Captain America: The Winter Soldier was an amazing movie. In a brilliant stroke of genius, directors Joe and Anthony Russo brought Steve Rogers into the 21st century world of constant surveillance and covert espionage. The film dealt with a lot of big ticket issues relevant to the modern world, and it was an excellent character piece, focusing on the titular Captain America and Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow. It was important for the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, because it introduced the biggest twist and status quo change for the story universe up until that point: the revelation that Hydra, the evil Nazi organization Captain America fought against during WWII, never really died. Instead, it ingrained itself into the inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D., and now it was ready to strike again. Ever since The Winter Soldier, Hydra has been the go-to evil organization for Marvel movies and television shows.
Of course, The Winter Soldier is not perfect. There are a large number of mistakes in the movie that mess with the continuity or logic of the story, and have the potential to bring audiences out of immersion. Some of the mistakes are small and relatively forgivable, while others will have you wondering how the filmmakers didn’t catch them. Were they even paying attention at all? Check out this list of mistakes in The Winter Soldier, including the simplest mistakes and the unforgivable ones that could have ruined the movie for all Marvel fans.
10 Bucky’s Birthday
When Steve goes to the museum displaying an exhibit about Captain America, there is a display all about Bucky Barnes. At the top of his biography, it says he was born in 1916, but at the bottom of the biography, it says he was born in 1917. It is a simple mistake to make on the part of the prop designers, but it seems like one that should not have been overlooked. For the purpose of the story, it doesn’t actually matter what year Bucky Barnes was born in, but it is a bit jarring to see that the filmmakers aren’t even sure. This seems like a mistake that could have even been fixed in post-production, if anyone on the editing team had caught it. They should have been paying more attention, because the date listed as Bucky’s date of death is also problematic, which leads us to number 9…
9 When Was Zola Captured?
When Steve and Natasha break into the secret Hydra facility that houses Arnim Zola’s computer consciousness, Zola claims that Captain America took him prisoner in 1945. However, in the first Captain America film, Cap takes Zola prisoner the same day that Bucky Barnes dies (or at least everyone thinks he died). However, on Bucky’s biography in the museum, his date of death is listed as 1944. Which is it, 1944 or 1945? Again, details like this don’t necessarily interrupt the narrative at all, but it could be a big deal, considering the historical background of that time. A lot of things happened in 1944 and 1945, so the exact timing of both Bucky’s death and Zola’s capture is important. For example, Hitler died in 1945, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed in 1945. Obviously real historical events were not depicted in Captain America, but they were used as the backdrop for the story.
8 Steve and Natasha’s Miraculous Escape
When Zola’s facility is bombed with Steve and Natasha still inside, Steve is able to pull both of them out of the rubble with incredible ease. In fact, it seems like the only thing that fell on them was a single huge slab of concrete. It would have been enough to pin down a normal man for good, but Captain America was able to muscle it off. Still, it seems odd that they weren’t buried in a lot more rubble. They took an elevator deep underground to get to the room harboring Zola’s computer consciousness, and the explosion was powerful enough to cave that room in, so it seems like all the levels above it would also have caved in, crashing down on each other. Steve and Natasha should be buried under so much rubble that escape would be impossible without a team of experts excavating them. Of course, that would have derailed the plot significantly. Oh well, movie magic!
7 The Winter Soldier Project Continuity Problem
In flashbacks, we see Bucky’s first operations, turning him into The Winter Soldier. Arnim Zola is there, operating on him. Zola seems to be the mastermind of the operation. However, Zola was captured on the same day that Bucky “died,” so he couldn’t have possibly been involved in the operation, unless Bucky was put on ice for a long while before being made into the Winter Soldier. We know that Arnim Zola was eventually allowed to join S.H.I.E.L.D., where he secretly grew the Hydra ranks from within, but surely no one in S.H.I.E.L.D. would have allowed him out of his jail cell in the days or months following his capture, much less put him in charge of a secret super soldier program. The only explanation for this is that Bucky’s body was found by Hydra and put in stasis for years until S.H.I.E.L.D. trusted Zola enough to give him free reign and begin working on the Winter Soldier project.
6 Captain America Doesn't Need To Jog
When Steve Rogers gets the super soldier serum in Captain America: The First Avenger, he goes from being a tiny little stick of a sickly kid into prime condition Chris Evans with superhuman strength, regeneration, and reflexes. He didn’t have to train to get those muscles - they just appeared as if by magic. It seems like the rules of his powers are that he just stays in top physical shape at all times due to the super soldier serum in his bloodstream. It speeds up his metabolism and gives him enhanced strength. So why would he need to go jogging? It’s possible that he just likes to jog - maybe it makes him feel normal, and he likes seeing the sights of Washington D.C. in the early morning before everyone is out. The jogging scene at the beginning of the movie is certainly fun, and it gives the audience an idea about the personalities of Sam and Steve and the dynamic of their relationship, but it doesn’t really make sense.
5 The Magic S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers
In the film, Nick Fury explains the new Helicarriers’ capabilities, saying that “the satellites can read a terrorist’s DNA before he steps outside his spider hole.” Is this satellite somehow acquiring DNA magically through aerial photography? How exactly does that work? Later in the film, we see the helicarriers at work, identifying people from the sky, complete with detailed info about them (and presumably their DNA). Either the helicarriers can acquire DNA from unsuspecting victims via satellite (which makes no sense), or S.H.I.E.L.D. already has a complete database of every single person on Earth, matched with their DNA (which makes even less sense). Yes, this is essentially a science fiction film, and the technology in it is supposed to be amazingly high tech, but the omnipotence of the new helicarriers is really just unbelievable, especially because The Winter Soldier presents itself as the most “grounded” film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
4 Steve Isn't Spotted At His Own Museum
When Steve goes to the museum exhibit that is all about him, only one boy recognizes him at all. He’s not even covering his face, he just put a baseball cap on his head. Most people probably haven’t seen Captain America up close so they might not recognize his face, except for the fact that they are standing in a museum exhibit that literally has huge pictures of his face everywhere. Is Captain America like Superman? Take off the costume and put on the simplest disguise imaginable, and no one will recognize you! This isn’t the worst mistake of the film by a long shot - it isn’t that unreasonable to suggest that people don’t really pay attention to their surroundings, ever - but it is a little strange. Steve could really use some lessons on travelling incognito. Good thing he’s best friends with Black Widow, the super spy.
3 Pointless Peggy Carter Scene
In a scene that felt like too little, too late, Steve goes to see Peggy Carter on her deathbed. Peggy Carter is a great character, but this is easily her weakest scene. It seems like the filmmakers were trying to say that even though Steve and Peggy will never have that dance he promised her, she wants him to move on with his life, and not be held back by the past. It kind've makes sense, but it is awkward and feels out of place. It seems like a much stronger scene would have been one where he visited her grave and mourned her loss. Instead, the scene ends with Peggy forgetting who Steve is in some kind of dementia episode. Suffice to say, this scene really needed to be cut, as it added nothing to the movie, and was just confusing. I’m all for the Agent Carter television show about Peggy in her heyday, but we really don’t need any more old Carter scenes in Marvel movies.
2 Natasha’s Disguise
Near the end of the film, we see what appeared to be an older woman kicking ass and confronting Robert Redford’s character. It was such a cool scene, and it was awesome to see this surprise new character who was getting older but still knew how to fight. But we were all fooled, because it was just Natasha wearing a Mission Impossible style mask, disguised as that woman. That was way less cool and honestly pretty boring. And why aren’t all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (let alone members of Hydra) using that awesome technology for all sorts of espionage? It certainly seems like that tech was introduced purely for this dumb reveal, which gives Natasha something to do during the film’s climax. I would have much rather had a scene where that old lady really was a bad-ass, and she helped save the day.
1 Where Are The Avengers?
Captain America is a dude with a lot of friends. Sure, he can’t trust anyone over at S.H.I.E.L.D., but he trusts Black Widow, and she is easily the least trustworthy member of the Avengers. When Steve is in trouble, he shouldn’t be operating on his own. Eventually he calls in the help of Sam Wilson, Maria Hill, and Natasha Romanov, but what about the other Avengers? Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Thor, and Clint Barton are all phone calls he should have made before trying to take down Hydra by himself. Even though Iron Man is a huge jerk, he and Steve are friends, and he definitely has the resources and know-how to fight a technologically-based threat like the new helicarriers. The fact that The Winter Soldier is a Captain America solo movie is hardly a valid reason, either. Next year’s Captain America: Civil War is going to have every single Avenger in it except for Thor and Hulk.