5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Sequel to: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Another superhero sequel that overshadowed the original came as part of the MCU, partly because the two films quite simply could hardly be more different. Captain America: The First Avenger introduced Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, serving as the iconic hero’s origin story for the MCU set during World War II. However, after the events of the film, he’s frozen and awakes in the present day, where he fights to stop Loki and the Chitauri in The Avengers. The second Captain America movie is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it stands out as far better than the original.
Establishing Black Widow and Captain America as a duo while also introducing Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, The Winter Soldier pits the Star-Spangled Man against his former friend, Bucky Barnes. Where the first film saw Captain America face the Red Skull, the second opted for a more personal approach to its stakes. The world was still in danger (because it’s the MCU, what else?) but for Rogers, loyalty and friendship also came into the equation, making it a far more emotionally complex film than its predecessor.
The resulting film is one of the MCU’s best. It’s perhaps the most significant part of Captain America’s MCU story: it’s where he first begins to truly assess his own nature and weigh his heroic responsibility against doing what’s ultimately right. Not only does it perfectly continue Captain America’s story, but it introduces new and interesting elements to the character and to the franchise in general, making it a far superior film to the original.