Captain America: The Winter Soldier, also stylized as Captain America 2, is an American super-hero film featuring the Marvel comics character Captain America. It is the sequel to the first film entitled Captain America: The First Avenger, and features the original cast along with new actors & actresses joining them to portray new and different characters.
Two years after the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers lives in Washington, D.C. and continues to work for espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., but struggles to adapt to contemporary society. After meeting and befriending war veteran and PTSD counsellor Sam Wilson on a morning jog, Rogers is called to help save a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Algerian pirates led by Georges Batroc.
Aboard, he discovers fellow agent Natasha Romanoff extracting data from the ship's computers, making him question whether he should trust S.H.I.E.L.D. At S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters, the Triskelion', Nick Fury introduces Rogers to Operation: Insight, three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites and designed to pre-emptively eliminate threats. Rogers later visits the elderly Peggy Carter at a nursing home.
Later, Fury is denied access to information on Operation: Insight, and on his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill he is ambushed by assailants disguised as police officers. A mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier blows up Fury's SUV. Fury escapes and sneaks into Rogers' apartment, but after handing Rogers a USB flash drive he is gunned down by the Winter Soldier. Rogers gives chase, and his neighbor reveals herself as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter. Fury appears to die in surgery, and Hill recovers the body.
The next day, Rogers is summoned by senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce. When Rogers withholds Fury's information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by the agency, Rogers meets with Romanoff, and using data in the flash drive they discover an old S.H.I.E.L.D. underground base within an abandoned U.S. Army base in New Jersey. They activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola, who reveals that when S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, HYDRA secretly operated within their ranks. Their plan is to use the new Helicarriers to selectively kill 20 million people whom Zola's data-mining algorithm has identified as potential threats. Rogers and Romanoff narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker.
They enlist the help of Wilson, and subsequently acquire the classified "Falcon" flight-exoskeleton he once harnessed. Ambushed by the Winter Soldier — whom Rogers believes is James "Bucky" Barnes, his best friend who was presumed KIA during WWII — they are captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. but rescued by a disguised Hill. She leads them to a hideout where they discover Fury is alive and planning a mission to prevent Pierce from launching Operation: Insight. The mission involves replacing the controller chip contained within each Helicarrier to override their satellite control.
At the Triskelion, Pierce invites the members of the World Security Council to the launch of the Helicarriers, only to hold them hostage and reveal HYDRA's true motives. Rogers and Wilson storm the premises and replace the controllers on the first two Helicarriers, but encounter the Winter Soldier at the third. After destroying Wilson's wings and forcing him to parachute out of the Helicarrier, the Winter Soldier fights Rogers, with Rogers trying to revive Bucky's memories.
Meanwhile, Fury and Romanoff confront Pierce and force him to unlock access to S.H.I.E.L.D's database so Romanoff can expose HYDRA's motives to the public. After a brief conflict, Fury shoots Pierce dead. Aboard the third Helicarrier, a wounded Rogers replaces the final controller, allowing Hill to override the satellite operation and have all three vessels destroy one another. The Helicarrier carrying Rogers and the Winter Soldier crashes into the side of the Triskelion, where Wilson battles compromised agent Rumlow, who had earlier tried to capture Rogers.
Rogers falls off the vessel into the river. Slowly remembering his past, the Winter Soldier pulls Rogers from the water before disappearing. Afterward, with S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Nick Fury destroys the last traces of his identity before heading to Europe in pursuit of HYDRA's remaining cells under the cover of his apparent death. Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee and later gives Rogers a dossier on Bucky and the Winter Soldier program.
In a mid-credits scene, Baron von Strucker discusses HYDRA plans with subordinates. He holds Loki's scepter, and observes two prisoners in their cells: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, a hooded Winter Soldier visits the Smithsonian Institution and looks at a mural depicting him fighting alongside Captain America.
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America:
A World War II veteran who was enhanced to the peak of human physicality by an experimental serum, frozen in suspended animation, and is now struggling to adjust to the modern world.
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow:
A highly trained spy working for S.H.I.E.L.D., who partners with Rogers.
- Sebastian Stan as James "Bucky, Barnes / Winter Soldier:
Steve Rogers' best friend, who is turned into a brainwashed assassin.
- Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon:
A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with the ability to fly via a pair of mechanical wings.
- Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter / Agent 13:
A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to guard Rogers without his knowledge. About the character, VanCamp said, "I play Agent 13 / Sharon Carter which everyone knows but we don't really touch on that in this film. We're just sort of introducing her. When we first see her we realize she's living next to Captain America... they sort of have a little thing going on and as we all know in the comic books they had a love affair off and on for years. They had a very complicated relationship. It's almost as if they are planting the seeds now. Sort of leaving room to go wherever they want to go with it." Regarding her casting, Joe Russo said, "We wanted someone that Cap would have an immediate interest in. It had to be a strong-willed person, and we felt that Emily's work on Revenge was a great test tube for what this character could be. She's obviously very credible with physicality, she holds the screen really well, and she even looks like the character from the books."
- Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter:
A retired officer with the Strategic Scientific Reserve and former love interest of Captain America.
- Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce:
A senior leader within S.H.I.E.L.D., a member of the World Security Council and an old comrade of Nick Fury. Redford was cast in part as an homage to his roles in 1970s thrillers such as Three Days of the Condor. As to what attracted him to the film, Redford said, "I wanted to experience this new form of filmmaking that's taken over where you have kind of cartoon characters brought to life through high technology."
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury:
The director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Regarding Fury's questionable code of ethics, Jackson said, "Almost everything that comes out of Nick Fury's mouth is a lie in some sense. He has to ask, is he even lying to himself, too? He has a very good idea of what's going on but his paranoia keeps him from believing some of it." Jackson added, "You see Nick Fury the office guy, him going about the day-to-day work of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the politics as opposed to that other stuff. It's great to have him dealing with Captain America in terms of being able to speak to him soldier to soldier and try to explain to him how the world has changed in another way while he was frozen in time. Some of the people who used to be our enemies are now our allies – him trying to figure out, 'Well, how do we trust those guys?' or 'How do we trust the guys that you didn't trust who don't trust you?' And explaining to him that the black and white of good guys/bad guys has now turned into this gray area." McFeely said, "Fury represents an obstacle for Steve in some ways. They don't always agree on how S.H.I.E.L.D. ought to be used."
Additionally, Toby Jones, Maximiliano Hernández, and Garry Shandling reprise their roles from previous Marvel Studios films as Arnim Zola, Jasper Sitwell, and Senator Stern, respectively. Georges St-Pierre plays Georges Batroc, a mercenary and a master of the French form of kickboxing known as savate. Callan Mulvey plays Jack Rollins, a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s S.T.R.I.K.E. unit. Chin Han, Jenny Agutter (who previously appeared in The Avengers), Alan Dale, and Bernard White appear as members of the World Security Council, Comedic actors Danny Pudi and DC Pierson have small roles as a S.H.I.E.L.D. technician and an Apple Store employee, respectively. Gary Sinise voices the narrator of a Captain America-themed Smithsonian Institution exhibit and Stan Lee cameos as a security guard there. Winter Soldier creator Ed Brubaker makes a cameo as a scientist working on the Winter Soldier. Co-director Joe Russo cameos as a doctor, and Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely cameo as two S.H.I.E.L.D. interrogators. Thomas Kretschmann, Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson appear, uncredited, as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, the Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, respectively, in the mid-credits scene.
- The film was released internationally on March 26, 2014 in theaters around the world.
- The film was released on April 4, 2014 in the United States.
- This is the only stand-alone film in the Phase 2 stage wherein Nick Fury was featured, aside from the Avengers: Age of Ultron.
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