* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation
** Was [[spoiler:Alexander Pierce]] a WellIntentionedExtremist who sincerely wanted to give the world a newer, better, truer, purer form of freedom, or was he just an ego-maniacal control freak trying to justify what was really little more than a thinly veiled take over the world plot?
** [[spoiler:How much free will did Uploaded Zola really have?]] In the first movie he was unwilling to sacrifice himself for the cause but in the sequel he gladly kept talking to allow a missile to hit his position. Was he really being used by Pierce in much the same fashion as The Winter Soldier? Or had he in fact been playing the role of reluctant henchman as far back as ''The First Avenger'' while hiding his true nature? Or given that he's now a computer program with access to the Internet, did he simply make a backup copy of himself so that he didn't really sacrifice himself at all?
** More than a few reviewers pointed out that Rogers appears to be borderline ''suicidal'' through the film, making reckless moves like leaping out of the Quinjet without a parachute, unmasking in front of the pirate Batroc and throwing away his shield, and [[spoiler:not even making an attempt to save himself from the crashing helicarrier and challenging Bucky to kill him]]. Connect with his hidden angst about all his dead friends from the past and being a FishOutOfTemporalWater, and Rogers might be a subconscious DeathSeeker.
** Is Batroc a LeaveNoSurvivors pirate-for-hire? Or is he a BloodKnight that [[spoiler: routinely does BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork jobs for Fury]] and is plagued by a few AxCrazy crew members?
* {{Anvilicious}}: About where you draw the line between security and control, and where freedom falls on either side. The argument [[DebateAndSwitch loses some of its punch]] when [[spoiler:you drop in "And the bad guys are all Nazis"]], but that also raises the question of [[spoiler:when the "peacekeepers" [[HeWhoFightsMonsters become just as bad as their enemies]] to defeat them. After all, Zola was only able to infiltrate so deeply in the first place because he was recruited by Operation Paperclip, and Project Insight only went ahead through Nick Fury's approval.]] The degree to which SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped excuses it is best left for debate.
* AuthorsSavingThrow:
** ''The First Avenger'' took some criticism for its idealized depiction of the 40s, a time during which America was still segregated and committed crimes of its own. This is briefly touched upon in the sequel.
-->'''Nick Fury''': You know, I read those old SSR files. "Greatest Generation"? You guys did some nasty stuff.
-->'''Steve Rogers''': Yeah. We compromised, sometimes in ways that made us not sleep so well. But we did it so that people could be free. This [Project Insight] isn't freedom, this is fear.
** There was also some ire given at Steve being perceived as not all that powerful or useful during ''The Avengers''. This film thus ups his abilities to make it clear he really is a ''super'' soldier, performing feats such as taking down a Quinjet, smashing through door after door at full speed to catch a target, and literally singlehandedly taking down a dozen guys inside a cramped elevator. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IHJYMZL88k One commercial]] even made the debate about his power in-universe.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic:
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5K3RY1OzfY "Taking A Stand"]], Cap's new theme that sounds darker and more muted for the modern times, yet still appropriately heroic.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTuS_Qf5_jk Winter Soldier's theme]], a wail that makes one's hair stand on end and can quickly turn from ominous to [[JumpScare sudden]].
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR1hVdl1bn4 "End of the Line"]], played during the film's climax where [[spoiler:Bucky saves Steve from drowning.]]
* BrokenBase:
** Many fans are elated at the inclusion of Natasha as a major character. Others, however, are upset that her involvement seems to be effectively subsuming the role of Agent 13.
** Cap's new uniform for the film has also gotten a mixed reaction, with some declaring it to be an upgrade over his costume in ''Film/TheAvengers'', and others lamenting the removal of the red-and-white stripes from said costume. [[spoiler:He ''does'' end up wearing his original getup from the first movie in the climax.]]
** Cap's [[TookALevelInBadass more pronounced badassery in the film]]. While many were happy to see Cap kick some serious ass thanks to his previous depictions, some felt they went ''too far'' and made him a GaryStu. Of course, given how badly Steve was OvershadowedByAwesome in previous films, and was shown before that he's incredibly strong and fast but was just never given a chance to demonstrate it in full, him looking so awesome makes more sense given the fact that now, without Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor around, everyone is Overshadowed by ''his'' Awesome this time.
%%Do NOT add any Complete Monster examples without first getting the clean up thread's okay: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=6vic3f9h1cy5qivsenw8llok&page=1
* CreepyAwesome: [[spoiler: Arnim Zola's computerized self.]]
** The eponymous Winter Soldier himself certainly has this in spades.
* CriticalDissonance: Not the film itself (which received acclaim by critics and audiences alike), but rather, the handling of Black Widow; many professional critics dismissed her as stereotypical eye candy for the male audience, but most of the women in the blogosphere were very impressed with how her character was handled, and she spends far less time in the film doing anything overly fanservicey, especially compared to previous films (no LingerieScene or MaleGaze moment this time around). To put it simply, [[UnfortunateImplications since she's a pretty girl in an action movie, the critics wrote her off as eyecandy even though the film never treated her as such.]]
* EndingFatigue: The climax is split across ''five'' settings and can start to wear thin after a while. The majority of critics and fans alike agree that while this was an awesome movie, it was probably too long.
* EnsembleDarkhorse:
** Many critics and fans alike consider both the Winter Soldier and [[spoiler:Alexander Pierce]] to be the best villains the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse has had to offer since ''Loki''.
** Batroc, thanks to his performance in the opening act.
** Sam Wilson. He's a BadassNormal who flies around in a winged power suit and is able to stand on equal footing with [=SHIELD's=] best agents for competence and skill. He's also got a lot of good lines.
* EvenBetterSequel: ''Winter Soldier'' has been considered an even stronger film than [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger its predecessor]], already a fan favorite in the MCU. In fact some critics and fans have been treating it as this to the ''entire'' Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse, declaring it the [[MagnumOpus best of the whole series so far]] (its Tomatometer is the fourth-highest in the MCU behind ''Film/IronMan'',''Film/TheAvengers'', and ''[[Film/{{GuardiansoftheGalaxy}} Guardians Of the Galaxy]]''). It's also far more successful at the box office than the original.
* FanPreferredCouple: Between Steve, Natasha, Sam, and Bucky, any combination of them is a pretty popular ship (Sam/Natasha is the least popular of this though, but even that has fans). Then there's those who'd rather just have [[{{OT3}} all four of them]] stick together and be romantic bros, possibly with Hawkeye thrown in for good measure.
* GeniusBonus: The movie makes a great visual metaphor at the end which could be a rebuttal to Harry Lime's famous "Dot" speech in TheThirdMan. Given said film was one of the earliest cynical spy films, this is entirely possible.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: [[http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/04/11/captain_america_captain_china The Chinese love Captain America]] because its main message is, as one reviewer puts it, "To love one's country isn't the same as loving one's government". The movie appeals to a Chinese audience tiring of government censorship and propagandist heroes.
* HarsherInHindsight:
** In-universe, Nick Fury's memory of [[spoiler:how Secretary Pierce turned down a Nobel Peace Prize by saying that "peace isn't a reward, it's a responsibility." The problem is that Pierce's idea of peace is one enforced by HYDRA.]]
** TheReveal of [[spoiler:Sitwell and Senator Stern as HYDRA agents]]. If the first name hasn't been a blow enough, the mere fact that the latter ''wants'' to [[spoiler:confiscate Tony's suit for the U.S. military is quite a guise for HYDRA control]]. It doesn't help that [[spoiler:the U.S. military's immediate action when Rhodes did acquire Tony's spare suit is to ''weaponize'' it in the name of patriotism]].
** Sam mentions that his wingman was shot down by an RPG during a late-night mission. That's sad enough until you see what his flying gear looks like, and then you realize that he had to watch his best friend get shot [[NightmareFuel point-blank with an RPG...]]
** In the Avengers, Tony comments that "In a few hours, I'll know every dirty secret S.H.I.E.L.D has ever tried to hide". [[spoiler:With the reveal that HYDRA was using S.H.I.E.L.D as a cover and had been manipulating it, guess he FailedASpotCheck.]]
** In the 1998 Nick Fury movie, when [[spoiler:Alexander Pierce]] makes a mistake during a mission, Fury says that he is [[spoiler:either a traitor or an idiot.]] While [[spoiler:Pierce]] from that movie [[spoiler:wasn't a traitor]], the one in this movie [[spoiler: is]].
** When Steve [[spoiler:wakes in a hospital bed at the end of the film, this is the second time he's found himself in a similar situation after falling into water from a great height expecting to die. The first time this happened, he found the era-appropriate room was a lie and that he had actually slept for 70 years. If he had not seen Sam there with Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man"--a soundtrack from an era he missed--it would not have been pretty.]]
* HellIsThatNoise: The awful screeching noise that acts as the Winter Soldier's {{Leitmotif}}.
* HesJustHiding: A common fan reaction to [[spoiler:computerized Arnim Zola's death, on the grounds that BrainUploading equals DeathIsCheap, which is his standard tactic in the comics.]]
** Some fans are hoping this is the case with [[spoiler: Agent Sitwell]], in part due to some ambiguous tweets from his actor, with messages like [[spoiler: Fury Always Has a Plan]]
* HilariousInHindsight:
** In the movie, Pierce wanted Iron Man to appear at his kid's birthday party. In real life, Robert Downey Jr. invited a bunch of kids to his birthday party to watch this very movie.
** At one point in the movie, Cap and Natasha "borrow" a car, which harkens back to Cap's less than graceful car thefts in ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990''.
** Despite TheReveal being generally HarsherInHindsight, it makes [[spoiler:Tony Stark's comment of "I have successfully privatized world peace"]] all the funnier since [[spoiler:he's basically boasting about accomplishing HYDRA's end goal of "peace through force" without actually being a HYDRA member and rubbing that detail in HYDRA's faces. No wonder Senator Stern swore at him.]]
** Scarlett Johansson's breakout role was 1998's ''The Horse Whisperer'' opposite star/director Robert Redford, where the two had a generational-gap friendship; in the climax of this film, [[spoiler: they face off as enemies]].
** Ng Chin Han, who's had a string of bit parts like Lau in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' before appearing as a WSC member here, actually got his start in the 90s in a string of TV roles on Singapore television. Imagine the surprise of Singaporean audiences at the sight of ''the mostly-neutral Singapore having a representative on the WSC!''
* HoYay:
** The sheer amount of HoYay between Steve and Bucky/[[spoiler:The Winter Soldier]] is so huge that Sharon doesn't even seem to be Steve's love interest (and not just because of how OutOfFocus she is during the movie). The fact that Cap spends the entire movie turning down Natasha's offers to set him up on dates, saying he's looking for someone with "similar life experiences", is no help whatsoever.
** Sam/Steve is not to be left out either. For his part, Steve's the one who gets Sam's attention and seeks him out, either when he's in danger or just because (after the therapy meeting). For ''his'' part, Sam quickly proves he's willing to not only back Steve up against suicidal odds, but stay by his hospital bed in the aftermath. More than a few netizens have commented that Sam takes all of the usual superhero love interest duties: unwavering loyalty, emotional pep talks, waiting by the bedside, etc.
* ItWasHisSled:
** TheReveal of the Winter Soldier's identity was an 8-year-old spoiler for comics readers by the time the ''Winter Soldier'' film came out, a 2-year-old spoiler for viewers of ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', and a 7-year-old spoiler for anyone who happened to play ''Marvel: Ultimate Alliance''. The anticipation of the film is actually a result of this, wherein the drama surrounding this is the main reason why fans want to see the film. By the final month before release, even Marvel gave up trying to hide it, even saying that the tension of the Winter Soldier's identity doesn't come from the audience not knowing, but from Cap not knowing. Previews from both the ''Thor: The Dark World'' Blu-Ray and an MCU TV special go ahead and spill exactly who the Winter Soldier is. The ''Winter Soldier'' Blu-Ray case even has a big picture of him without his mask on the back cover.
** To a lesser extent, SHIELD agent [[spoiler:Brock Rumlow working for HYDRA]], for anyone familiar with his identity in the comics.
** The twist that [[spoiler:HYDRA]] is still around has also gained a fair amount of notoriety.
* JustHereForGodzilla: For many comic book fans, the primary reason to watch the movie was the conflict between Cap and the Winter Soldier -- or more specifically, the revelation of the Winter Soldier's identity and Cap's reaction to it. Marvel was not blind to this, and took advantage of it by having most of the promotion of the movie focused on Cap and the Winter Soldier. [[spoiler:It also did a great job of hiding the mid-plot twist and true conflict of the movie -- that HYDRA had infiltrated SHIELD at its very creation, and therefore the organization is too corrupt to continue on and must be dissolved permanently.]]
* LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt: The movie has us believe many characters are dead/will die throughout the film, but many fans are savvy enough to figure out it wasn't going to happen. [[spoiler:Nick Fury]] is the biggest example, though it was a close run thing. On the other hand, they really ''did'' go through with [[spoiler:the complete dismantling of SHIELD.]]
* MagnificentBastard: Nick Fury and Alexander Pierce. Pierce arranges Fury's assassination and takes control of SHIELD ,sets up Captain America to look like TheMole and turn SHIELD against him, hijacks the plan to use Helicarriers to defend against enemies of the West and instead has them target enemies of HYDRA, and as he watches it occur he sets up the World Security Council to die with the tap of a smartphone icon. Then [[spoiler:Fury [[OutGambitted Out Gambits]] him by ''faking'' his death because he knows SHIELD is compromised and he can trust no one, goes underground with Maria Hill to find out what's going on, finds out what Pierce is planning, and sets up a plan to stop him complete with Fury revealing himself to Pierce to help Black Widow expose him to the world. And since he knew that Pierce would delete his security overrides after his "death", Fury created a hidden override using the retinal scan of his ''blind'' eye.]]
* MagnumOpus: Many fans consider the film to be this for the MCU.
* MemeticMutation:
** In an odd form of BorrowedCatchphrase, [[Series/GameOfThrones "Winter is Coming"]] has been adopted as an unofficial tagline by the fandom.
** Some Italian fans compared Winter Soldier to Adam Kadmon. He's also been compared to [[VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance Raiden]], thanks to his mask, SuperReflexes, and cybernetic limbs.
** "The Helicarrier's becoming the [[Franchise/StarTrek Enterprise]]," in a reference to how the thing keeps seeming to die whenever we see it.
** "Who the hell is Bucky?"
** Images of people/characters whispering captioned with "[[spoiler:Hail HYDRA]]".
** "On your left!"
** Cap's elevator fight was invoked by a viral tweet describing Solange Knowles's elevator scuffle with Jay-Z.
** Tumblr has made a very popular meme of inserting the Marvel and DC logos over Steve and Sam's heads during the running scene to show, in a nutshell, what everyone thinks of the MCU/DCCU rivalry.
* MoralEventHorizon:
** [[spoiler:Zola]] is revealed to have crossed the line years ago by torturing [[spoiler:several members of Bucky's division, including Bucky himself]]. If that particular line crossing isn't bad enough, [[spoiler:he helped rebuild HYDRA as SHIELD and created an algorithm to target any and all potential enemies, which would have killed at least twenty million people, according to his calculations]].
** [[spoiler:Alexander Pierce]] crosses it by casually murdering [[spoiler:his cleaner when she stumbles across the Winter Soldier sitting in his house]].
* {{Narm}}:
** The cut to [[EndingFatigue Falcon and Rumlow still fighting after the rest of the climax has been resolved.]]
** Steve at his old army base and seeing the ghost of his former skinny self who looks at him in amazement.
** During the fight with Batroc, Cap dramatically removing his mask looks somewhat comedic thanks to the helmet hair.
** After an entire movie of proving [[spoiler:HYDRA has evolved from ThoseWackyNazis into a realistically terrifying sleeper cell inside S.H.I.E.L.D., TheStinger reveals Thomas Kretchsmann hamming it up as Baron Strucker. His passing resemblance to [[Series/HogansHeroes Colonel Klink]] doesn't help either.]]
* NarrowedItDownToTheGuyIRecognize: [[spoiler:Creator/RobertRedford is the BigBad]].
* OneSceneWonder
** [[spoiler:Arnim Zola's computerized self]] appears for no more than ten minutes, yet in that time he manages to establish himself as highly creepy and a surprisingly capable [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] who's managed to [[spoiler:resurrect [=HYDRA=] from within S.H.I.E.L.D. itself]].
** Batroc, the pirate who managed to hold his own against Captain America early in the movie.
* OneTrueThreesome: One True ''Four''some - Steve/Sam/Natasha/Bucky is already gaining traction.
* ParanoiaFuel: [[spoiler: HYDRA's been hiding in SHIELD since its very creation]], influencing world events under the justification of protecting people. They had a hand in the death of Howard Stark and his wife. And [[spoiler:the non HYDRA members of SHIELD]] had no idea at all. Not even Coulson realized his close friend was a mole.
** It's implied that [[spoiler:HYDRA]] had a hand in making an entire generation live in fear of nuclear attack, and the entire ''next'' generation live in fear of terrorism, just so humanity as a whole would be willing to give up their freedom for more safety and security. It's like "My whole life is a lie!" but for the ''entire planet''.
** Much of this movie's plot was [[RippedFromTheHeadlines taken from real-life American government controversies]] such as drone strikes and NSA spying, and plays up people's real-life fears about them to their logical conclusion, [[spoiler: namely that the information being collected will ultimately be used to assassinate millions of people, the vast majority of whom have no links to terrorist organizations whatsoever.]]
* RewatchBonus: [[spoiler: TheReveal that HYDRA has been infiltrating SHIELD since it's inception causes ''loads'' of past scenes and events involving the organization to take on a new meaning throughout the whole of the MCU. Not to mention now that we know Senator Stern is a HYDRA member, his insistence on Tony Stark giving up the Iron Man armor back in ''Iron Man 2'' comes off less as JerkassHasAPoint and more as him trying to give HYDRA some Iron Man suits to Curb Stomp their enemies with.]]
* RonTheDeathEater: Those who ship Steve with Tony or Bucky have a nasty tendency to accuse Sam of being a HYDRA mole, or depict him as one, despite the fact that Sam was a retired war vet who was never a part of SHIELD, and as such there's no logical way he ''could'' have been HYDRA.
* ShipToShipCombat:
** Ever since the movie premiered, there have been...kerfluffles involving every ship associated with [[FandomBicycle Steve Rogers]].
** Months before the film was even released, some rather rabid shippers were ''already'' voicing opposition that [[spoiler: Bucky/Winter Soldier]] may become a potential love interest for Natasha (Black Widow), thus [[ShipSinking sinking]] their hopes for a Clint (Hawkeye) and Natasha relationship. Though this assumption isn't without some merit, due to [[spoiler:Bucky and Natasha]] having actually been an OfficialCouple in the comics and Natasha and Clint having only briefly dated early in their careers.
** There were even a few who hoped Steve and Natasha might hook up, even though a running gag throughout the film is Nat encouraging Steve to get a girlfriend. Granted there are a few scenes where Natasha seems to be flirting with Steve, trying to get a feel for who he is and if he's her "type". [[spoiler:They end up just being friends, which is a bit of a shame given that there is genuine chemistry between Chris Evans and Scarlet Johanasson.]]
** Due to the massive amounts of HoYay between Steve and Bucky, the pairing has somewhat begun to unseat the popularity of the widespread post-Avengers Steve/Tony ship, to some Tumblr discontent.
** Another one is brewing between the Steve/Tony shippers and the Sam/Steve shippers: the former were not happy that Steve went to Sam for help despite knowing him for such a short time instead of Tony, and the implication that Sam could've have been Hydra rankled the latter immensely. Of course, given he had a limited time window and Sam was already in Washington DC, there's the matter of practicality that helps with this case.
* SpecialEffectsFailure:
** A picture-only example. The promotional image for ComicBook/BlackWidow is [[http://25.media.tumblr.com/10034b9fc4574aa9d592aa334d18192e/tumblr_n08kf1Rxyn1r5vp4eo1_r1_500.gif unnaturally slim]], to the point of it being relatively obviously photoshopped. A rather strange instance considering ScarlettJohansson has what's largely considered a [[MsFanservice very nice figure]].
** Likewise, Falcon's poster gives him a massive chest with disproportionately tiny legs. Comparisons are drawn to the work of Rob Liefield.
** In the scene where Cap meets with Peggy, the effects used to age her make her mouth slide around and change size unnaturally.
** The scene where Cap is getting onto the elevator (an outside shot, as we see him from a distance through a window) before he's mobbed by bad guys is obviously CGI'd.
** When the Winter Soldier snags Cap's shield and throws it at him, it ends up halfway embedded in the back of a van. When Cap runs to grab it during the fight, the shield sticking out of the van was obviously added in post. There's also a really obvious missing split-second in the cut between when he reaches for it and when he's holding it, it's very easy to notice that we never actually see him ''grab'' the shield from the van without freeze-framing.
* SpiritualLicensee:
** Fans have come to call this movie the closest they have to a ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' film adaptation.
** It's also as much a Creator/TomClancy movie as ''Film/JackRyanShadowRecruit''.
** It's a closer adaptation of Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/{{Moonraker}}'' than [[Film/{{Moonraker}} the official adaptation]] was.
* {{Squick}}: When Nick Fury goes to the retina scan... with the eye under the patch.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: Some fans believe that while still a central part of the plot, the titular Winter Soldier is very much OutOfFocus for most of the story. In the source material, the Winter Soldier's identity and background are subject to more scrutiny and tied more heavily into the plot. Almost all of it, including his ties to Black Widow, make no appearance in the film (though due to the MCU's time compression--Widow is ''much'' older in the comics--there might not even be a connection at all). The acting and design are dead on, but not much is done with the character in order to focus on [[spoiler:Alexander Pierce]]. Still, the film does a good job of setting up possible appearances for future installments, along with the possibility of exploring his past and character in more detail in the sequel.
** Sharon, a huge figure in the source mythos, also receives far too little focus. Though, like the Winter Soldier, it's likely she will feature in future films.
* ToughActToFollow: Was set to serve as this to the next MCU movie, ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''. Amazingly, that movie turned out almost as good as this one, if not better. Now it along with ''Guardians'' and ''Film/TheAvengers'' set the bar for what ''Film/TheAvengersAgeOfUltron'' has to live up to.
* SugarWiki/VisualEffectsOfAwesome:
** The Helicarriers falling to the sea is absolutely amazing.
** While the Falcon has some changes from the comics version, the Winter Soldier looks almost ''identical'' to the comics, which is pretty impressive.
** The Winter Soldier's metal arm is a sight to behold, especially since set photos showed an unconnected metal case for the actor's arm. In the film, it's a seamless, smooth limb.
** Speaking of Falcon, who didn't love seeing him flying around and generally being awesome? Whoever did the flight effects for him needs a medal.
** From the start of the film, aboard the pirate ship, Cap appears a true super-soldier, with speed and agility and strength that the first film's CGI didn't catch. None of the {{Franchise/Batman}} films show as well what a superior-trained human can do. Very realistic.
** The shield tricks, which have taken a massive level in awesome. In general, the action scenes are ''very'' well done. In particular are the fights between Captain America and the Winter Soldier, which many have come to regard as some of the best hand-to-hand combat scenes in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
** Elderly Peggy Carter is not without its flaws, but considering how bad old age prosthetic makeup used to look in movies, the digital solution as detailed came up with was far more convincing and allowed the actor's performance to show through without restriction. How they did it is detailed [[http://avengersuniverse.com/2014/05/04/see-how-hayley-atwell-was-made-to-look-old-in-captain-america-the-winter-soldier/ here]].
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical:
** Although the directors admit to drawing some inspiration from real life political controversies from TheNewTens such as drone strikes and UsefulNotes/BarackObama enacting preemptive strikes against potential threats to the US, they maintain that [[spoiler:the link between S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets being leaked on the internet and Edward Snowden's NSA leaks is an accidental one, as the film's story had already been solidified before that came onto the scene]]. Ed Brubaker has said the screenplay was inspired by WikiLeaks, and the film winks at this, by showing Julian Assange as either a member or (more likely) a pawn of HYDRA.
** Not to mention S.H.I.E.L.D. (and by extension [[spoiler:HYDRA]]) keeping track of everybody in the world by keeping their electronic records under surveillance on everything from bank accounts to social media to voting records and more, which mirrors the recent revelations of the lengths the NSA has gone to electronically spy on American citizens.
** The initial plot ([[spoiler:before the reveal of HYDRA]]) could easily be described as [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything "something catastrophic happened in New York, so people in government start arguing that we should give up some freedoms in exchange for safety and stability."]]
** Some reviewers have actually taken Steve's "On your left" comment as being a specific indication of left-wing liberalism.
* WinBackTheCrowd: While both ''Iron Man 3'' and ''Thor: The Dark World'' were box office hits, with the former grossing a billions dollars worldwide, they received mixed reviews from both critics and fans alike, leaving some people to wonder if the MCU had lost a step or two. Then ''Winter Soldier'' came along and renewed their faith.
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