Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Composer: Henry Jackman
Producer: Henry Jackman
Label: Hollywood/Marvel Music
Release Date: April 1, 2014 (US)
The theme music for Captain America: The Winter Soldier has a pretty wide range, but the most identifiable aspect of it comes in the 18th track Captain America. This theme for Captain America does a great job of really driving home the point of the world changing, now that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been taken down. If you listen closely enough to this track, you can hear in the music before even seeing the movie that things are going to change, and that Captain America in some way or another is going to be walking away from it all. Of course, what he’s walking towards is fairly clear to those who’ve seen the movie.
The two other themes that are used and most memorable are those for The Winter Soldier, and Taking a Stand. One represents the chaotic theme of the movie, while the other is supposed to represent the heroic aspects of the movie. Each of these are weaved into many parts of the movie, during the Winter Soldier’s many scenes, or that where Captain America is fighting back or giving a speech.
The one downside to the theme for Captain America is that it’s not succinct enough, and during parts of the movie, due to its quiet nature, you hear more of the movie than you do the music. For the main theme of a character, this shouldn’t be the case, but isn’t something the composer has control over. Notably though, the very beginning of the movie does bring back Alan Silvestri’s theme from Captain America: The First Avenger, and uses it quite nicely during the opening scene.
Henry Jackman has used a variety of sounds and motifs for this score; it doesn’t just repeat itself monotonously. Quality wise, it could’ve done a better job at differentiating between certain songs for characters such as Alexander Pierce (8th) and Natasha (12th). At times due to the quiet nature of the music, it can be harder to differentiate in during the movie. By far the most commonly used motif during the movie was pieces from The Winter Soldier, but because it was reserved for only his scenes it was not entirely overbearing.
Jackman does definitely give a wide range of sounds and motifs for the songs. During the movie, you’ll notice that many of the songs are split up for different parts, so while they are singles on the album, there are definitely stops during the movie. In addition, there was also additional music used in the movie that didn’t find its way to the album which is disappointing because some of it had the more heroic themes
Throughout the movie, the cues are done fairly well, specifically for the parts with The Winter Soldier. His theme is the most memorable and fits perfectly with his scenes. With other scenes, the cues from the music can be at times hard to pick up on. Throughout more of the action sequences, the music does telegraph what’s happening in harmony with the action scenes.
Jackman’s Captain America and The Winter Soldier themes represent different aspects of themes being pushed through the film. Captain America represents in this movie loss and change of everything known, and the majority of this theme is represented by the end of the movie. The Winter Soldier theme is used heavily during the absolute chaos that is reigned down from all sides and especially is notable when the Pierce is giving a speech about how chaotic the world is and needs to be brought into order.
The music composed does provide a cohesiveness with the themes being narrated throughout the movie. Conspiracy, chaos, order, and historical change are all weaved into the music and used effectively throughout the movie. Jackman has done an excellent job of bringing in all these themes to create a cohesive unit that fits perfectly with the movie.
Standalone Listening (1.65/2)
Listening to this album, by itself is quite enjoyable as the themes for The Winter Soldier and Captain America are what stand out most in the listener’s mind. The album can tend to be forgettable during the middle, but once you pick up where the final action scenes are from The Causeway to Captain America, it is very enjoyable. My ratings on each individual song are listed below.
The rating for standalone listening is based on the following:
|Excellent for standalone listening|
|Good, best when listening to a portion of the album|
|Average, really only listened to when listening to the whole album at once|
|Poor, not good, usually skipped over when listening to the album|
|Terrible, do not want to listen to at all|
Overall, Henry Jackman has done a great job of composing for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While there are some trouble spots with the quieter music on the album, the music altogether fits cohesively with the movie and is a great piece of music to listen to.
Single Track Rating
- Lemurian Star (3:06) 
- Project Insight (1:29) 
- The Smithsonian (1:36) 
- An Old Friend (3:05) 
- Fury (4:07) 
- The Winter Soldier (6:24) 
- Fallen (2:51) 
- Alexander Pierce (2:58) 
- Taking a Stand (2:07) 
- Frozen in Time (3:52) 
- Hydra (6:46) 
- Natasha (1:12) 
- The Causeway (2:41) 
- Time to Suit Up (2:05) 
- Into the Fray (6:05) 
- Countdown (4:26) 
- End of the Line (2:51) 
- Captain America (9:41) 
- It’s Been a Long, Long Time [Harry James and His Orchestra] (3:23) 
- Trouble Man [Marvin Gaye] (3:47) 
Total Time 1:14:32
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