Steve Rogers (a.k.a., Captain America) leads a rescue mission of hostages, taken by pirates, aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D.'s carrier. Natasha Romanoff (a.k.a., Black Widow) backups the content of the master computer aboard the vessel, which, as it turns out, not even S.H.I.E.L.D.'s director Nick Fury can access.
Furthermore, there is an attempt on the life of director Fury. Captain America and agent Romanoff team up to uncover the truth behind the premeditated targeting of their leader. At every step they meet assassins with huge firepower intent on stopping them. Unsure of whom to trust, they enlist the help of outsider paratrooper Sam Wilson (a.k.a., The Falcon) to expose a secret arm inside S.H.I.E.L.D., an arm whose beginning dates back to WWII and whose most lethal enforcer is a ghost, someone known only as The Winter Soldier.
I liked this movie very much. While The First Avenger was all about establishing Captain America as a historical character, with the corresponding appeal of a hunk in uniform, The Winter Soldier is a solid spy thriller with an edge.
The sex appeal is still there: Steve Rogers and Natasha are easy to look at, and there are moments when one may imagine them hooking up; fortunately the story is meatier than that. The humor has been toned down a bit, though it occasionally peppers the thick plot—as when Rogers tells Natasha "yeah, I bet you look real bad in a bikini"—and it's OK because this screenplay has places to go and they do it in a reasonable timeframe.
The dynamic camera work, so characteristic of superhero movies, imparts edge-of-your-seat action, as do the multitude of well choreographed fighting scenes—I loved the one in which a pack of agents try to tackle Rogers inside an elevator; I'm sure anyone can figure out the result. Another very accomplished set of scenes were the ones on top of the flying carrier with Captain America fighting The Winter Soldier. Who can bet on either one when it is two genetically modified super soldiers fighting with all they got?