Captain America: The Winter Soldier



Heavy fantasy violence, but no sex in superhero sequel.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: April 4, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 136 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie continues the theme raised by The Avengers about stockpiling weapons and preemptive strikes, and attacking enemies first before they have a chance to attack. There's also an issue of trust, as it becomes clear that commanding officers are withholding information. However, for Captain America, it's simple: fear does not equal freedom. Captain America believes in telling the truth, and sticking by his friends.

Positive role models

More so than many superheroes, Captain America is a decent role model. He's out of place and doesn't quite fit in, but the ideals he believes in and fights for are simple and pure. He believes that freedom is better than fear, and that knowledge and trust is better than the false illusion of safety. He sticks by his friends, no matter what, and he tells the truth. He does hurt people during fights, however.


This movie has heavy, frequent fighting, punching, shooting, falling, and crashing, though it's all stylish fantasy with only a little blood. Cap and Black Widow tend to fight hand-to-hand more often than using weapons, though Cap bashes several bad guys with his shield. A showdown between Cap and the Winter Soldier is a fairly brutal hand-to-hand fight. There are lots of explosions and damaged property.


Cap and Black Widow kiss in order to avoid being detected by bad guys; later she realizes that it was probably his first kiss since his WWII days, and she teases him about it. She continually suggests women that he could be dating. Cap interacts with one pretty woman, but their flirting is interrupted before it goes anywhere. Cap also visits his former love, now an old lady in the hospital.


Very little language, but some uses of "s--t" often obscured by battle noise.


There are several toys and products now associated with the "Avengers" and "Captain America" franchise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some bad guys sip champagne during meeting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Captain America: The Winter Soldier -- the second Captain America movie in the Avengers franchise -- is more violent than Cap's first outing. While it focuses more on character and on the themes of military paranoia, it still features heavy fantasy fighting, with shooting, punching, and wince-inducing hand-to-hand combat, as well as some blood and death. Sex isn't an issue, though there's some commentary about Cap's nonexistent dating life, and he shares a strategic kiss with Black Widow. Language is minor, but a few strong words can be somewhat heard during noisy battle sequences. Like the other superhero movies in this series, this one is marketed with toys, games, and other paraphernalia that younger kids might be clamoring for.

What's the story?

Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), finds life in the 21st century challenging. He seems daunted by the prospect of a relationship, but even worse is the fact that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) seems to be sending him on missions without telling him what's really going on. This mistrust is deepened when Cap and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) learn about the existence of an evil organization, HYDRA, planted within S.H.I.E.L.D. itself. Add to that a powerful, mysterious new foe that goes by the name of "The Winter Soldier," plus the fact that Cap has now been put on the most wanted list, makes this a very bad day. Fortunately, Cap has some new help in the form of a Falcon (Anthony Mackie).

Is it any good?


The first movie, Captain America: The First Avenger , looked great, but was somehow lacking in the character department as it unfolded its lengthy, convoluted origin story. The new CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER focuses more on character, which is great, but the brother directors Anthony and Joe Russo -- who take over for Joe Johnston -- are camera-shakers, and the action in this movie is sorely lacking. For some reason, whenever Cap throws his shield or a fist, the camera jerks alongside it, rather than simply following it.

Fortunately, the heart of the movie is still beating. Chris Evans has grown significantly in his role since The Avengers, and he's far more appealing here, going for the same kind of charming, simple quality that Christopher Reeve had in the Superman movies. He's ever so slightly uncertain, and he generates some warm chemistry with his co-stars, especially Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie. If only the movie had a little more downtime to spend with them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is this movie darker than the other superhero movies you've seen? What would be the real-life consequences of the violence in the movie?

  • What sets Captain America apart from other superheroes? How does he compare to Batman? Iron Man? Is he more or less of a "good guy" than those characters?

  • What's the movie's message about freedom and fear? Why is the hero named after America? Could he have just as easily been Captain Argentina? Captain China? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 4, 2014
DVD release date:September 9, 2014
Cast:Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson
Directors:Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Run time:136 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byshrekmaster April 4, 2014

Cap knows it!

The film is amazing! It's a typical Marvel Movie! No blood, all shooting. Know your kids!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator Written byPrairie Teacher April 10, 2014

Way too violent for kids

This film neither feels like a sequel to the Avengers nor like a sequel to the nostalgia-laced first Captain America film. The violence is on par with some of the heaviest R-rated action films of the 90s- just minus the blood. There are at least a dozen hard-hitting hand-to-hand combat scenes which feel far more brutal than any Marvel hero movie to date. There are also a dozen or more scenes with ridiculous gun rampages-- firing real bullets in realistic urban settings. Again, no comic-book gloss here-- it's more like Michael Mann's Heat than a superhero matinee. The film is entertaining, well-scripted, and carefully paced, and will be enjoyed by adult fans of the characters or Marvel universe. And by fans of ultra-violent action. But it seemed like a whole bunch of parents were bringing their 8 and under kids with no regard whatsoever to the nightmare-inducing intensity of the non-stop onslaught of death and destruction. Park the kids in front of a cartoon, or get them to read a comic book, instead of taking them to this murder-fest.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written bylinkland April 5, 2014

Cap Strikes Again!

Captain America:Winter Solider is an action packed movie. It has lots of fighting scenes including lots of shooting, stabbing, fist fights, and choking. There isn't a lot of blood only some. It is funny with some one liners, but is some swearing. The movie showed great role models of being strong and put themselves out there. There is one punching scene at the end of the movie that is pretty brutal. They show Black Widow being a very strong woman in all the scenes she is in. They really explain how the first movie relates. For kids 9 or younger would likely get scared or cry during some of the fighting and sad scenes. There are lots of parts that you don't expect, some you just jump to! Captain America gives a good message that you have to be STRONG! Captain America:Winter Soldier is an AWESOME movie and I highly recommend it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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