Film Film Trailers

6 Reactions to the New Captain America: Winter Soldier Trailer

As revelations go, this ranks among the least profound, but this past week in the build up to the release of the new trailer for Captain America: Winter Solider I realized something shocking: I cannot wait to see this movie (cue sarcastic slow clap now).

This is quite the personal turnaround for me.  Prior to the 2011 release of Captain America: The First Avenger, my only exposure to the character had been via the atrocious live-action 1990 Captain America movie.  So, even though Marvel had earned my fandom with the Iron Man films and Thor I could find nothing to embrace in the idea of a Captain America film.  The director Joe Johnston hadn’t done anything I’d liked since 1991’s The Rocketeer, the star, Chris Evans, was nothing more than the annoying guy from the equally annoying Fantastic Four movies, and Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, and Hugo Weaving were nice pieces to have in a supporting cast but not enough to win me over.

I was wrong, though.  The screenplay from Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus had an interesting take on WWII propaganda by setting Captain America up initially as a mere puppet to drum up public support for the war effort.  Director Johnston brought with him the same old-fashioned, sepia-toned approach that had worked so well in The Rocketeer, and Alan Silvestri’s score was instantly hummable and reverent to the style of film being paid homage.  The notable supporting players were as solid as expected, but the true revelations were the admirably restrained Chris Evans in the lead role and the perfectly spunky Haley Atwell as the love interest.  It is a testament to their performances and the writing that Rogers’ closing descent into the ocean as he says his anguished but adorably resilient goodbyes to Peggy comes off as so utterly heartbreaking.

Now, Captain America: The Winter Solider comes out next April.  They’re adapting one of Captain American’s most famous comic book storylines (the Winter Solider), they have the same screenwriters but a new pair of directors, and the buzz has been building ever since people got their first look at footage at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.  Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has promised us not only will Winter Solder be a totally different kind of film than First Avenger but also possess a much larger scale.  Plus, by focusing on not just Captain America but also Nick Fury, Black Widow, and SHIELD it will function far more as a direct sequel to The Avengers as any other film in Marvel’s current Phase 2.

Finally, we get to see if it’s all a bunch of hot air now that the first trailer is out:

Here are 6 observations about the trailer:

1. New Directors – Does It Show?

Captain America Scale

Joe Johnston was the perfect choice for the more old-fashioned First Avenger.  However, he has been replaced for the sequel with the surprising choice of The Russo Brothers (Joe and Anthony), American TV producers/directors who cut their teeth on Arrested Development and rose to fame among comedy nerds over the past handful of years through their behind the camera work on Community and Happy Endings.  Other than the forgettable Owen Wilson comedy You, Me, and Dupree neither has directed a major studio feature film.  Through the brilliance of Community, though, they’ve been allowed to display a versatility and ingenuity almost no other sitcom directors could (their directed episodes alternate between homages to spaghetti westerns, Goodfellas, and Star Wars, deconstructions of the mockumentary format, and among the most visually engaging playing of famous board game Dungeons & Dragons ever realized on film).  They have proven their immense adaptability, and appear with Winter Soldier to have absolutely nailed the proper tone for a taut political thriller that plays like a Jack Ryan story with a higher action quotient and on a much larger scale.

2. Captain America – More Like Captain Badass

Captain American Capt. Badass

Ever super hero film trailer has to have an ultra cool hero moment, a fist-pump-into-the-air bit of action that lends itself not to any high-minded analysis but instead more immediate cries of, “That was so cool!”  Ole Cap has plenty of action hero moments throughout this trailer, but none likely inspire as much reduced-back-to-adolescence-that-was-so-cool gushing as his single-handed takedown of a theater full of bad guys who have encircled him.  The added bonus here is that while this is a cool action moment it is also an immensely provocative one, as the men on the receiving end of his smackdown appear to be S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.  It points to a storyline in which although the titular Winter Soldier will be the ostensible villain, the real threat will come from within with the primary culpit actually being some portion of SHIELD operating under the direction of Robert Redford’s mysterious new character.

3. Nick Fury Gonna Get Hurt Real Good

Captain American Winter Soldier Fury Hurt

This is not a trailer filled to the brim with storyline spoilers, but it does highlight one of them, namely that apparently after battleing the Winter Soldier Nick Fury will suffer a serious injury which will land him in the hospital.  This argues that Fury will be sidelined for a portion of the story, thus leaving it up to Black Widow, new character Falcon, and Cap to not only battle the Winter Soldier but also uncover a likely conspiracy from within the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D.

4. Ready for a Captain America-Black Widow Romance?

Captain America Black Widow Carry

Various on-set photos and red carpet interview answers over the past year have somewhat spoiled this aspect of Winter Soldier, but a romance or at least the hint of one between Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff appears to be in the mix of storylines for the sequel.  As with any comic book characters who have been around for decades (since the 1940s for Cap, the 1960s for Widow), their dating history is long but their list of love interests surprisingly minimal.  Roger’s love interests have been Peggy Carter (played by Hayley Atwell in First Avenger), Sharon Carter (believed to be played by Emily VanCamp in Winter Soldier), and Bernie Rosenthal; Romanoff’s primary love interests have been Hawkeye, Daredevil, and the Winter Soldier (and then him again when he replaced Steve Rogers as the new Captain America).  In the comics, the Winter Soldier is a former ally of Rogers’ who also helped trained Black Widow when she started out as a villain, the two sharing a brief relationship at that time.  It will be interesting to see how Widow’s relationship to the Winter Soldier in the comics is reflected in the film, if at all.

5. The Falcon Looks Better Than Expected

Captain American Falcon

Anthony Mackie is a newcomer to the franchise, playing Sam Wilson/Falcon, a long-time partner of Cap’s from the comics where he became the first African-American superhero of note in comic book history.  We don’t see much of him in this trailer, but in interviews Mackie has been effusive with his excitement for the project and potential for more with Marvel.  The Marvel films haven’t been completely lily-white in terms of race, as we’ve had Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Idris Elba’s Heimdall from Thor, and Terrance Howard/Don Cheadle’s Iron Patriot.  However, it’s still nice seeing Falcon being adapted as well, albeit as a supporting character.  However, this entire time I’ve heard about Mackie’s inclusion the only image that came to mind was how Falcon appears in the current animated series Avengers Assemble which is basically that he looks exactly like a cartoon character.  Thankfully, Mackie’s Falcon looks believably and at home in the film’s universe.

6. If You Don’t Know the Winter Solider Backstory, This Trailer Thankfully Doesn’t Spoil It

Captain American Winter Soldier

So neither shall I.  If you want to read the backstory of The Winter Soldier, check it out here.  Right now, the trailer has shown us that this is the type of dude who can stare down Nick Fury’s advancing SUV and easily use an explosive device to escape any harm, is excellent in hand-to-combat and usually wears a partial mask covering the lower half of his face.  Plus, he can somehow catch Cap’s shield in mid-air with no difficulty, ala a Green Arrow or Hawkeye villain snatching an arrow from the air before it reaches it’s intended target.  

Beyond all of that, Captain America has a new, slightly more impressive suit, S.H.I.E.L.D. appears to be building an armada of hellicarriers, it’s not as strange as it might have otherwise seemed to see Robert Redford in a trailer for a Marvel film, and the action in this film seems to be off the charts.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier begins rolling out in foreign territories in late March in advance of a scheduled domestic debut on April 4, 2014.

What about you?  Any other reactions you’ve had to the trailer?  Or are you actually different from me and NOT looking forward to this movie?  Let us know in the comments section.


  1. I am absolutely thrilled that they are doing The Winter Soldier story line. I remember Joe Johnston saying that was the story that he wanted to do after the first movie and I remember thinking it was a longshot but, here we are!

    I hope the Winter Soldier is prominent throughout the film because he is one of my favorite characters from the comics.

    1. If I’m honest, my first reaction to hearing that they were doing the Winter Soldier storyline was to wonder how the heck they were going to make it not feel goofy to have a character we thought had died back in the 1940s being alive and looking like he’s barely aged at all. Then I remembered, “Oh, yeah. Rogers was literally a frozen block of ice for decades they just thawed out and threw into The Avengers. The Winter Solider can make total sense in this universe.” Now, I’m completely on board with it.

      Interestingly, I’ve heard far more about the Robert Redford character and related internal threat from SHIELD in the movie than I have anything about the Winter Solider. However, the Winter Soldier’s identity is supposed to be a surprise so of course they’re not talking about it much. I actually really like that the first trailer doesn’t really give anything away about the Winter Soldier. The comics readers can nod in acknowledgement when he pops up, but those who don’t know who the guy is still have no idea. It will be interesting how willing Marvel is to spoil that during the promotion of the movie as we get closer to its release date.

      1. I Wonder how much of a secret they will keep Winter Soldier’s identity as well. Marvel has been pretty forth coming with plot details of their previous movies so we’ll see.

        What I don’t to see happen is another Fantastic Four: rise of the Silver Surfer situation where a character’s name is in the title of the movie but he ends up having about 4 lines and ten minutes of screen time at best. With Cap 2 being made by Marvel and not FOX I have more hope but we won’t know until it’s out.

      2. That’s true. The Winter Soldier could end up being but a minor aspect of the film, ala The Silver Surfer (an excellent comparison on your part, btw). I, too, struggle to see that happening. He’ll probably end up being the primary physical threat but ultimately a tool being wielded by a mastermind villain behind the scenes, such as Redford’s character. However, I think he’ll get enough screen time. Even The Mandarin who wasn’t the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 was on screen for a while. Apparently, Thor: The Dark World sort of drops the ball in this territory with Malekith getting little screen time and being underdeveloped. However, I trust that Winter Soldier will be a different story considering both Cap and Black Widow’s relationship to the Winter Soldier character in the comics.

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