Battle Of The Movies: Captain America: The Winter Soldier vs Guardians Of The Galaxy (Spoiler Free)

Time to kick back and put on your favourite superhero pajamas! It’s the battle of Marvel Studios’ blockbusters Captain America: The Winter Soldier versus Guardians Of The Galaxy. After going head to head in several categories such as Story, Characters and Overall Awesomeness, we’ll turn the floor over to the all important people’s decision (that’s you!) for your pick for the best Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two movie of the year.


 Story

Captain America: The Winter Soldier avoids the trappings of a mindless spectacle of fights and explosions because at its core it’s a clever espionage thriller wrapped up in superhero awesomeness. As with many great spy-genre movies, a lot of tension comes from not knowing who to trust. Trust, loyalty and betrayal are big themes which are explored on the personal and political front. Because Captain America is more grounded in the real world, it’s easier to make a connection to the broader ideas of the film, in particular to people’s trust/distrust in their government. Story wise, the rug gets pulled out from under the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a spectacular manner and it’ll have lasting implications in future movies.

Only several months after The Winter Soldier hit theatres Marvel Studios premiered Guardians Of The Galaxy. If you’re not familiar with this movie, check out Guardians Of The Galaxy: Everything You Need To Know for the synopsis and why Marvel is expanding into the cosmic universe. It’s a compliment to say that Guardians feels less like a typical comic book movie and more like a Star Wars meets Indiana Jones type of sci-fi action adventure film on steroids. The story shares a common thread with Marvel’s Avengers, it’s essentially about larger than life individuals who butt heads before coming together as a team although there’s nothing generic about Guardians. Director James Gunn’s vision is bold, lots of fun and manic.  Buckle in your seatbelts because the story quickly immerses you in another galaxy, far far away, yet it’s the same universe inhabited by Captain America. Driving the story is the macguffin but what’s makes the movie entertaining are the likeable characters and how dangerous situations are subverted with humour.

Sidekick’s Favourite Story: Captain America: The Winter Soldier


 Characters

It’s the battle of the abs between Chris Evans (Captain America aka Steve Rogers) and Chris Pratt (Star Lord aka Peter Quill)! Star Lord is an 80’s child in love with 70’s music while Captain America is a World War II veteran who has ‘listening to Nirvana’ on his to-do list.  As much as both characters have adapted to their current time & space, they still don’t quite fit in which leads to some funny fish out-of-water humour.

Before Steve Rogers got his super powers he already had the true heart of a hero. On the other hand, Peter Quill doesn’t have super powers that we know of.  When we first meet Quill, he’s a selfish, brash rogue; basically a petty thief who’ll blast his phaser gun on an already unconscious enemy just for the hell of it (love that about him!). Chris Pratt is perfectly cast. His comedic timing is spot on and he has an inherent likeability that he infuses into Star Lord.  While Quill may have a more overt character arc than Rogers, both must make tough choices, testing their principles in the process.  In terms of jaw-dropping kick ass moments though, Captain America comes out on top. Chris Evans delivers a strong performance, he totally embodies Captain America’s wholesome sense of honour.

Friends for many years, the on-screen chemistry between Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson is instant and natural. Black Widow plays off of Captain America very well and some of the best dialogue in the movie is the interplay between these two. The supporting characters in Guardians who stand out the most are tree-like humanoid Groot and gun-toting Rocket Raccoon. Groot’s abilities are incredibly inventive and so much of Rocket’s personality comes through. He’s a unique MCU character who happens to be completely CGI.

A less than stellar aspect of Guardians is in the three main adversaries: Ronan, Nebula & Korath. The actors are good in their respective roles but they lack substantial development to be considered as compelling, big-time villains. Without giving anything away, the dynamic between Captain America and The Winter Soldier is fantastic and pays off in a meaningful way. Whenever Winter Soldier comes on-screen the intensity goes up a few notches.

Sidekick’s Favourite Lead Character: close call but it’s Captain America

Sidekick’s Favourite Villain: Winter Soldier


Overall Awesomeness

captain_america_the_winter_soldier-wide

Guardians Of The Galaxy is a non-stop entertaining movie. It has an impressive fun factor and is great for the whole family to enjoy. Considering that Guardians has to introduce a brand new cast of characters, establish the cosmic universe and sell the idea of these unlikely misfits coming together, it’s understandable that the story itself lacks complexity. A strong reoccurring motif is how the characters learn to put others before themselves and work together. For the most part, the team chemistry is very good but their bond feels rushed at times.

An element that keeps Guardians from achieving excellence are the sentimental moments which don’t have enough breathing room to fully resonate.  Further, the villains posed a viable threat but unfortunately aren’t very memorable.  Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, the retro soundtrack helps establish the tone for an up-tempo sci-fi romp and has a personal connection to Star Lord. In addition to the strong character interactions, where Guardians shines are the self-deprecating /quirky comedic bits along with the fun-spirited, high-octane reckless sense of adventure.

Building upon Captain America: The First Avenger, the sequel improves on every aspect from the action, story and character defining moments. Like his origin story in the First Avenger, the Winter Soldier excels at making Steve Rogers the heart and soul of the movie.

Captain America might not have the most flashy personality but this film does a great job at highlighting his best traits. Characters that have a contradiction in their nature tend to be interesting like how Star Lord is a space cowboy with both a good heart and a bad boy vibe. For Rogers, he has a very clear belief of what is right and wrong, so had the script tried to add dimension by contradicting his morality it wouldn’t have felt true to the character. What makes Rogers compelling in this movie is how he’s a straight as an arrow soldier navigating the spy world. A world where there is a lot of deception, mysteries to unravel, his closest allies are keeping secrets and his enemies are not clear-cut.

Although The Winter Soldier doesn’t have the level of fun and break neck pace of Guardians of the Galaxy, the story has more layers, surprises and the film’s themes are timely. Visually, both movies are top-notch though the 3D effects in Guardians gets the edge. The physical confrontations between Captain America and The Winter Soldier are riveting close quarters combat, superior to the fight choreography in Guardians which is good too.

Marvel Studios put out two worthy movies this year. Differences aside, both have a strong understanding of their comic book property and Marvel chose the right approach for each.

Sidekick’s Overall Favourite: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Now the Battle Of The Movies continues with Your Opinion:

There’s lots of love for both movies. Share your thoughts and if you happen to have a favourite let us know.

Do you think Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Guardians Of The Galaxy is the better movie? Which of these two movies has the best lead character? How do you rank your top Marvel Studio movies now?

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on August 4, 2014, in Comics, Movies, Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 58 Comments.

  1. I haven’t seen Guardians yet but I wasn’t really impressed with The Winter Soldier. Maybe I need to see it again as I was pretty drunk the first time

    • That’s a good way to do it!!!

    • Guardians is fun and doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s quite different from TWS. For the first Captain America movie I wasn’t that impressed but I appreciated it a lot more on my second go around. Yeah, maybe it’s worth seeing TWS again now that it’s out on video.

  2. Great post! Right now these are actually my two favorite movies of the year, with Captain America slightly in the lead. It’s great to see two very strong but also very different Marvel Studios films this year.

    • Great to hear how much you enjoy these movies, I enjoy them a lot too! It’ll be interesting to see how I feel about these movies at the end of the year and where I’d rank them among the best of 2014. I totally agree that these are very different movies made by the same studio. I also like how they different from the other Marvel properties.

  3. Oh, that’s a tough one! I really like Winter Soldier, and loved how it was even better than the first Captain America (It is always awesome when movies improve instead of get worse) but I would have to say Guardians of the Galaxy wins out for me. Only because I am a sucker for great characters and comedy and Guardians has that and more. I agree with all of your points on the Winter Soldier though, they kept very true to the character throughout the film which I thought was very impressive.

    • It is a tough one isn’t? 🙂 Sequels can be tricky and I think Winter Soldier is very rewatchable. I also liked how the movie stayed true to Captain America. And his super powers might not appear to be that exciting yet the movie showed off how awesome he can be. The tone and sense of humour worked really well in Guardians. Considering it had a talking raccoon it was a good choice not to try to do a serious, hard core sci-fi film. The characters are so much fun. Great to get your thoughts on these movies!

      • Oh I so wish there was a sequel out to guardians of the galaxy already…the banter between the characters was so very entertaining and I want more of it 🙂

        • I heard the director stated working on the sequel this past weekend already 🙂 .. it’ll be a while though before it’s out. The banter is terrific, some of my favorite scenes are just the team talking!

  4. Great read man, I really love you comparing these strong films with each other. It’s pretty funny actually. Neither of these films elicited the greatest response out of me. I look at them individually as fairly entertaining films, with GotG adhering more to formula than TWS did. I thought the Winter Soldier was kind of bland b/c I didn’t grow up reading Captain America, so I couldn’t get into his character much. I appreciated the crap out of how realistic they made it and how accurate the fight sequences were. The fall-out between Steve and Bucky actually struck a nerve with me, as well. Despite my detachment to the comic.

    With Guardians, I sensed this incredible wave of false congratulatory praise where everyone — literally everyone would watch it and love it. It didn’t matter how obscure the source material was. In principle, I’m just thinking it’s odd how crazy the popularity of GotG will jump in roughly 2 weeks when I think, truthfully, Captain America is a better-made movie (not necessarily adaptation, but movie).

    • Thanks for reading the post man! I love hearing all the diverse thoughts on these movies. I also think TWS is a better constructed movie. Captain America isn’t my fave Avenger but I’m growing to appreciate him more. I like how it was a continuation of Caps journey and it was a good idea to pair him up with Black Widow. I haven’t read the comics, I’m pretty interested where this will go as it looks like the Winter Soldier story will continue.
      The love for GotG has been interesting to keep tabs on. It’s going through a honeymoon phase at the moment, I think the real test or measuring stick is how the movie will hold up over time.

  5. I prefered Guardians of the Galaxy because it was more fun and was not afraid to be a bit different.

  6. Brilliant post. I really enjoyed The Winter Soldier, it had a great storyline, and the effects were stunning. I also enjoyed seeing Guardians of the Galaxy as well, that was a really fun and exciting film. These two Marvel movies are my fave movies this summer, think TWS just wins overall for me though 😀

    • Thanks a lot! TWS’s storyline is great and I liked how it affected the Agents Of SHIELD tv show. Those are two great choices for your fave movies this summer! Totally agree, GotG is really fun and I’m excited that the sequel was already confirmed. 🙂

      • It was great how TWS influenced the Agents of SHIELD tv show as well. I’m really glad that a GOTG sequel has already been confirmed as well. Two great summer films. I went and saw TWS again when it first came out so I think I’ll probably go see GOTG again as well as I enjoyed it so much 😀

  7. Great commentary!

    I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, so I can’t compare the two. I can say that Winter Soldier is one of my favorite movies this year, at least so far, and so I seriously Guardians will top it. But you never know.

  8. I have trouble ranking the Marvel movies against one another because I go to them looking for different things. I think I’d have to go with Guardians here, because I’ll probably rewatch it more often. I’ll still watch Winter Soldier a lot, but probably not anywhere near as frequently.

    • The number of times I’ve rewatched a movie or TV show is a good indication how much I like it. It’s be interesting to see if TWS or GoTG can top the number of times I’ve watched Avengers. 🙂

  9. For me it’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the winner, hands down! It’s not only entertaining but it has more than just frivolous good fun to leave a lasting impression. Like you said, Cap’s story has more layers, surprises and the film’s themes are timely. In the end, I think that’ll stick in the mind way more than Guardians would. That’s why I’m so surprised how some people call it Marvel’s best. Hardly.

    • Yeah another vote for TWS! As much fun is GotG, TWS’s story has more to offer and substance on top of the entertainment. I enjoyed the hell out of GotG though, the cast of characters are more endearing and I like that kind of humour. I still think Avengers is my choice as the Marvel movie to beat. 🙂

  10. You don’t want to make this easy on me do you? Having me choose between the two? Well here is my quick rundown:

    Best Lead Character: Captain America
    Best Overall Cast: Guardians of the Galaxy
    Best Story: Captain America
    Best Music: Guardians of the Galaxy
    Best Fight Scenes: Captain America
    Best Villains: Guardians of the Galaxy

    Oh look its a tie… Let’s just say the real winner is anyone who enjoys a good movie. 🙂

    Great feature, by the way.

    • Haha, I’m listening to Awesome Mix Vol. 1 as I write this! So true about the real winner. Fans are going to be enjoying and rewatching these movies for a long time to come! Thanks and great to get your rundown on the movies, I’m always curious about what other fans are thinking. 🙂

  11. This is a tough one. Winter Soldier is darker and more serious while Guardians of the Galaxy is more fun. They both have good stories, a solid cast and feel faithful to the comics. Hmm … can’t we all just agree that they’re both leagues better than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and leave it at that? Because it’s been a wonderful year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    • Totally agree it’s been a wonderful year for MCU. Both of their movies, as different as they are, hit it out of the park. Thanks so much for checking out the blog. It was fun to write about these movies and to connect with other fans!

  12. Good day to you sir, I was wondering when someone was gonna do something like this. Me and a friend were talking about this very subject yesterday and it was pretty hard to decide for me whether I liked Cap or Guardians more. Cap 2 had genuine surprise and layers to its story, insanely sexy fight choreography and was MILES better than The First Avenger (which I still believe is one of the weaker Marvel Studios films). But then there’s Guardians which is full of humour, has the most out-of-the-box attitude, a wonderful cast of characters, a good sense of wonder and a beautiful soundtrack!

    I loved Cap 2 because it was so close to reality and had a lot of great elements that I love in action thriller films. But GotG was just weird, insane and totally hilarious, it was pure sci-fi and had some really beautiful and emotional moments alongside the humour. It was a gamble that really payed off. Annoyingly I have seen both films twice, but I feel like I’d have to see them both again before passing judgement.

    If I had to make a decision I would say that in the back of my mind Cap 2 still has my heart just because it had the thriller elements and badass fight choreography. That being said I still LOVE GotG though, that film just has such a fresh perspective in the MCU that it is hard to ignore.

    • Good day to you too sir! 🙂 For me after I watch a movie, I sometimes start thinking how it compared with other similar movies. So as a fan of both movies it felt natural to write about them in a fun, laidback way.

      I like how you pinpointed the strengths of each movie perfectly. Maybe I should have co-written this post with you haha! I also thought Cap 2 was a huge improvement over the first movie. Like you said, GotG was gamble that really payed off. It may be easy to look back and think GotG had the makings of a sure fire hit but it was a huge risk for Marvel.

      GotG has a great mix of everything that makes for a crowd pleasing summer blockbuster. At the same time, it feels fresh and is made with passion. In TWS, the story, the thrills and all the fantastic Captain America moments leaves a lasting impression on me.

  13. Guardians came close, but Captain America: The Winter Soldier is still number one in my book. Don’t see any other movie coming out this year that will even remotely come close to knocking off Cap and Guardians as the #1 and #2 movies of the year.

  14. Great Post!
    Let’s see: both were highly entertaining; CA:WS had the Best Action, GotG had the Best Music; th WS was a more menacing Bad Guy than er… th 1 from GotG;
    Rocket Raccoon beats anyone from CA:WS for Best Lines, Personality, Looks etc.!
    Call it a Draw: we r lucky to have 2 worthy Blockbusters here!
    Speaking of Rocket, u might like to take a look @ this:
    http://bradscribe.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/life-and-crimes-of-rocket-raccoon/
    Cheers!

  15. Winter Soldier! Loved Guardians of the Galaxy and I’m a huge fan of the movie and the comic series it’s based on. My biggest gripes was the background story on Drax could have been allot more interesting and what we got was damn weird. No biggie and that aside awesome flick but Winter Soldier just felt like a more complete experience somehow.

    • Thanks so much for checking out the blog! Yeah you’re right, there’s more to Drax’s origin story if they decide to take from the comic book history. I would have to agree that TWS is the complete experience for me too.

  16. I liked TWS and Guardians (Guardians was a pretty good first outing. Dare a say second to Iron Man if we are ONLY rating first outings) a lot. Looking forward to their sequels.

    • Oh man I can only imagine how potentially awesome the Guardians sequel can be. It’ll be nice to return to those characters and see what craziness they’ll get themselves into next. Totally agree, as a first outing it was pretty good! Thanks so much for commenting and stopping by!

      • Yesssss. So much awesomeness in store. I personally hope that we get to learn more about Gamora and Drax, as I think their backgrounds/characterizations were a wee bit thin in their first outing. And no problem! It’s been long overdue, lol. You have been so encouraging with your likes on my own blog.

        • Yeah I hope to get more characterization with Gamora and Drax in the sequel too. Now that the Guardians’ team origin story is set up there’ll probably be more background stuff on the individual members next time around. Always good to find other blogs I really like!

  17. Now that I have watched Guardians…. I will go with Cap America. I love Guardians and probably will watch it again and again; but Cap America is a better made film 🙂

  18. Nice post. I haven’t seen either one yet, but I’ll definitely be thinking about what you’ve written when I do get around to watching these. Something tells me I’ll like “Guardians” better, but I’m going in with a bias. I think Captain America is kind of a stupid character. lol

    • Thanks Brik! I’d be interested in your thoughts on these movies when you get around to it. Guardians is all about having fun and not taking itself too serious. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Cap America at first, but this sequel is really great in my opinion. 🙂

  19. Great post! I think Guardians of the Galaxy was more fun but Captain America: The Winter Soldier had a better story and was a better movie overall. Marvel is doing such a great job with the MCU, after these two movies I can’t wait for Age of Ultron. It’s going to be amazing!

  20. Awesome analysis! Both were impressive but I was amazed with TWS, in part because of reasons you mentioned. Guardians is so different enough though that it deserves a view for this fact alone, and because it is a pretty good blockbuster.

    • I also really liked how Guardians is different from the other Marvel movies. It turned out to have a mass appeal. I can’t wait to see what they do next with Guardians. Great to see you stop by the blog and commenting, much appreciated man!

  21. Super late comment but finally saw Winter Soldier this weekend and agree that it’s the better movie. Guardians was a good movie for sure but WS had more to it. I thought WS was better than the first Captain America as well.
    Chris Pratt was the right actor for Guardias and the humor was spot on. My biggest worry was the racoon, but he turned out really good. WS however just had a better story and the characters fit well. I too thought that when WS and CA were together it was excellent.
    As for favorite character, it’s Groot. There’s something about a living tree that protects that I found endearing.
    Overall both movies were great, WS taking the slight edge.

    • There’s more going on in Winter Soldier which for me gives it the edge over Guardians. I recently started reading the Winter Solider comic storyline and the movie directors took some core character plot points and built a better story and supporting characters around it.

      A lot of actors tested for Peter Quill and Chris Pratt was the right pick. I was most worried about Groot because in some of the stuff I’ve read he wasn’t utilized well. Loved how Groot was handled in the movie and I totally agree it was a great moment when he was willing to give up his life for the team.

      Never too late to comment and glad you enjoyed both of these movies!

  22. Sorry if I’m too late, but I have to say this; Marvel really pushed their limits very high with CA 2. It is hands down the best superhero movie they have ever produced. And I’m one of the people who consider the first CA movie bad. Guardians of galaxy is a very good superhero movie too, but has almost nothing on CA 2. Other than the last two batman movie, I think nothing is better than CA 2 when it comes to superhero movies.

    • You’re not too late at all. 🙂 I’ve had the chance to rewatch CA 2 several times and it still holds up very well in terms of the story, action, character moments and overall greatness. My second time watching the first CA movie I enjoyed it much more. I’m really glad that Guardians turned out to be a solid movie and that it was a box office hit. There’s a huge new fan base for Guardians which is really cool and exciting. I totally agree CA 2 is up there when it comes to superheroes movies. Welcome to the blog!

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