As someone who has studied screenwriting for just over two decades, I tend to watch movies slightly differently than most of my friends. I of course still get sucked in by certain movies, and it's something I truly cherish when I am so involved that I don't see the strings or wait for the formulaic beats to strike. Something like Captain America: The Winter Soldier is definitely one of those. But another thing that struck me is how it's one of those rare movies where the main character is the same person at the end of the film as he was in the beginning. And that's the same reason Ferris Bueller's Day Off has remained one of my favorite scripts. Once I made that comparison though, I realized just how much these movies have in common.
The main character: An incredibly strong willed character who knows their objective. And though they may stumble along the way, there's actually very little doubt that he will overcome the obstacles placed in his path. He begins the film with a certain attitude, and set of beliefs, but unlike most films, he finishes the film without having learned his way of doing things is the wrong way. In fact, the journey he takes more or less reinforces that he is correct with his methods and philosophies.
The Dynamic Character/best friend etc: Another departure from most films, the person that goes along on the ride with the main character is the one who ends up being the most changed by the journey's end. In most films, the dynamic character is someone that comes along towards the end of the first act, and calls attention to the main character's issue that they must overcome by film's end. This is usually a best friend, a love interest, a smirking scoundrel, or even sometimes the villain. And it can even be more than one of those (in most romantic comedies, the love interest and the "villain", or basically opponent, are actually the same character). This time though, the dynamic character comes along with the main character, and while they DO attempt to point out the issues with how the main character handles situations, it's this character that ends up having rethought themselves by the time the credits role. This character goes along on the journey to grow, rather than helping the main character to do so.
Opponent #1: This character pulls some strings along the way to put obstacles in the way of the main character, though they're never really able to defeat him. Their big confrontation with the main character in the beginning of the second act actually sets the main character off on his journey. In the end, the first opponent's life is turned utterly and completely upside down by his pursuit of the main character. He is another one of the people in the film drastically affected by these events, while the main character is actually not.
Opponent #2: This character was once an ally of the main character, prior to the events of the film, but at this point is a bitter and ruthless enemy. This character is also in pursuit of the main character, and even gets the upper hand over him in the final act. But, in the end, this character realizes what their true relationship is with the main character, and they end up preventing the main character from being defeated by the first opponent. This character is perhaps the most changed by the end of the story.
Secondary Dynamic Character: This is a character that also comes along on the journey with the main character, joining after the primary Dynamic Character. This character actually does little to question or challenge the main character though, and is a much more willing companion. Though they go on this eventful ride, they are changed very little in the end compared to most of the rest of the cast.
Minor Opponents: Of course there's other obstacles for the main character, and they provide mild hiccups in the main character's progress. Ultimately, he is able to overcome them quickly and with seemingly little effort.
Minor Dynamic Characters: And then there's other supporting characters who blindly assist the main character. They even actually seem like they could switch to be opponents or obstacles, but ultimately are tools for the main character to reach success.
So there you have it. Yes, the main character goes on a major adventure, and turns things upside down practically everywhere they go in the story. And certain things about their situations are definitely very different. But it's their basic outlook, philosophy, and way that they conduct themselves when faced with challenges that are in no way altered by the events of the story. Like I said, if nothing else, their beliefs and methods have been proven to be correct.