Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and the ninth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay by the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America alongside Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Captain America joins forces with Black Widow and Falcon to uncover a conspiracy within the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. while facing a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier.
Markus and McFeely began writing the sequel around the release of The First Avenger in July 2011. The script draws from the Winter Soldier story arc in the comic books written by Ed Brubaker as well as conspiracy fiction from the 1970s such as Three Days of the Condor (1975). The film explores S.H.I.E.L.D., similarly to how the first film explored the U.S. military, after Rogers was shown working for the agency in the MCU crossover film The Avengers (2012). The Russo brothers signed to direct in June 2012 and casting began the following month. Filming began in April 2013 in Los Angeles, California, before moving to Washington, D.C., and Cleveland, Ohio. The directors used practical effects and intense stunt work, but also 2,500 visual effects shots created by six companies.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier premiered in Los Angeles on March 13, 2014, and was released in the United States on April 4, as part of Phase Two of the MCU. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing over $714 million worldwide, making it the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2014, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. A sequel titled Captain America: Civil War, also directed by the Russos, was released in 2016.
Two years after the Battle of New York, Steve Rogers works in Washington, D.C., for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., while adjusting to contemporary society. During a mission alongside Agent Natasha Romanoff and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from pirates led by Georges Batroc, Rogers discovers Romanoff has another agenda: to extract data from the ship's computers. Returning to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters, Rogers confronts Director Nick Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites, designed to preemptively eliminate threats. Unable to decrypt Romanoff's data, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official and Secretary of Internal Security Alexander Pierce to delay the project.
On his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill, Fury is ambushed by assailants led by an assassin called the Winter Soldier. Escaping to Rogers' apartment, Fury warns him that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, but is wounded by the Winter Soldier, before handing Rogers a flash drive containing the ship's data. Fury is pronounced dead during surgery, and Hill recovers the body. The next day, Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion. When Rogers withholds Fury's information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using the data, they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola informs them that since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, Hydrahas infiltrated and operated within its ranks, sowing global chaos with the objective of making humanity surrender its freedom in exchange for security. The pair narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker, and realize that Pierce is Hydra's leader within S.H.I.E.L.D.
Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended, and acquire his powered "Falcon" wingpack. They capture S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell, a Hydra mole, forcing him to divulge that Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals becoming threats to Hydra. The Insight Helicarriers will sweep the globe, using satellite-guided guns to eliminate them. Sitwell is killed in an ambush by the Winter Soldier, whom Rogers recognizes as Bucky Barnes, his childhood best friend who seemingly fell to his death on a mission, but was actually captured and experimented upon after WWII. Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips.
After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers' launch, Rogers broadcasts Hydra's plot to everyone at the Triskelion. Romanoff, disguised as one of the Council members, disarms Pierce. Fury arrives and forces Pierce to unlock S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database so that Romanoff can leak classified information, exposing Hydra to the public. Following a struggle, Fury kills Pierce. Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson's suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill to take control and have the vessels destroy each other. Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers falls into the Potomac River. The Winter Soldier rescues the unconscious Rogers before disappearing into the woods. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee, while Fury, under the cover of his apparent death, heads to Eastern Europe in pursuit of Hydra's remaining cells. Rogers and Wilson decide to find the Winter Soldier, while Rumlow, who was a Hydra agent, is hospitalized following the Triskelion's destruction.
In a mid-credits scene, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, at a Hydra lab, proclaims that the "age of miracles" has begun as scientists examine an energy-filled scepter and two test subjects: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, Barnes visits his own memorial at the Smithsonian Institution.
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, an Avenger and 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 21st century.
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, an Avenger and a highly trained spy and assassin working for S.H.I.E.L.D. who teams up with Rogers.
- Sebastian Stan as James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes/Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers' childhood best friend who has re-emerged as an enhanced brainwashed assassin after supposedly being killed in action during World War II.
- Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, a former U.S. Air Force pararescueman trained by the military in aerial combat using a specially designed wing pack.
- Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who works closely with Nick Fury.
- Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow, the commander of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team.
- Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter / Agent 13, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to guard Rogers without his knowledge.
- Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, a retired military agent with the Strategic Scientific Reserve and co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. who is a former love interest of Steve Rogers.
- Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, a senior official within S.H.I.E.L.D., member of the World Security Council, and old comrade of Nick Fury.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Additionally, Toby Jones, Maximiliano Hernández, and Garry Shandling reprise their roles from previous MCU 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 narrates 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, Henry Goodman, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson appear, uncredited, as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Dr. List, Wanda Maximoff, and Pietro Maximoff, respectively, in the mid-credits scene.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned $259.8 million in North America and $454.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $714.4 million. It became the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2014 worldwide. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit for the film to be $166.2 million, when factoring together "production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs, with box office grosses, and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV," placing it ninth on their list of 2014's "Most Valuable Blockbusters".
Captain America: The Winter Soldier made $10.2 million in Thursday night showings, more than double the midnight gross of its predecessor. It set an April single-day ($36.9 million) and April opening-weekend record ($95.0 million), while its opening weekend was a 46% increase over its predecessor. The film held the number one spot at the box office for three consecutive weekends, before being overtaken by The Other Woman in its fourth weekend. It achieved the largest total gross among films released in the month of April. At the end of its theatrical run, the film became the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2014 in North America (behind American Sniper, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and Guardians of the Galaxy) and seventh-highest-grossing worldwide.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier topped the box office on its opening weekend with $75.2 million from 32 overseas markets. The film debuted at number one in many territories, including Australia, China, and Russia and set a 3-day opening-weekend record in China among Disney films, with $38.81 million. It topped the box office outside North America on two consecutive weekends, followed by two weeks in second, behind Rio 2.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 90% approval rating with an average score of 7.6/10 based on 305 reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 70 out of 100 based on 48 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". CinemaScore audiences gave Captain America: The Winter Soldier an "A" grade rating on an A+ to F scale.
Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus were hired to return to write the script for the sequel. Chris Evans is contracted to reprise his role as Steve Rogers in future installments in the Captain America franchise.  In September 2011, Chris Evans said that a sequel may not be released until 2014. In January 2012, Neal McDonough mentioned that a sequel would likely be filmed after the completion of Thor 2, which would likely be before the end of 2012.
In March 2012, it was reported that Marvel has whittled down a field of ten directors to three potential candidates; George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau), F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job) and brothers Anthony and Joseph Russo (Community) to helm the sequel. In April 2012, Walt Disney Studios announced that it will release the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger on April 4, 2014. Disney stated, "The second installment will pick-up where … The Avengers leaves off, as Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world. Later in April, it was announced that F. Gary Gray was not going to direct. Filming began in April of 2013 in Los Angeles. Additional filming will take place in Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
- Disney stated, "[The second installment] will pick-up where The Avengers leaves off, as Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world."
- In July 2012, Anthony Mackie entered negotiations to star as the Falcon alongside Chris Evans, while Sebastian Stan was also reported to be reprising his role as James "Bucky" Barnes.
- Anna Kendrick, Felicity Jones, Imogen Poots, Teresa Palmer, Alison Brie, Emilia Clarke and Jessica Brown Findlay were considered to play the female lead but ultimately Emily VanCamp was cast as the female lead who is believed to be Sharon Carter. Jones would later be cast in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International, it was announced that the official title for the sequel will be Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- In September 2012, Chris Evans stated that filming would begin in March 2013. Evans also stated that Rogers' adjustment to the modern world, which was originally set to be included in The Avengers, would be better suited for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- The working title for on-set will be "Freezer Burn."
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kevin Durand and Josh Holloway screen tested for the lead villain role.
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