The Winter Soldier picks up after the Avengers movie and the Battle of New York. I like that Steve Rogers aka Captain America is teamed up with Natasha Romanov aka The Black Widow in this movie. His persona as the "boy scout" balances off nicely her "spy do anything" mentality. I didn't enjoy this film as much as I thought I would. It felt a bit boring and a bit long, but I went in with a bit of a headache so maybe that is why. I have been watching the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so it was nice to see in the film a lot more of the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. Nick Fury has a big part in this film, it is much more of an assemble piece. The one thing that really threw me off this film is the chase sequence in downtown Washington DC. I live in Northern Virginia and believe me the traffic here sucks and to see Nick Fury initially before the chase sequence starts to get that easily around town without an escort stopping traffic at intersections seemly so unrealistic that it took me out of my movie watching zone and was hard to get back it. While the opening action scenes are part of some trailers and are excellent to watch those same scenes in the movie theater were very hard to watch as they were at night and I could barely see anything. Might be the lighting in the movie theater was bad. But I like to see what I paid for. There is a scene where Steve first meets the Winter Soldier and throws his shield at him and the WS manages to stop the shield with one hand. Again great in the trailer, could barely see it in the film.
Yes, Stan Lee has a cameo but it is late in the film and again you are shocked out of the movie watching zone when you see him as by this point you had forgotten that he would appear.
Initially didn't like the Black Widows new hair color as it was a light red almost strawberry blonde, but it was OK at the end. The new hair style was good, don't like that she is going back to that messy shorter look that she had in Avengers 1 for Avengers 2. Liked her uniform, seemed that there was more body armor instead of sleekly skin suit, more appropriate for the fight scenes. One of the audience members dressed up like the Black Widow and she looked fantastic.
Liked Steve's new body armor Captain America suit in the beginning of the film. Good update.
There are two additional scenes in the film. You will not miss out if you leave the theater when the lights come on. The first scene is shortly after the credits roll and is a continuation of the film. The second scene was directed by Joss Whedon and appears after most of the credits finish and is a quick look see at beginnings of the Avengers 2 movie.
Bit of a spoiler about mutants in the Avengers 2 film:
Click to see Spoiler:
Because Fox owns the film rights to the Fantastic Four and X-men Marvel Studios can't really use the word mutants or their origins in the Avengers 2 film so the last scene sorts implies that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch got their powers through other means so aren't really mutants. This may or may not piss off fans but they had to do this because the big boys (Fox) can't play nice with Marvel Studio execs and who really needs the legal hassle.
PS: forgot to comment on the introduction of The Falcon. When I initially heard that they were going to have The Falcon as a character in this movie I was not impressed. When the character of the Falcon was first introduced in Marvel Comics I felt that all Marvel was doing was trying to add diversity to its traditional line up of all white male superheroes. It felt as if Marvel Studios was going to add that token black man to the film. I was very pleasantly surprised to see how seamlessly the writers were in adding the character of Sam Wilson/The Falcon to this film. You don't see him as the token black man but as a veteran, who was a parajumper, who served his country in Afganistan, who counsels vets and befriends Steve Rogers, who ends up helping him and also rocks it as The Falcon. Very well done.