movie was way above and beyond its predecessor! They raised the bar high on this movie, and I am not sure how they will top it. This movie made me a fan of Ole Cap!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Shane Mason, age 35 (USA)
Positive—I saw the movie yesterday afternoon in 3D with my wife and 10 year old daughter. We enjoyed it very much and were pleasantly surprised by the script. New characters spiced up the film and it’s always welcome to see some from the The First Avenger installment make a comeback albeit small parts. I count one or two SOB, one soft s*** and one d***a**. Milder hell and minor use of the Lord’s Name in vain.

Overall, cleaner movie than usual and deeper plot for a superhero film. The bread and butter I believe here is the script. There are twists along the way and surprises as the movie progresses. A big part of this movie’s success obviously has something to do with the first one, this being a sequel. Most movies fail or fall short when a sequel is introduced, this is an exception though.

A few funny moments as always balance out some violence, but they are quite acceptable, expected from a film of this magnitude. Without spoiling the movie, a character from the past played a major role here and became the center of attention. This fact I already knew a few months ago when they were still filming it in Pennsylvania, got it from an online research.

Some moral lessons we picked up included fighting for what is right no matter how overwhelming and unpopular the cause is. Jesus still went on and made the greatest sacrifice even if it was unpopular and had unbelievable opposition because He had one goal in mind—our salvation. To end, this movie is definitely worth seeing but if you do—just make sure you stay after the credit rolls. It’s perfectly fine not to see it in 3D, not all scenes needed it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tades J., age 46 (USA)
Positive—For someone who didn’t grow up a superhero comic book reader, and for someone who didn’t know anything about the history behind Captain America, I really loved this movie. I saw this as a Paul Revere-like movie in its potential to wake people up. Captain America’s weapon of choice is a shield! How cool is that? Very biblical, very cool, not what I expected at all from Hollywood. Ephesians 6:16 gives us the Shield of Faith, upon which we can quench the flaming darts of the evil one.

I saw a lot of stuff in this movie that I could take away as opening up good discussion and sharing my faith with people. Now, violence is not the way to resolve everyday conflict. But I think the movie goes to great lengths, compared to what we’re used to from Hollywood, to express that it has a historical grasp of the significance of the time we live in. What I mean is with the WWII references, that violence has a place where we are on the defensive without a choice but to fight and scrap for our lives while defending what is right, godly, affirming what is righteous and true. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Chris, age 42 (USA)
Positive—Went to see this movie last night, and all I can say is WOW!! What an amazing movie! This was Stan Lee at his finest! The movie keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Non stop action, combined with a very interesting story line made for an over all great film!! It was full of plot twists, and lots of surprises throughout.

Compared to the first Captain America, there is MUCH more action violence, including intense street fighting, high speed chases, car crashes, and a lot of shooting!! As a Christian, that part was disappointing. There was more cursing in this installment as well, including taking the Lord’s name in vain. Again, there was a strong message of patriotism, friendship, loyalty, trust, and how important it is to do the right thing, even if it costs you your life!

I recommend, as in the case of every Stan Lee movie, that you stay until after the credits roll for a sneak peak into the next film. Stan Lee does another funny cameo in the film, as well! I DO NOT recommend this film for young viewers, as it is very violent, probably more suited for ages 14 and up. This is definitely a film worth seeing!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Laurel S., age 43 (USA)
Positive—I saw the movie yesterday afternoon in 3D with my wife and 10 year old daughter. We enjoyed it very much and were pleasantly surprised by the script. New characters spiced up the film and it’s always welcome to see some from the The First Avenger installment make a comeback albeit small parts.

I count one or two SOB, one soft s*** and one d***a**. Milder hell and minor use of the Lord’s Name in vain. Overall, cleaner movie than usual and deeper plot for a superhero film. The bread and butter I believe here is the script. There are twists along the way and surprises as the movie progresses. A big part of this movie’s success obviously has something to do with the first one, this being a sequel. Most movies fail or fall short when a sequel is introduced, this is an exception though. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tades J., age 46 (USA)
Positive—I enjoyed the movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” quite a bit. Overall, I would recommend this movie to most people with a clear conscience. There is a lot of violence in this movie, as users have commented. However, none of it felt gratuitous. Violence is a byproduct of evil, so it’s not surprising that a movie full of villains would have a lot of violence in it. Steve Rogers, or Captain America, once again shines as one of the few Marvel heroes with humility and true command presence. He is willing to take a stance against evil, even when it could cost him his career. Even when confronted by the doubts of everyone around him, he refuses to back down.

There is some profanity in the movie, but the amount is well under the average in action movies today. There is also little to no sexual content, as is true in most Marvel movies. **Some spoilers follow** There are some objections that I have to the movie. As a whole, the government’s attitude toward the actions of Captain America and his associates in destroying the helicarriers, machines with the ability to instantly annihilate thousands to millions of people in an instant, is more chagrin at having lost such an asset than gratitude for saving millions from destruction at the hands of H. Y. D. R. A. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—J Prince, age 30 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—We saw “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” with our teenage boys. It was mostly action-packed from start to finish. There was a ton of fighting scenes and gratuitous violence. There was not much storytelling or dialogue. No sex, no nudity, and it had a good moral message of justice and righteousness and standing up for what is right. There were several swears. Very cool special effects, sound effects and futuristic techno-gadgets, and weapons.

My teens loved it, and I thought that it was just okay.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Elicia, age 44 (USA)
Neutral—Saw the movie on opening night, I was pretty enthusiastic about seeing it. What I liked about the movie was the plot, the intrigue and hints of betrayal within Shield. I also liked how they incorporated modern day conflicts into the movie, with the discussion of the Falcons prior experience as a PJ in Afghanistan or Iraq. Also, I like how this movie flows with the Avengers movies, and I like how it flows with the TV show.

What I did not like was the excessive violence. Like when Robert Redford shot his house keeper in cold blood when she bust in on him and the winter soldier. There was too much indiscriminate shooting. Overall, the movie was good, but they could have cut out some of the violence. This movie is NOT for kids! I do not recommend you allow anyone under 18 to see it do to all the shooting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Chaka, age 39 (USA)
Positive—…an EXCELLENT film! I saw the movie two days in a row. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The movie’s very action-packed, and there are many twists and surprises in it. Captain America makes a great hero, and in many ways he behaves like Jesus. He’s kind, sacrificial, loving, compassionate, caring, willing to protect others around him. I love the line Captain America says towards the end. “The price of freedom’s high, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.” Beautiful line! Made me think of Jesus. The price for our freedom was high, and it was a price Jesus was willing to pay. Go see Captain America 2!!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 23 (USA)
Positive—“The Winter Soldier” is probably one of the best Marvel movies to date. Jam-packed with action that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire movie. Very compelling plot twists that will keep you glued to the screen. I’m not sure they could have done a better job with this movie. It is right up there with “The Avengers” in terms of plot and movie-making quality. If you are thinking about seeing this movie—do it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jason, age 40 (USA)
Positive—Great movie and story line. Good versus evil and dedication to friendship. Just because of the violence, I would be wary of taking children under 11, depending on maturity. Definitely going into my DVD library when it comes out. Man-movie for sure!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lewis, age 40 (USA)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Positive—Marvel scores not only a hit, but homerun, with “Capt. America: The Winter Soldier.” Watching and liking “Iron Man” and “The Avengers” led to my interest in this character. I knew nothing about the movie before viewing it and was pleased to see other SHIELD representatives Black Widow and Nick Fury in the movie—as well as the Falcon, whom I had never heard of.

The movie begins by working into the script a brief background of Capt. America, which was helpful to those not familiar with him, then makes its way deeper into the SHIELD organization and makes us question its true objective. Robert Redford is a welcome addition to the cast who plays a SHIELD executive with ideas of his own. Speaking of the script, this was expertly written with just the right mixture of humor, drama, and intrigue, along with the action we expect from a superhero movie. There are several plot twists which always makes for fun viewing. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jeff, age 57 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—“Godzilla” was okay, but nothing special. With all the recent superhero movies coming out with extraordinary special effects, this movie’s effects didn’t seem as compelling. Perhaps it’s because so much of the movie takes place at night that it wasn’t as visually appealing. The story was okay, but it was very predictable and was to human-focused for my tastes. Wish they would have showed more Godzilla. Not a bad movie, but not a great movie either.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jason, age 40 (USA)
Negative
Negative—The filmmakers have somehow forgotten that these characters are from “comic” books, which are for young readers to enjoy. The movie’s themes were too heavy. Parents look forward to taking their kids to a good movie that is not going to be offensive; this movie does not seem to be made with kids in mind, as it is all seriousness and no fun, and lacking well placed creative/light moments that tie it in to the being a comic book character. It’s a shame.

The first Captain America was able to accomplish being a film that all ages could enjoy, this one is just to dramatic and missing the fun and lightness that should be mixed in. It is just too serious and too violent for kids.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—M Marrero, age 46 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is an entertaining movie, but definitely not as good as the first movie was. While it is pretty clean of sexual content, the violence is heavy, and there is also some swearing. At one point in the film, we see a man’s body burned, which is probably the worst part. Overall, it was an exciting and, at times, emotional movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Thomas, age 14 (USA)
Positive—Saw this movie opening day because I had to see the sequel to the first one which I enjoyed. I did not leave disappointed It was great. It had a lot more violence then the other Marvel films, but not to bad. It didn’t have to much language, and it was pretty clean. I liked it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Matthew, age 13 (USA)
Negative—What is Marvel doing? This is not the first time that Marvel has been disappointing. This movie is terribly violent for children, with excessive amount on gun shots to the head and down-right cold blooded murder and knives in the chest. This movie has been a let down to the cinematic legacy of Captain America from the Avengers and the first Captain America film, though it was good to see Captain America staying true to himself through no overuse of weaponry and never being offensive even slightly.

Comparing the two movies I realised that it was definitely an over excessive use of guns when the first movie was set in a war and didn’t even come close to the amount of violence this movie had and just shooting at innocent people. I believe this movie is definitely not suitable for children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Harrison, age 10 (Australia)
Positive—Okay, so I don’t know why SOME people have a problem with this movie. Yeah there may be some violence… that’s why the movie is rated PG-13! Not for 10 year olds. But it is the parents choice to read all of the comments and what the reviewer has to say then make the final decision on whether of not to take their 10 year olds to see it. Overall, I would have to say that this movie is very good but not for little kids cause of some of the violence.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Michel Flynn, age 17 (USA)
Movie Critics

…has a darker tone than the original Captain America adventure; it also has a better plot. … Explores themes of ethics, trust… Old-fashioned good-vs.-evil fun, even if you aren't sure which side is which among the not-so-subtle real-world political parallels. …
—Susan Ellingburg, Crosswalk

…a terrific action movie, with a strong moral, patriotic, and anti-totalitarian worldview promoting liberty, but the intense action violence and brief foul language warrant caution. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide

…After the rollicking (if explosion-filled) fun of “The Avengers” and the extraterrestrial humor of “Thor: The Dark World,” “The Winter Soldier” thunders into a bleaker, murkier place. …Cap shows us that following your moral compass never goes out of style. We can find justice if we're willing to pursue it. We can show compassion if we're strong enough to allow it.
—Paul Asay, Plugged In

…“Winter Soldier” finally breaks Marvel’s streak of convoluted sophomore slumps, soaring higher than a bird, a plane or any other superhero series. [3½/4]
—Graham Killeen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

…an often breathlessly exciting action thriller told with humor and intelligence. …what distinguishes this Marvel Comics-based movie is the ingenious complexity of the plot and dimension of the characters. … [3/4]
—Claudia Puig, USA Today

Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I sat down to watch “Captain America” with my daughter last night and asked the question—do they take the name of our Lord in vain in this movie? When she said I do not know, we looked it up and found, yes, they do. We turned it off. I was looking to you to give my daughter the reason we do not watch movies that take our Lord’s name in vain for entertainment purposes. Jack Hayford said years ago that is where he draws the line in many movies. I then after hearing this started that about twenty years ago, and now I want my children to do the same.

The Bible says do not take the name of the Lord in vain, but it is OK to do it if we are being entertained? I do not let my daughter take anyone’s name in vain, but to respect all. God saved my life, and I want to honor Him in all I do. Over the years that has meant that I have missed many movies, but, in my heart, I feel that I have honored my Father. Thank you for letting me leave this comment.
—Sara, age 63 (USA)

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