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October 30, 2017

Incredible Hulk (2008) --- "Guy Loses Love And Must Work With His Alter Ego To Save The World From An Even Worse Threat."

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Plot Summary
Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him into The Hulk. Cut off from his true love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and forced to hide from his nemesis, Gen. Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Banner soon comes face-to-face with a new threat: a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination (Tim Roth). (1)






Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     By the end of Ang Lee's Hulk (2003), audiences were given the impression that there was going to be a sequel film. Well, 5 years later we get Louise Leterrier’s (Now You See Me, Clash of the Titans) The Incredible Hulk which is more of a reboot film, like Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005), than a sequel. This was a good decision, not because Lee’s Hulk was bad but it wasn’t great enough for a sequel. Of course doing a reboot of a film can be tricky, either you could get it right or you could get it wrong, for example, The Amazing Spider-Man is a good film but it is definitely not better than the original. So if the 2003’s Hulk left you disappointed and green then fear not because The Incredible Hulk has a whole new cast, new method of storytelling, and amazing visuals.

October 27, 2017

Hulk (2003) --- "Guy Uses Pacemaker To Control His Big Green Alter Ego. It Doesn't Work Out So Good."

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Plot Summary
Eric Bana ("Black Hawk Down") stars as scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him in the aftermath of a catastrophic experiment; Jennifer Connelly portrays Betty Ross, whose scientific genius unwittingly helps unleash the Hulk; Nick Nolte plays Banner's brilliant father, who passes on a tragic legacy to his son; and Sam Elliott portrays the commander of a top-secret military research center. (1)








Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     I am not a comic book fan at all mostly because I just never really got into them but I do enjoy the film adaptations of comic books (i.e. MCU and DCEU). Their suits, gadgets/weapons, and/or powers are pretty awesome to see on the big screen. The Hulk is pretty cool because he is virtually indestructible, as seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and yet at the same time Hulk’s story is probably the most tragic of all his powers are more of a curse than a blessing. However, his attempt to dig deep into his own darkness doesn’t actually pan out in Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003), instead, it comes across as unexciting.

October 25, 2017

Iron Man 3 (2013) --- "Guy Has An Identity Crisis When His Girlfriend is Turned Into A Fire Bomb."

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Plot Summary
 Plagued with worry and insomnia since saving New York from destruction, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), now, is more dependent on the suits that give him his Iron Man persona -- so much so that every aspect of his life is affected, including his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). After a malevolent enemy known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) reduces his personal world to rubble, Tony must rely solely on instinct and ingenuity to avenge his losses and protect the people he loves. (1)







Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     It seems like the Marvel films like Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, all follow a similar pattern. The first film is an introduction, origin story where the main character has an awakening and comes into their powers and/or becomes a superhero (like in Iron Man 1 and The First Avenger). Then follows the second film where the hero is now embracing their powers, then they come to a somewhat small personal crisis - Captain America’s past, Iron Man’s health scare, and Thor’s somewhat damaged relationship with Loki – only to face an enemy that may just be their match. And finally, we have the third installment of the trilogy. Here the hero has gone through the hardships of both films and has now come to a new level of maturity only to lose pretty much everything and/or everyone and now they have to build themselves back up. They have to discover who they are without the suit or the shield or the hammer. Despite Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor following a similar pattern this does not make the films any less amazing. It is interesting to see the journey our heroes take, how that journey affects them, and the person they become in the aftermath.

October 23, 2017

Iron Man 2 (2010) --- "Guy Fights An Electrical Whip-Wielding Enemy And Discovers A New Metal To Save His Life."

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Plot Summary
With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy. (1) 







Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Iron Man attracted a lot of attention in 2008 as a large majority of audience members were surprised that the first installment turned out to be a pretty solid film. As a cross between a serious origin story and a comic book comedy, it became clear that topping the sequel would have some pretty big shoes to fill if they wanted to top the first film. Well, Iron Man 2 (2010) does so with a balance of nail-biting tension and witty humor, everything good about the first film was carried over and then amped up in the second film. Picking up where Iron Man (2008) ended, billionaire genius Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.Sherlock Holms) has just revealed his identity as Iron Man to the entire world and now he faces the consequences. Not only is the military and Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell - Moon) a crooked competitor, striving to obtain the secrets of his Iron Man technology Stark also discovers that the very technology keeping him alive could potentially be killing him. As he is trying to have some semblance of a life Stark seems to have met his match with a new villain named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke Sin City), a foreign weapons genius who bears a deep-rooted grudge that has stemmed from the legacy of Tony's father, Howard Stark (John Slattery - Spotlight). Iron Man 2 is far from being darker than the first film and that is refreshing. Of course, there is a bit of tension in the film but for the most part, it is a brisk, cheerful, and inoffensive film that moseys on at a compelling pace with a bit of emotional awkwardness thrown in. This allows the film to give itself the authority to stretch its innocence and the idea that realism does not apply here.

October 20, 2017

Iron Man (2008) --- "Kidnapped Billionaire Forced To Make Bomb Makes An Armored Suit Instead."

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Plot Summary
A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armored suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism. (1)









Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) needed to start producing origin movies for their Avenger characters a long time ago, and luckily in 2008 we were gifted with not one but two origin films; The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man. Filled with the essence of what makes these comic books so popular, Iron Man (2008) is also a well-written origin story, similarly to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). The film is filled with realistic action and adventure, a well paced plot, well developed characters, and a nice mixture of comedy with a touch of drama. The CGI was almost seamless and realistic as it only further enhances the real life Iron Man suit armor rather than create a costume out of nothing. In the trailer, we saw some scenes of Iron Man flying amongst fighter jets and at the time seemed a bit lame but when it all comes together on the big screen the context of those scenes deliver. One aspect that I enjoyed the most out of the film had to be the computer systems that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.Sherlock Holmes) utilizes throughout the franchise. The multiple screens, instant holographic reproductions, and the ability to actually interact with 3D representations is stunning. Despite it being mostly CGI it all looked very realistic , it’s a shame that we have yet to do so in real life.

October 18, 2017

Doctor Strange (2016) --- "Arrogant Doctor Breaks His Hands And Learns How To Do Magic To Save The Universe."

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Plot Summary
Dr. Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence. (1)








Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     The character Doctor Strange, created by Marvel's legendary artist Steve Ditko around the 1960’s, was originally named Mr. Strange but Ditko and Stan Lee decided to change his name. At time people would mistake Mr. Strange with “Mr. Fantastic1” and since there was already a villain named Dr. Strange they choose to spell out the word “Doctor” rather than use the abbreviation. His physical appearance and middle name pay tribute to the 1960’s horror icon Vincent Price, who often played a mystical sorcerer on film. The world of Doctor Strange was inspired by the 1930’s radio program “Chandu the Magician,”2 featuring a secret agent magician who could traverse the astral plane and project illusions. All together this makes Doctor Strange one of the most unique Marvel characters to date and this is refreshing to see: he is not a Norse god, space alien, a product of technological armor nor does he gain his powers from a super serum or through gamma rays.
     The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has developed a knack for bringing back-to life old or unknown origin stories, with Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) dominating the box-office with it's over $800 million boot and Ant-Man (2015) repeating the process a year later,  it is no wonder that Doctor Strange is keeping that record alive. While Doctor Strange maybe the strangest (pun intended) addition to MCU, nevertheless it enjoyable and entertaining to watch with  a thought-provoking story and screenplay, mind-bending CGI, and amazing action.
     Director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) helped provide the script, though this origin story (like most) is a bit rushed, the clever time/world bending and clever screenplay is displayed quite well and the final result is impressive. The whole concept of the film is that was going to strange from start to finish and the screenplay alone will start to bend your mind with all of the thought-provoking ideas you come find. The dialogue is typical of a MCU film with witty humor and sarcastic banter, even when Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch – Star Trek: Into the Darkness) fought the villain – both of them. The CGI is a cross between the magic of Harry Potter and the reality defying, world building of Inception; just half of the CGI alone makes Inception look a rough draft. The action is on par with Captain America: Civil War (2016) and it is amazing to watch a scene with a million pieces moving yet we can still focus on the characters. The pace not flawless as it slows down a bit before the final act, which I think was unnecessary.

     Overall, MCU has a special way in which they produce their movies that allows for some creativity, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Captain America trilogy are proof. The MCU shines again with Doctor Strange as the strangest yet entertaining addition though it is not the BEST Marvel film it is one of the BEST movies of 2016. The cast was wonderfully developed, the action and dialogue were typical of Marvel, and the CGI was a Harry Potter- Inception blend; the later looking like a rough draft in comparison to this film. Also there are two credits scenes that tease future films, one being a possible Doctor Strange sequel. This is a strange world and I believe that anybody will be able to find something they like.



***Marvel Cinematic Universe (In order of how you should watch them)***
Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Untitled Avengers film (2019)
Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel (2019)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)


"It's Strange."
- Dr. Stephen Strange


Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  of 5 star
Worth Buying:  of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Doctor Strange (2016).


Movies Similar 
Ant-Man (2015)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Avengers (2012)
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers 3: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers 4: Untitled film (2019)
Black Panther (2018)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)
Hulk (2003)
Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (2019)
Thor (2011)
Thor: Dark World (2013)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


Cast & Crew
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Produced by 
     Victoria Alonso         ...   executive producer
     Stephen Broussard   ...   executive producer
     Louis D'Esposito       ...   executive producer
     Kevin Feige                ...   producer
     David J. Grant           ...   co-producer
     Stan Lee                     ...   executive producer
     Charles Newirth       ...   executive producer
Cinematography by Ben Davis
Film Editing by Sabrina Plisco and Wyatt Smith
Casting By Sarah Finn and Reg Poerscout-Edgerton           
Production Design by Charles Wood 
Set Decoration by John Bush and Lauri Gaffin
Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne

Cast:
Benedict Cumberbatch         ...        Dr. Stephen Strange
Chiwetel Ejiofor                      ...        Mordo
Rachel McAdams                    ...        Christine Palmer
Benedict Wong                        ...        Wong
Mads Mikkelsen                      ...        Kaecilius
Tilda Swinton                           ...        The Ancient One
Michael Stuhlbarg                  ...        Dr. Nicodemus West
Benjamin Bratt                        ...        Jonathan Pangborn
Scott Adkins                              ...        Lucian / Strong Zealot
Zara Phythian                          ...        Brunette Zealot
Alaa Safi                                     ...        Tall Zealot
Katrina Durden                       ...        Blonde Zealot
Topo Wresniwiro                    ...        Hamir
Umit Ulgen                                ...        Sol Rama
Linda Louise Duan                ...        Tina Minoru
Mark Anthony Brighton       ...        Daniel Drumm
Meera Syal                                 ...        Dr. Patel
Amy Landecker                       ...        Dr. Bruner
Adam Pelta-Pauls                   ...        Nurse Billy
Sarah Malin                              ...        Dr. Garrison
Eben Young                               ...        Dr. Weiss
Ezra Khan                                  ...        Kamar-Taj Librarian 

October 16, 2017

Captain America: Civil War (2016) --- "Guy's Friend Is Framed For Murder And Starts A Civil War. Find Out Whoes Side Your On."

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Plot Summary
Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side. 







Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     The First Avenger (2011) was a fun origin movie that gives us an inside view as to why Captain America has such high ethics and moral values. The Winter Soldier (2014) was even better as it took on a much bigger, bolder, and darker approach to our patriotic character. Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the third installment and while it is better than the first film, in comparison to Winter Soldier the two films are on equal level. This time around the Marvel Universe does get a whole lot tenser in Civil War so be prepared for one of Marvel’s biggest showdowns between colleagues/friends. The film starts off where Avengers: Age of Ultron ended, when politics begin entering their midst the Avenger are now asked to sign an agreement, which would put them under control of the U.N. In other words, they have two choices, sign the agreement or be considered a rogue organization/terrorist group. This results in the team fracturing into two sides, one led by Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) – who wants to sign the agreement – and another led by Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) – who does not. However with a new threat is on the horizon, the team now has to face the repercussions of their brawls.

October 13, 2017

Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) --- "Past Mistakes Come Back To Haunt This Genetically Enhanced Super Soldier."

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Plot Summary
 After the cataclysmic events in New York with his fellow Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), lives in the nation's capital as he tries to adjust to modern times. An attack on a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague throws Rogers into a web of intrigue that places the whole world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a new ally, the Falcon, Rogers struggles to expose an ever-widening conspiracy, but he and his team soon come up against an unexpected enemy. 






Review
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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Now The Winter Soldier is everything a Captain America movie should be. While it maintains some of the humor that now has become the trademark of the Marvel franchise, it is way more serious than the other Marvel films. This is very different from the majority of superhero films out today. The plot, while not the most original it has a certain tone that allows for the film to be much more different from its predecessors. There are some scenes centered are political fear and information manipulation but it still remains entertaining without feeling like the film is too egotistical. The action in The Winter’s Soldier sets the bar at an all-time high for Marvel films and it is truly amazing that the film was directed by two directors, despite being brothers. One aspect is the new ways in which to use Captain America’s (Chris EvansFantastic Four, Marvel films ) shield, through the use of varied and rapid choreography for the actor we finally get to see the shield’s true potential. In addition, the encounters with the Winter Soldier never feel repetitive, and I feel like we learn something new every single time. With impressive and real stunt work, fights and a pleasant sight of non-superhero (the Avengers colleagues) duels this new set of characters rely solely on instincts and bullets, similarly to wild west gun fights/shootouts.
     The introduction of a few new character does not deter from some long time characters – a visit to a much older Peggy Carter (Hayley AtwellCinderella, Marvel films), Bucky Barns/Winter Soldier (Sebastian StanThe Martian, Marvel films) memory flashbacks, and a small cameo from Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett JohanssonLucy, Ghost in the Shell). This in tuner brings the viewers closer to the character by allowing for more characterization and logical time usage. At first, Evan’s character came out to be one of the least interesting Avengers, mostly due to his black and white view on things. Here we start to see a change, a growth, a maturity in his character. Here he still views people as black or white, good or bad but now he is starting to see some mixtures of greys. This reminds me of a famous character from literature, Achilles. In the Iliad Achilles, who is one of the many Greek kings, very many views the world as either black or white; good or evil, friend or foe. He sees his cousin Patroclus as his ally and friend, while Hector, the crown prince of Troy, is his enemy and if you’re his enemy you are considered to be pure evil. Many of you know or have heard the story from the 2004 film adaption, Troy, so I won’t explain all the details. But in the end, Achilles kills Hector in single combat. It is only until after Hector is dead and his father, King Priam, comes to beg for his son’s body, that Achilles comes to realization that Hector was not as evil as he thought. Sure, they were on two different sides of a war but Hector was without a doubt a good man; a good prince, a good soldier, a good son, a good husband, etc. We start to see this happen to Captain America both in The Winter Solder (2014) and in Civil War (2016). The rest of the cast is exemplary with enough and necessary dialogue to fill their scenes. Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War) plays Falcon with enough believability that makes for a great supporting character rather than your comedic and sometimes wimpy sidekick. Shaw as the Winter Soldier manages to add some menace to an otherwise light-hearted franchise, and he does all of this mainly through his eyes rather than dialogue. 
     Overall, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is game changer in the Marvel Universe/franchise. Marvel films are famous for their vivid, amusing and not-so-serious storytelling with catchy and witty dialogues between Alpha male/female characters. However, the Winter Soldier is way more serious with a much darker plot and more close-range hand-to-hand combat. This is not the typical superhero film audiences expected but is instead it is a conspiracy and espionage thriller with characters who happen to have some special abilities. Now is this film flawless? Not exactly, nothings perfect but it does show how much time and thought the directors, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, took in regards to the plot and how to bring that story to life. Civil War (2016) has some big shoes to film.




***Marvel Cinematic Universe (In order of how you should watch them)***
Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Untitled Avengers film (2019)
Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel (2019)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)


"On your left."
- Steve Rogers


Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4.5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  4.5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014).


Movies Similar 
Ant-Man (2015)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Avengers (2012)
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (2015)
Avengers 3: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers 4: Untitled film (2019)
Black Panther (2018)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (TBA)
Hulk (2003)
Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (2019)
Thor (2011)
Thor: Dark World (2013)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)


Cast & Crew
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.
Produced by 
     Victoria Alonso         ---   executive producer
     Mitchell Bell              ---   associate producer
     Louis D'Esposito       ---   executive producer
     Kevin Feige                ---   producer
     Alan Fine                   ---   executive producer
     Michael Grillo           ---   executive producer
     Stan Lee                     ---   executive producer
     Nate Moore                ---   co-producer
     Lars P. Winther        ---   associate producer
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography by Trent Opaloch
Film Editing by Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt.
Casting By Sarah Finn
Production Design by Peter Wenham
Set Decoration by Leslie Pope
Costume Design by Judianna Makovsky
Cast:
Chris Evans                                  ---     Steve Rogers / Captain America
Samuel L. Jackson                    ---     Nick Fury
Scarlett Johansson                   ---     Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Robert Redford                          ---     Alexander Pierce
Sebastian Stan                            ---     Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie                         ---     Sam Wilson / Falcon
Cobie Smulders                          ---     Maria Hill
Frank Grillo                                 ---     Brock Rumlow
Maximiliano Hern├índez        ---     Jasper Sitwell
Emily VanCamp                         ---     Kate / Agent 13
Hayley Atwell                              ---     Peggy Carter
Toby Jones                                   ---     Dr. Arnim Zola
Stan Lee                                         ---     Smithsonian Guard
Callan Mulvey                             ---     Jack Rollins
Georges St-Pierre                       ---     Georges Batroc
Branka Katic                               ---     Renata
Angela Russo-Otstot                 ---     Garcia
Jon Sklaroff                                 ---     Charlie XO
Chad Todhunter                         ---     Charlie Weapons Tech
Steven Culp                                  ---     Scudder
Derek Hughes                             ---     Human Resources Executive
Robert Clotworthy                     ---     Fury Car (voice)
June Christopher            ---        SHIELD Computer (voice)