Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Strong Heroes for Foster Youth

All my client has been able to talk about for months is Captain America: the Winter Soldier. After having the chance to go to an advance screening of the movie last week, I can understand his excitement and all of the hype. His heart has been set on going to see it with me next month for his birthday, and I can say with confidence that he is going to get a lot out of it.

First off, I want to say that I am going to do my damnedest to make this post spoiler free. There were so many surprises (some very big ones, I might add), and I wouldn’t want to take that experience away from anyone. Half of the time I already knew what was going to happen, since my client decided to spoil some of the story for me. But hearing the gasps of shock in the theater was still great, and I had a knowing grin on my face the whole time.

Overall, I thought it was a fantastic movie. There was plenty of action, some humor, twists and turns, and just enough drama. The cast was super diverse for a movie about a blond haired, blue eyed, white guy. Lots of people of color and women kicking butt. Along those lines, I was impressed by the fact that it was an ensemble cast filled with big names, and it still managed to be a “Captain America” movie. (Side note: This gives me some hope for the Superman/Batman movie if DC decides to follow suit).


(via Design Bolts)

For me, one of the major themes of the film was feeling lost or out of place. In Winter Soldier, Cap is a man who has had some time to breathe after waking up 70 years later and jumping head first into the events of the Avengers movie. Now we find him trying to catch up on historical events, technological advances, and societal changes. He doesn’t know how to feel, what to think, or how to act. I think this is something that anyone feeling like they’ve been put into a completely new situation can relate to. I know that many of the foster youth that I have worked with talk about not being able to fit in and not knowing what to do with themselves.

Another issue that is discussed briefly but that tends to come up frequently is the issue of PTSD and loss. Cap comes across a veteran, now home from the Middle East, who lost his closest friend in a battle. This stirs up feelings about his own lost brothers in arms, particularly Bucky, who he grew up with. Survivors guilt, flashbacks, and support groups are all important topics presented in the movie. It’s a step in the right direction as far as portrayal of mental health issues goes.


(Image via Stitch Kingdom)

Personally, I can’t wait to take my client to go see Winter Soldier. There are not a lot of movies that I would go out of my way to see a second time around, but this one is definitely worth it. The excitement in his eyes alone will make it worth it. There are plenty of good messages for him to absorb while watching something that will have him on the edge of his seat. The movie covers issues of post traumatic growth in showing positive ways to move forward from trauma, trust issues and teamwork, not to mention personal morality and responsibility.

I also foresee a lot of conversation surrounding Captain America’s experience of being a soldier and the losses he has suffered on the ride home from the theater. This is one of the last sessions he and I will have together, and I’m hoping that he’ll be able to connect some of the themes of loss, coping, and strength from the movie. If not, at least he will have one more good experience with me to remember before we end our time together.

Captain America

(Image via Chevrolet)

Wow, I’m impressed that I managed to write that much without spoiling anything. I should stop now while I’m ahead. I will leave you with a reminder that you should stay all the way until the end of the credits (a.k.a. not just midway through the credits). Also, you should see it soon. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will be tying in the events of the movie in the next few weeks, and (I’m assuming) there will be some spoiler-y type changes.

Now I feel the urge to go re-watch the first movie…and Avengers. Something else to add to my to do list! (As if I didn’t already have enough to do…)

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