With the tagline “In heroes we trust,” Captain America: The Winter Soldier puts a spin on "In God we trust," the official motto of the United States. As the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, the movie also puts a spin on the typical, same old, same old superhero flick.
This is an edge-of-your-seat conspiracy thriller that’s part Bourne Identity and part Three Days of the Condor (more on that later).
Picking up where Marvel’s The Avengers left off, Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) as he continues his adjustment to the modern world while living in Washington, D.C., where he continues his affiliation with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D—jetting off to handle threats to national security when the need arises.
But when a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague is brutally attacked, Rogers steps into a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Encouraged to trust no one, Rogers joins forces with Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) as he struggles to expose an ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off assailants sent to silence him at every turn.
When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie). However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the mysterious Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
“Captain, in order to build a better world, sometimes means turning the old one down,” Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a high-up government official who oversees S.H.I.E.L.D., tells Rogers. “And that makes enemies.”
While observing S.H.I.E.L.D. operating, Rogers responds, “This isn't freedom. This is fear.”
The tension and who-done-it premise of the film, which features many traitors and double-crossers, gives a nod to Sydney Pollack's 1975 Redford-starring espionage thriller Three Days of the Condor.
Winter Soldier is not a faith-based film by any stretch of the imagination, but as a Captain America exhibit in the movie points out, “Captain America stands for bravery, honor and sacrifice.” Our hero closely follows the Christian values of humility, loyalty and standing for the truth—to the point of possible death. Rogers is clearly portrayed as a good, trustworthy man.
Appropriate for mature tweens and older, Winter Soldier offers alert parents teachable moments, including why it’s better to trust in God versus superheroes.
Content Watch: Captain America: The Winter Soldier is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout. From the start, there is plenty of action, consisting of hand-to-hand combat, explosions and gunfire. Quick edits make it difficult to see any graphic content or blood. The violence is more pushing than the other Marvel superheroes movies, so strong caution is encouraged against allowing young children watch this film. There are several intense scenes throughout the film where the characters are in grave danger. The film is generally darker in tone than Captain America: The First Avenger. There are a few mild obscenities, but even these are obscured by loud explosions or sound effects. Several characters lie and tell half-truths.