I found out that the Russo brothers from Arrested Development directed Captain America, so I decided to give it a chance and see it today. I didn't bother to pay for the 3D version, though. It was pretty good, though nobody ever explained why the guy was called "The Winter Soldier" instead of "Hand of Hydra" or whatever the Nazi scientist said when working on him. Also, was his metal arm part of increasing his speed and strength, or was it because he was badly wounded when they found him? Oh well. Maybe it will be explained later.
Black Widow was still badass and had some satisfying character development. She mildly flirted with Steve a couple of times, but not seriously, and the Falcon guy liked her without anything evolving into a dumb love triangle. Natasha kept wanting to set Steve up with people, too, so that's good. I like their working relationship as comrades, sort of like what he had with his squad in the World War II. They also got to discuss how Black Widow was stunned by losing Nick Fury and by finding out that Hydra was controlling S.H.I.E.L.D. from within. It made her question her life and career, bringing back her guilty conscience and demons from all her false cover identities. I hope she'll get a standalone movie eventually, so there can be more fleshing out beyond her generic assassin past.
There were other strong women in the movie like Maria Hill, and what's her name the nurse/undercover Shield agent. I'm also glad that Steve Rogers got to have a scene visiting his former love after all these years apart. I hear that Marvel may make a TV show about Agent Carter back when she worked with Howard Stark. If they do, I hope they have different show-runners than the hacks on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Or maybe it could be one of those special Netflix-only shows, so we can binge-watch and decide quickly if the show is frustrating and terrible. No more whiny Skye characters, please!
Anyway, back to the movie. For a moment I thought that the Security Council woman played by Jenny Agutter was a secret agent too, and I thought what a change of pace this must be from Call the Midwife, but then we learned that it was just Black Widow in disguise. They got me. I'm happy that this was a more diverse cast than in The Avengers, and that Captain America's speech motivated the rank-and-file Shield agents to fight as well. See, that was the kind of stuff I wanted with Coulson's TV team. Competent people working together to save people, not amateur misfits stumbling around the world and obsessing over childhood abandonment and trust issues.
In the film, I did find the car chases and the heavy gunfire/battles on city streets rather shocking and gratuitous; open assassination attempts in broad daylight, not expecting any bystander to record video of it on their phone or tweet about it? Wasn't "the Battle in New York" heavily witnessed by ordinary citizens, and yet Hydra thinks they can do their dirty work in public and only worry about a mainstream news helicopter filming them? It's like too much of "civilians threatened" especially when the Insight plot was revealed. But at least the method of battling the conspiracy was fairly straightforward and we weren't stuck with needless obstacles once the mission went into motion.
I'm not sure how I feel about Black Widow being defiant at the Congressional hearing and saying that "we" (presumably her and the Shield agents) were most qualified to clean up the Hydra mess. Um, I don't think so, and Captain America said that Shield was too poisoned to fix and salvage. (I thought of how Nikita mistakenly thought she could remake Division without her team getting corrupted.) Still, I guess it was Black Widow owning her past and not feeling bad that she made this sacrifice for the sake of exposing Hydra to the world. Overall, the film's pace was quick, and I liked it enough to continue with the next Avengers movie. But I sure ain't watching the Shield TV show again, no matter how it relates to The Winter Soldier's events. Skye would find some way to make the "death" of Fury and the collapse of Shield all about her.