Blog #566: Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and the 4/8/14 Episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and the 4/8/14 Episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

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Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow
Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
Cobie Smothers as Maria Hill
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow
Maximiliano Hernandez as Jasper Sitwell
Emily VanCamp as Kate/Agent 13/Sharon
Haley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola
Georges St-Pierre as Georges Batroc
(The last three major cast members are spoilers for the mid credit scene, so I’ll list them farther down.)

Before we even get to the movie, something occurred to me as I sat in the theater watching the trailers. How great is it to be a Marvelite these days? To be able to go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, have it preceded by trailers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy, and to watch no fewer than TEN existing Marvel comic book characters brought to life in the Marvel cinematic universe makes this disciple of the house of ideas ecstatic beyond words. (That was a rather long sentence, but I don’t care.) Don’t worry if you’re trying to count the ten characters and coming up short, I’ll mention them all. Truth be told, I only came up with eight while actually watching the movie. Google helped with the other two, so don’t feel bad.

Non Spoilers Section

To put it simply, this movie is amazing. Here are a few non spoiler highlights.

Some of my favorite scenes are with Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. Their characters are polar opposites, Steve who is almost unable to do anything morally questionable, and Natasha who seems to have long ago dismissed the idea of morality as a thing she’s going to worry about. That contrast works so well. The way the Avengers came together, they were thrown into a battle, and it really didn’t give us a chance to explore their personal relationships (accept for Steve and Tony). Honestly I’d never thought about whether the Avengers left that film trusting each other, because they always did in the comics, but it really wasn’t so cut and dry. This movie makes it clear that not all of them came away trusting each other, and the growth of Steve and Natasha’s friendship and trust really works well.

While I thought Anthony Mackie was great as Sam Wilson (The Falcon) I would have liked to see a little more work done on how he gets involved with the story. It just seems a little too easy. On the other hand, does any soldier really need a reason to help Captain America? Maybe not. The one thing I did like is how Sam and Steve have something important in common. Sam has left he military and is trying to adjust to civilian life. Steve’s life was fifty years ago, and he’s trying to adjust to a world he’s still getting to know. It’s a great parallel for them.

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is still one of the best castings choices ever (it helps that Ultimate Universe Nick Fury was based on the actor). Every line he delivers is perfect, you can almost feel both the truth and the lie in every statement.

Sebastian Stan is excellent, but honestly, he has very few lines in this movie, and spends most of the movie shooting, punching, and kicking people (not that I’m complaining about it).

Cobie Smothers (Maria Hill) and Emily VanCamp (Agent 13) are severely underutilized, but excellent in their limited (hopefully expanding in the future) roles. Though it does bring up a question. We have so many great characters, can Marvel make enough movies to give them all their deserved screen time? (Well, of course they CAN, the question is will they. I’d be fine with six movies a year.)

Toby Jones. Can’t be specific, big spoiler, but I almost fell off my chair when he showed up.

The story is nothing I ever expected. None of the trailers give the story away at all. I really can’t say much about it without spoilers. What I can say is that the consequences of the events in this film will be felt all across the Marvel cinematic universe (especially in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., speculation on that farther down). It was billed as a political thriller and that really is the best description for it.

The mid credit scene…OH MY GOD!

The end credit scene…Cap 3 anyone? Not exactly a spoiler since it was a foregone conclusion, and has now been officially announced by Marvel for the first weekend in May 2016. I wonder if Warner Brothers is rethinking opening Batman vs. Superman on that day. I certainly would be, but then I would never have scheduled it against a superior franchise in the first place. This movie just set the all time April opening record with $96.2 million (approximately). Marvel can afford a hit, Warner Brothers cannot. Studios move opening dates all the time because bigger movies take their dates. The first Fantastic Four movie was originally scheduled for fourth of July weekend 2007. DreamWorks then scheduled Transformers for that date. Fox, knowing that FF was never going to be as big as TF, moved it two weeks earlier.

That’s about all I’ve got without spoilers. Continue at your own risk.

Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned!

As always, the quotes may not all be exact. I can only take notes so fast.

“On your left.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The movie opens with Sam (for simplicity’s sake I will use real rather than superhero names throughout the review) out for a run around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (I believe that’s what it’s called). Suddenly, running quite a bit faster, Steve passes him. The scene cuts to another shot of Sam running, and Steve passing him again. The third time Steve passes him, Sam is more than a little annoyed. A hilarious scene, and a great introduction to the first of ten new existing characters, The Falcon (though of course, we don’t know that yet).

Steve introduces himself to Sam as Sam is sitting against a tree recovering from his run. Sam has already figured out who he is. It seems a bit odd that someone as famous as Steve could go out in public for a run without attracting attention, but that’s a minor thing. They talk a little bit about what it’s like to leave the service, and I love the parallel between Sam leaving military life and Steve leaving his life 50 years in the past. Sam tells Steve he should listen to a Marvin Gaye album to help him catch up on what he’s missed. Steve pulls out a notepad to make note of it. I could only catch a few items on the list, but thanks to this site here is a full list. (This site also lists some Easter Eggs and references that I missed.)

I Love Lucy
Moon Landing
Berlin Wall (Up + Down)
Steve Jobs (Apple)
Disco
Thai Food
Star Wars/Trek
Nirvana (Band)
Rocky (Rocky II?)
Trouble Man (Soundtrack)

That site also notes that different regions got different versions of this list.

Steve gets a text saying they have a mission. A few moments later, Natasha pulls up in a black sports car.

“Hey fellas. Either one of you know where the Smithsonian is? I have to pick up a fossil.” – Natasha Romanov
“That’s hilarious.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

We cut to a shield quinjet heading out on a mission, which Steve views as cleaning up another one of Fury’s messes.

“I’m getting a little tired of being Fury’s janitor.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

A shield satellite launch ship has been taken over by terrorists lead by Georges Batroc. Known in the Marvel Universe as Batroc the Leaper, he is the second of our ten new existing characters.

“What’s Sitwell doing on a launch ship.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Notably, Jasper Sitwell is the only character to appear in the film and also on recent episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which is very important). He’s not an agent Steve would expect to find on a satellite launch ship. In this scene we meet the third of our ten new existing characters, Brock Rumlow. The name was not familiar to me, though I’m sure I’ve heard it and forgotten. In the Marvel universe, Brock Rumlow was better known as Crossbones. He is NOT Crossbones in this movie, but it seems pretty clear we’ll be seeing him again down the road, probably in Captain America 3.

“Did you do anything fun Saturday night?” – Natasha Romanov
“Well…all the guys from my barber shop quartet are dead, so no, not really.” – Steve Rogers
“You know, if you asked Kristin out from statistics she’d probably say yes.” – Natasha Romanov
“That’s why I don’t ask.” – Steve Rogers
“Too shy or too scared?” – Natasha Romanov
“Too busy.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Then Steve jumps out of the plane without a parachute. This is the first of a number of great conversations between Steve and Natasha.

Awesome action sequences commence as Steve goes about systematically taking out crew members.

“You seem pretty helpless without me.” – Brock Rumlow, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

One soldier gets the drop on Steve, and is shot by Rumlow as he parachutes in.

“What about the nurse who lives across the hall from you? She seems kinda nice.” – Natasha Romanov
“Secure the engine room, then find me date.” – Steve Rogers
“I’m multitasking.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Natasha parachutes in and decides she’s not done trying to find Steve a date. The action continues as the team gets in position to rescue the hostages, and then executes their plan.

“I told you shield doesn’t negotiate.” – Jasper Sitwell, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

As the team starts to move the hostages to the extraction point, Steve loses contact with Natasha. He goes to find her and runs into Batroc. They fight, and it’s pretty clear that Batroc is a skilled fighter and can go toe to toe with Steve.

“I thought you were more than just a shield.” – Georges Batroc
“Let’s see.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve puts his shield on his back, which is very cool by the way. He seems to have a magnet in the back of his uniform, and you can hear it activate when he puts his shield on his back without having to strap it on. Not sure if we saw that previously in the movies, maybe we did and I’m just not remembering. They continue to fight, and Steve knocks Batroc through a door into a control room where he finds Natasha copying computer files. She has had her own mission, to obtain files for Shield. Steve is not happy. This is a great scene, as it really shows that Steve and Natasha really aren’t on the same page and sets the stage for their relationship to evolve.

“You just can’t stop yourself from lying, can you?” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve goes to see Fury, and he’s not happy at all. Presumably this is not the first time that he has had one mission while someone under his command has had another. Fury calls it compartmentalization.

“We’re going to neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen.” – Nick Fury
“I thought the punishment usually came after the crime.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Fury let’s Steve in on a secret. He takes him down to Project Insight, three Helicarriers being built in bunkers under the river beside the Triskelion (Shield Headquarters in Washington). They are linked to a satellite that will enable them to stop a lot of threats, but Steve isn’t buying it. The new helicarriers look fantastic and are armed to the teeth and using a type of repulsor for propulsion.

“This isn’t freedom. This is fear.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve goes to an exhibit at the Smithsonian where they are doing a welcome back Cap exhibit. He sees a display about Bucky. He also watches an interview that Peggy Carter gave may years ago about him. After Steve was put on ice (pun intended) she married and had a family.

“You know I could never leave my best girl. Not when she still owes me a dance.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

In one of the most unexpected (by me) scenes, Steve goes to visit a very old Peggy Carter. She must be in her 90’s. They talk a little, and then she forgets that he’s been there. It’s really kind of sad for Steve, as she is really the only like he has left to his past life. It’s a really great scene, in which we learn that the reason Steve decided to join shield was that Peggy helped found it.

Back in Fury’s office, he tries to open the Project Insight files from the drive that Natasha brought back from the ship. The files are sealed, supposedly by him, which is obviously very suspicious. Fury goes to see Alexander Pierce, the fourth of our new existing characters. Pierce however, bears little resemblance to the Marvel universe character of the same name, but still, he is an existing character.

In the council room, Pierce is defending Fury’s actions to the council. They seem very unhappy that Fury seems to do whatever he wants to. Though not mentioned, they are probably still upset that he overrode their plans to nuke New York to stop the invasion in Avengers. Unlike the shadowy figures we saw in Avengers, we see them as holograms. I suppose being that they are inside the Triskelion, they aren’t as worried about security.

“I work forty floors away and it takes a hijacking for you to visit?” – Alexander Pierce
A nuclear war would do it too. I want you to call for a vote. Project insight has to be delayed.” – Nick Fury
“Nick that’s not a favor, it’s a subcommittee hearing. A long one.” – Alexander Pierce
“It could be nothing. It probably is nothing. I just need time to make sure.” – Nick Fury
“Fine. But you’ve got to get Iron Man to stop by my niece’s birthday party. Not just a fly by. He has to mingle.” – Alexander Pierce

Fury asks Pierce to delay he deployment of Insight. The fact that he can’t access the files from the ship concern him, but he doesn’t voice any specific reasons. I love the Iron Man reference, and I hope sometime down the road Tony Stark makes some off hand comment about doing flybys at birthday parties.

Steve goes to see Sam, who is conducting a counseling session at the VA for former military personnel trying to adjust to civilian life. Afterward Steve and Sam talk, and we learn that Sam lost a friend in action. It’s clear that Steve is considering leaving Shield, but does not know what he would do if he got out.

What follows is one of the best action sequences you will ever see in any movie.

“You wanna see my lease?” – Nick Fury

Fury is driving in Washington in his black SUV, which we will learn is not exactly a standard model. He’s on a call with Maria Hill, telling her that he needs her in Washington. He stops at a light and a DC police car pulls up. The two cops wearing sun glasses look at him. Fury looks over and asks if they wan to see his lease. They drive in front of him. As Fury starts to drive a police car hits him from the side, and then another from the back pinning him between three cars and a barrier. A bunch of cops get out and start firing automatic weapons. Inside, the computer tells Fury that propulsion is down and that the armor plating is starting to fail and that it wants to initiate countermeasures, but Fury says no. They bring a battering ram out of a truck, and put it beside Fury’s driver side window. It starts slamming into the drivers’ side window, as Fury gets into the passengers seat. As the computer announces the falling integrity of the window, just before the window fails, Fury orders the countermeasures. A machine gun and grenade launcher pop up from the center console (I really want that option on my car). Fury starts firing, shattering the window. He shoots a grenade and blows up one of the police cars (or the truck, I’m not sure which). Finally the propulsion systems come back on line and Fury orders the truck to go. It manages to push past the police car in front and take off. Fury tries to open a channel to Maria Hill, but the computer tells him that communications are down.

“What’s not damaged?” – Nick Fury
“Air conditioning fully operational.” – Truck Computer, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

There is a running battle with the police cars, the highlight of which is Fry slamming on the breaks and two police cars flying by and getting slammed into by a semi. Fury finally seemingly gets away, only to see the Winter Soldier up ahead (thought we don’t know that’s his name yet). He fires a disk along the ground which attaches to the bottom of the truck and explodes. The Winter Soldier is our fifth new existing character. I know, technically he was already part of the universe, but under a different name. It’s a technicality, I consider him new. Fury sees him coming, and manages to use some kind of laser to cut a whole in the street and get into the sewers.

We cut to Steve riding his motorcycle into his driveway. He goes upstairs to his apartment and runs into his neighbor, Kate, played by the lovely and badass Emily VanCamp (best known for her starring role on ABC’s Revenge). They flirt, which Steve seems to do rather well for someone who hasn’t been on a date since World War II. While she turns down his invitation to use his washing machine it’s very clear that she likes him. During their conversation she says something (I didn’t write down what) about her Aunt (more on that later). She mentions to him that he left his stereo on.

Steve knows he didn’t leave his stereo on, so he comes in through the window of his apartment to find Nick Fury. Fury uses his phone to type a message telling Steve the place is bugged. He says Shield is compromised. As Fury seems to be about to tell Steve something, he’s shot several times. The last thing he says before losing consciousness is not to trust anyone. He gives Steve the drive with the data from the ship on it.

Suddenly in rushes Kate, gun raised. She says she’s Agent 13, our sixth new existing character. We’ll talk about her real name later for anyone who doesn’t know. She says that Fury stationed her their to protect Steve.

Steve runs after the shooter running through doors and slamming into walls with his shield. It’s a great sequence. He ends up on a roof and throws his shield, but the Winter Soldier turns and catches it in one hand. Since he has the partial mask, we can’t see his face. He throws it back, jumps off the roof, and is gone.

“Don’t do this to me, Nick.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

At the hospital, they are working on Fury. Steve and Natasha look on helplessly. It’s very clear that Natasha’s relationship with Nick means something to her. We rarely see Natasha as vulnerable as she seems here (unless she’s faking it for some reason, like she did with Loki in Avengers).

Steve tells her that the shooter has a metal arm, which seems to mean something to Natasha.

Maria Hill arrives, and says that the bullets were soviet made rounds that had no rifling, making them untraceable. Shortly after, Fury dies. We don’t know anything about Fury’s personal life, but it’s entirely possible that the only three people in the world who care about him in any way are there. It’s kind of fitting. It’s also kind of sad. (Well, not including Coulson, but then, given what Fury did to him, I’m not sure how upset Phil would be at this point.)

If anyone actually thinks Nick Fury is really dead, I’m wondering if I can interest them in a bridge I’m selling in Brooklyn. I’m letting it go really cheap. It’s going to take a lot more than Kamikaze police cars, mercenaries firing thousands of rounds of ammunition, a battering ram, a fancy magnetic bomb thing, and a flipping over truck to kill Nick Fury. He doesn’t die that easily.

In another touching scene, Natasha stands over Nick’s body, and before she leaves she places a hand on his head.

Steve tries to talk to Natasha, but Rumlow is insistent that he’s needed at Shield. Being suspicious of everything, Steve hides the drive in a vending machine behind a column of bubblegum.

“Captain Rogers.” – Agent 13
“Neighbor.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

As Steve is heading into Pierce’s office, he passes Agent 13 and exchanges a rather frigid greeting.

“Captain, in order to build a better world, it sometimes means turning the old one down. And that makes enemies.” – Alexander Pierce, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve’s conversation with Pierce is long and complex, so I’m going to try to hit the high points. Pierce tells Steve the story of how Fury once saved a dozen people by conducting a military operation, disobeying Pierce’s direct orders. He tells him that there is evidence that Fury had the satellite ship hijacked in order to steal and sell information to another party. Pierce doesn’t think that’s true. He wants to know what Fury told Steve at his apartment. Steve tells him that Fury said not to trust anyone. Pierce tells Steve that someone killed his friend and no one will stand in his way. At this point it’s really hard to tell whose side Pierce is on.

Before we get started does anyone want to get out?” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Next is the elevator scene, which was the first (I believe) clip of the movie released online. I love this scene. Steve gets in he elevator after leaving Pierce’s office. Just before the door closes, Rumlow and a couple of soldiers get on the elevator. He tells Steve that they are analyzing fibers from the roof and asks if he should get the team ready. Steve says to wait and see what it is first. On another floor, some men in suits get on. At the next stop a few more soldiers get on. Steve can tell something is about to happen. They all attack, Steve again like ten guys in close quarters. Steve manages to knock them all out accept Rumlow.

“I Just want you to know Cap. This isn’t personal.” – Brock Rumlow

Steve throws Rumlow into the ceiling.

“It kind of feels personal.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Finding soldiers on all floors, Steve jumps through the glass elevator window, falls a long way, and crashes through a glass ceiling below. He hits the ground and struggles to his feet. Steve tries to escape on his motorcycle, but a quinjet tries to stop him. Steve brings it down and takes off.

Sitwell orders all Shield personnel to drop everything else and search for Captain America. Agent 13 says they have the right to know why. Pierce answers, saying that Captain America is concealing information about the death of Nick Fury. Again, this is technically true, so we have no reason to suspect Pierce on any wrongdoing.

Steve goes to get the drive from the vending machine at the hospital. He looks into the machine to see all the bubblegum and the drive gone. In the reflection we see Natasha, blowing a bubble over his shoulder. Very funny.

Natasha tells Steve that she knows who killed Fury, The Winter Soldier. She tells him that most believe he is a myth, but she had a run in with him once and he killed the guy she was escorting by shooting right threw her, and pulls up her shirt to show a scar on her stomach.

“Bye bye bikinis.” – Natasha Romanov
“Yeah, I bet you look terrible in them now.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Well, if there wasn’t any sexual tension before, I think there is now, and it gets better later. With little choice they decide to work together.

Meanwhile, the council insists that Project Insight be activated, and that Fury’s request to delay it was because it would have revealed his illegal activities. They threaten to remove Pierce from his position.

“The person who developed this is slightly smarter than me. Slightly.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve and Natasha got to a mall and use a computer at an Apple Store to look at the data on the drive. This seems ridiculous as I can’t imagine Shield tech running on something as low tech as a Macintosh. 🙂 Anyway, they know Shield will be on them within nine minutes of activating in the drive. Natasha can’t figure out how to access the data, but somehow manages to figure out where it was encrypted, which just happens to be at the military base where Steve was trained before he received the Super Soldier Serum. There are some really funny moments with an Apple Guy.

“Still uncomfortable?” – Natasha Romanov
“Uncomfortable’s not the word I’d use.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

They leave the store and are just about to run into Shield agents when Natasha tells Steve to put his arm around her and laugh. They manage to fool them, but when they get to the escalator, Rumlow is on it going down, while they are going up. Natasha tells Steve to kiss her, which he does, though he’s hesitant, but it gets them passed Rumlow.

“Was that your first kiss since 1945?” – Natasha Romanov
“That was not my first kiss since 1945. I’m 95, I’m not dead.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

There is a great conversation while driving to New Jersey betweens Steve and Natasha, but unfortunately my notes are limited, and all I can really remember is that they talked about the kiss and how easy it is for Natasha to lie.

They get to the base, and it’s clearly been closed for a very long time. There is a very nice moment when Steve sees himself as he was before the serum in training. They look around and find nothing. Natasha can’t even find any power readings. Steve notices that an ammunition dump is located near the barracks and knows that it’s wrong due to army regulations. Inside they find an abandoned Shield base that’s many decades old. They speculate that it might be where Shield started. They see portraits on the wall. Natasha recognizes Howard Stark, but asks Steve who the woman is he’s staring at. It’s Peggy Carter. He doesn’t answer.

They find a secret elevator that takes them further down into another bunker. Inside they find an old computer room, filled with 1970’s technology. Natasha says that the equipment is far too old for the files to have been encrypted here, but notices a bank of USB ports on the console and plugs in the drive. The old style green text monitor comes on. I can’t recall exactly what it said, but Natasha types in “YES”.

“Shall we play a game?” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I love that there is a War Games reference, and even more that Steve says he gets it. I love that movie. Anyway…

The computer comes on, and whose voice do we hear? Arnim Zola. A blurry pixilated face appears on the green on black screen. He explains that he joined Operation Paperclip. Operation Paperclip (which is real, look it up) was an effort by the US government to recruit Nazi scientists. In the 1970’s, his body died, but his mind was saved on this computer system. In the comics, Zola had a robotic body with a screen in it’s torso with his face. This works much better than that would have. At one point, Steve punches his computerized face, and it pops up on another screen.

Zola tells them that for the past seventy years (I think I caught that right) that Hydra has been alive and well, functioning inside of Shield carrying out its own agenda. Project Insight will wipe out all threats to Hydra, giving them total control of the world. This is an oversimplification of Zola’s story, but I didn’t get great notes on it unfortunately. The important part is that insight will kill all their enemies so they can take over the world, but Zola doesn’t tell them how Insight works.

Suddenly there is an incoming missile. Only Pierce would have the authority to fire a missile inside the USA. The repercussions are obvious, Pierce must be Hydra.

Steve smashes open a grate in the floor and pushes Natasha in, falling on top of her and protecting her with his shield. They barely survive the blast and escape before Rumlow and friends show up.

“Oh Renata. I wish you had knocked.” – Alexander Pierce, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

We see Pierce in his home, and he sees The Winter Soldier in the shadows. His housekeeper says she’s going home for the night, and he says goodnight to her. She leaves without seeing The Winter Soldier. He starts to tell The Winter Soldier that he must take out Steve and Natasha, but I don’t think he says their names. This confirms what the missile launch suggested, that Alexander Pierce is Hydra. His housekeeper comes back in for her keys and sees The Winter Soldier so Pierce shoots her (though for what it’s worth he does seem conflicted about it). This is a really great scene. Up to now we really couldn’t be sure whose side Pierce was on, but now we know for sure.

“Everyone we know is trying to kill us.” – Natasha Romanov
“Not everyone.” – Sam Wilson, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Without any other options, Steve and Natasha go to Sam’s house to lay low.

“I thought I knew whose lies I was telling.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve and Natasha have a great conversation. Natasha says that she traded in the KGB for Hydra. Steve saved her life, and Natasha asks him if the situation had been revered would he have trusted her to save his life. He says he would now. This is another great moment between them.

Sam volunteers to help them and tells them about the Falcon system, and where they can get one. They apparently steal it, but we never get to see that scene. It probably isn’t important, but at least they explain where they get it.

We cut to Sitwell talking to Senator Stern played by Garry Shandling, who we last saw in the Marvel Universe pinning a medal on Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man 2. (Where he epically stabbed Tony with the pin and said “Ooh, sorry…funny how annoying a little prick can be, isn’t it?”) It’s a funny scene. Before the senator leaves he hugs Sitwell and whispers, “Hail Hydra”.

As the Senator drives off, Sam calls Sitwell and his cell phone and tells him he needs to take a trip with him. Sitwell has a laser pointed at his chest. Up on top of a building, Steve acts like he is going to throw Sitwell off the roof, but Sitwell says he knows he won’t do it. Steve agrees, stands aside, and watches Natasha kick Sitwell in the chest and tumble off the roof. I wasn’t able to write it down, but then Steve and Natasha talk about a potential date for him again, which is hilarious.

Sam flies up on his awesome wings that we finally get to see in action, carrying Sitwell, and drops him on the roof. (I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have liked to see a little red and white either on the wings or the pack, no crazy suit, just a little color. Perhaps next time.) Sitwell is now ready to talk. He tells them that insight predicts threats based on a person’s history. Using people’s electronic past Insight identifies who has the potential to be a threat so they can be immediately eliminated before they can become a threat. This means they will kill millions as soon as Insight is launched. During his explanation Sitwell drops a couple of names of people who would be eliminated as examples including Stephen Strange, AKA Dr. Strange, our seventh new existing character. I do not believe he has been mentioned in any previous movie, but Marvel have mentioned a future movie for him on multiple occasions. This would seem to make it a lock, and would bring magic and mysticism into the cinematic universe (Thor has some magic, but mostly advanced technology). I would like to immediately start the campaign for Johnny Depp to play Stephen Strange. He would be perfect, and already has a relationship with Disney. Really, who better to be mater of the mystic arts than someone who is a bit…out there…to begin with? Anyway…

They take Sitwell to…I’m honestly not sure where they were taking him, but they don’t get there. The Winter Soldier and a bunch of soldiers attack. Sitwell is killed (more on this later, as he recently was on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and an epic battle begins that includes a bus, construction equipment, numerous automatic weapons, grenade launchers, and a portable chain gun. It’s freaking awesome!

“Bucky?” – Steve Rogers
“Who the hell is Bucky?” – The Winter Soldier, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Here are the high points of the battle. Natasha is wounded, shot in the shoulder. Steve manages to damage Winter Soldier’s arm, so he is not indestructible. Winter Soldier’s mask comes off and Steve sees that it’s Bucky.

Rumlow shows up with a squad of his men. One of the soldiers seems ready to execute Steve on the spot, but Rumlow tells him not to do it here.

Steve, Natasha, and Sam are put into the back of a van. Inside, Steve realizes that Zola’s experiments on Bucky before Steve rescued in during World War II made him able to survive the fall. Of course, Steve blames himself. Natasha tells him that it’s not his fault.

“Ow. That thing was squeezing my brain.” – Maria Hill, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

One of the soldiers in the back of the truck with them uses the fancy taser they carry on the other guard then removes her helmet that is apparently rather tight. It’s Maria Hill.

The trucks stop in a secluded area and Rumlow orders his men to dig three holes. Clearly they mean to execute and bury them. When they open the back of the truck there is one unconscious guard and a big hole in the floor.

“About damn time.” – Nick Fury, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Hill takes Steve, Natasha, and Sam to a secret location and we find out that Nick Fury is alive, though he’s sustained enough injuries that he really should be dead (more on this later).

In one of my favorite scenes, we see The Winter Soldier with his handlers. He is having flashbacks to Steve, Zola’s experiments on him, and becoming The Winter Soldier. He is trying to figure out who Bucky is and how he knows Steve. Clearly he’s starting to remember. Someone says that he’s been unfrozen too long. Pierce gives him a speech about how he’s shaped the century, then orders him to be wiped. He’s strapped into a machine, a device close around his head and he screams when they turn it on.

“Looks like you’re giving the orders now, Captain.” – Nick Fury, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve and company hatch a plan. Replace the targeting chips in the three helicarriers so that they can take control of their targeting systems. Fury says they can take down Hydra, but Steve says they need to take down not just Hydra, but Shield too. Fury agrees.

Steve thinks back to the day of his mother’s funeral, to how Bucky was there for him. He doesn’t know if he can do it.

“I don’t think he’s the kind you save. He’s the kind you stop.” – Sam Wilson, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I love Sam’s line. It’s what Steve needs to hear even if he intends to ignore it. I didn’t get the exact line, but Steve says he needs to get a uniform.

“Oh man. I am so fired.” – Museum Security Guard played by Stan Lee, Captain America, The Winter Soldier

Back at the Museum we see the mannequin that wore Steve’s old World War II uniform is naked (humorously with the old shield in front of him). A security guard played by Stan Lee sees it and realizes he is in trouble. I was so loving this movie I had almost forgot there would be a Stan lee cameo along the way.

The Council arrives at the Triskelion. Pierce gives them pins to give them access to everything. This is important later.

“The price of freedom is high…and it’s a price I’m willing to pay.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America, The Winter Soldier

Steve, Sam, and Hill infiltrate the communications room of the Triskelion. Steve broadcasts a message telling everyone at Shield the truth, that Pierce is Hydra, and asks all loyal Shield personnel to join them in fighting Hydra. Then a lot of things happen at once. It’s really awesome, but really hard to describe. I’m sure I’m going to miss a few things.

Agent 13 and others in the control room refuse to launch the helicarriers and a battle ensues with Rumlow and his men. The helicarriers are launched.

“I’m sorry. Did I step on your moment?” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America, The Winter Soldier

The Council believes Captain America and turns on Pierce, who starts giving a speech and brings in his soldiers to keep the councilors in line. Suddenly the blond councilwoman goes all Black Widow on the soldiers, and reveals herself to be, you guessed it, Natasha in disguise.

“Hey, Cap, how do know the good guys form the bad guys?” – Sam Wilson
“If they’re shooting at you they’re bad.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve and Sam in an epic battle fight their way into two of the carriers and swap out the chips. I can’t even begin to describe how epic this is.

“Are you sure you’re ready for the world to see you as you really are?” – Alexander Pierce
“Are you?” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Natasha prepares to release all of Shield and Hydra’s secret files on to the Internet. This will include all the secrets of her own past.

Shield pilots scramble to help Steve and Sam, but are attacked by The Winter Soldier. He takes a plane to go up to the third helicarrier.

Back in the Council room, Fury arrives by helicopter, amazingly just days after being blown up and shot, he walks in all badass as only Nick Fury can. He and Pierce have a great conversation, which I sadly only noted the end of, but in short it’s about the difference between what Shield was supposed to be doing and what Hydra wants to do.

“It’s a great step, Nick, if you have the courage to take it.” – Alexander Pierce
“I have the courage not to take it.” – Nick Fury, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Now, the next few scenes switch back and fourth from Steve and Sam battling The Winter Soldier and the Council room. Fury and Pierce authorize…something. I’m not sure if it was disabling the safeguards so they could have the helicarriers target and destroy each other, or the release of the data to the Internet. It all happens really quickly, but we get to see Fury pull off his eye patch and use his destroyed eye to activate the process.

Sam’s wings are damaged and he ends up grounded. Steve is shot by The Winter Soldier trying to get the targeting chip installed on the third carrier. He loses the chip and has to fight The Winter Soldier to retrieve it.

“Done. And its trending.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Pierce triggers the two councilmens’ pins and it kills them. He threatens to do the same to Natasha’s. Fury and Natasha have no choice but to drop their weapons.

Sam ends up in a fight with Rumlow inside the Triskelion.

Cap is shot multiple times trying to install the ship. He gets it installed and they set the ships to target each other. Steve is wounded and The Winter Soldier is trapped aboard one of the carriers.

“Fire now!” – Steve Rogers
“But, Steve.” – Maria Hill
“Do it now!” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve won’t leave while The Winter Soldier is trapped. The helicarriers start firing at
each other, which is amazing.

“Ow. Those really do sting.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Natasha uses one of her electrocution disks to fry her badge. Fury shoots Pierce.

“Hail Hydra.” – Alexander Pierce, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Pierce dies. One helicarrier crashes into the river, one into the Triskelion. Steve frees The Winter Soldier and he attacks Steve.

Sam is fighting with Brock, and barely escapes when the helicarrier hits the building, ending up on the helicopter with Natasha and Fury after a mad dash and jump out of a window. Awesome.

“You know me.” – Steve Rogers
“Know I don’t!” – The Winter Soldier, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve refuses to fight back, dropping his shield from the helicarrier. I don’t know if this was really important or if he got it back right away. I don’t think e see it again in the film. He tries to talk to The Winter Soldier.

“You’re my friend.” – Steve Rogers
“You’re my mission.” – The Winter Soldier
“Then finish it, because I’m with you to the end of the line.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve falls from the helicarrier and lands in the river. The Winter Soldier drags him to shore and leaves him.

“On your left.” – Steve Rogers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Cut to the hospital. Steve wakes up with Marvin Gaye playing on an iPod and Sam sitting next to his bed.

We see a target range, and Agent 13 wearing a shirt that says CIA, so she’s apparently found her knew career.

Maria Hill is at Stark Industries apparently interviewing for a job.

Senator Stern is arrested.

Rumlow is taken to a hospital badly injured, with severe damaged to his face.

Fury burns everything he has left of Shield, including his eye patch, switching to a pair of sunglasses. That feels like a really huge thing, but I REALLY want them to bring back the eye patch at some point.

“You’re not going to put me in a prison. You’re not going to put any of us in a prison.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America, The Winter Soldier

Of all people, we see Natasha testifying before Congress. I wish I got the whole scene quoted, but she says in essence that they can’t put any of them in prison because they are the best equipped to defend them now that Shield is gone.

At Fury’s grave, he, Steve, and Sam meet. Fury is heading to Europe. There are a lots of Hydra installations to deal with.

“Be careful, Steve. You might not want to pull on that thread.” – Natasha Romanov, Captain America, The Winter Soldier

Fury leaves and Natasha arrives. She isn’t going with Fury. All her covers are blown and she needs a new one. She gives Steve a file on The Winter Soldier that she got from a contact in Kiev. Natasha tells him to call Sharon (Agent 13). Natasha says she likes him. Importantly, she doesn’t tell him Sharon’s last name.

Steve tells Sam he doesn’t have to go with him, but Sam makes it clear that he is going.

Then the credits start, and as we have come to expect out of movies in the Marvel cinematic universe, we have a mid and end credits scene.

The mid credit scene gives us our last three new existing characters added to the Marvel cinematic universe, bring our total up to ten. (Though if you read the article I linked above, it is possible that there was a vague reference to Moon Knight, which would make it eleven, but it’s so vague, I don’t think it can be counted.)

Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff

“This isn’t the age of spies. This is not even the age of heroes. This is the age of miracles…and there’s nothing more horrifying than a miracle. – Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

In a secret Hydra base, von Strucker discusses the situation with one of his men saying that they will feed them (meaning Fury, Natasha, etc, I would assume) the less important Hydra bases.

“Sooner or later they will meet the twins.” – Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Then we see two small rooms with one glass wall, each with one person inside who are obviously Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver is bouncing off the walls looking very much out of his mind. The Scarlet Witch is levitating some cubes with a blank look on her face. The scene ends when the cubes are suddenly crushed.

The credits continue, and when they are over, we fade back in on the museum. We see the large display about Bucky, and then The Winter Soldier in disguise looking at it.

Well, that was a lot longer than I expected it to be. Now for some thoughts, which includes spoilers and theories for recent and upcoming episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Crossbones

I’m not sure about Frank Grillo as Crossbones. I seem to remember Crossbones as a really big guy in the comics. Grillo is five feet ten. Chris Evans is six feet tall. Now, I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but it seemed like a greater height difference between them than two inches. I am probably wrong about that, but that’s how it seemed. Also, according to the Marvel Universe Wiki, Crossbones is six foot four. I’m sure the geniuses at Marvel will make it work, but Grillo just isn’t who I would have expected. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Agent Jasper “I just got my Hydra Ass Flattened by a Big Rig” Sitwell

Agent Sitwell is dead. He was seen on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as recently as last week. I believe that during the episode he was called away, but I’m not certain. I am thinking that they might use his death to set the timeline between the movie and series. More on the series later.

Fury’s Miraculous Recovery

It was just announced today that Samuel L. Jackson will be appearing in the season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I am expecting at that time that we will get some kind of answer about Coulson being brought back from the dead and the drug from the dead Kree that helped save his and Skye’s lives. I assume we will find that Fury used that same drug to make his rapid recovery in the movie. They have to give us some explanation, and that would seem to make the most sense.

Agent 13

It is no accident that Steve does not learn Agent 13’s last name. In the original comics, Sharon Carter was Peggy Carter’s younger sister. Later it was changed to her being Peggy’s niece. Agent 13 mentioned her aunt in her conversation with Steve. I’m guess they will make Peggy Carter her great aunt now. Steve doesn’t know that though. It should be interesting how he reacts to a possible relationship with his “best girl’s” grand niece (or great niece, I’m not sure which is the correct term). It seems pretty clear that we will be seeing her again, probably with a major role in Captain America 3.

Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America 3 Timeline

I am really curious how they are going to set the timeline between this movie, Age of Ultron, and Captain America 3. None of the other Marvel movies (I don’t think) ended with a very clear set up that the main characters are now going to go do something. Usually the story main story has been wrapped up, and we get mid and after credit scenes to give us an idea what comes next. That’s not solely the case here. Steve and Sam are going after Bucky or to try to find out exactly what has happened to him in the last fifty years (or so). With Age of Ultron coming up next, I will be interested to see what Steve is up to when AoU happens and if they give some kind of explanation of the timeline between the three films. In comics its easy, characters feel like they are in two places at once all the time, but I think the movie universe needs to be a little more clear on this. We’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t even be opposed to Cap 3 taking place before Avengers. Comics used to give timeline clues all the time, but not so much anymore. This is unlikely, but I wouldn’t mind it.

Falcon’s Wings

Falcon’s wings were destroyed, and it looked like he left the damaged unit behind. I wish I had looked closer to see if there was a Stark Enterprise logo on the Falcon system file that Sam shows Steve and Natasha. I’m guessing that there was, or if not, Tony can make him something similar. That would actually be a good way to do that, so they could give him an upgrade.

Maria Hill

This is the trickiest thing. First off, we saw Maria Hill interviewing at Stark Enterprises. Cobie Smothers appeared in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, and was going to be either a recurring or regular character, I’m not sure which, but could not do it when How I Met Your Mother was picked up for another season. If she is now going to be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it would likely mean a heavy connection going forward between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Stark Enterprises. This is assuming she is going to be on the show. There is no guarantee of that. If she were, it could be an indication that in the absence of Shield, Stark Enterprises could continue to fund and support Coulson’s team. That brings us to…

The Future of Shield

Talk about a mess. I’m sure they have a plan and it will all be okay, but the movie certainly seems to create a problem. The first question is, is Shield really gone? The command structure was destroyed, but does that mean they just don’t exist? Certainly they had many operations that would remain functioning, but how and under what command structure/management would that happen? I see two possibilities. One, Shield isn’t as gone as they lead us to believe in the movie. The other, Shield will evolve into something else, perhaps Hammer. I suppose parts of the old Shield could become controlled by Stark Enterprises. I mean, who better to examine unexplained events? That does seem kind of unlikely, but who knows. Hammer still seems the most likely outcome, and that brings us to the last question…

The Future of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

At the end of last week’s episode we had a number of issues.

1. Victoria Hand (who was second in command of Hammer in the comics) orders all of Coulson’s team killed and Coulson brought to her. What we don’t know is if she’s Hydra, or if she thinks that Coulson is Hydra. It could go either way.

2. Agent Mae has “apparently” betrayed the team, but do we really know what she’s been reporting and to who? The only thing we know for sure is that she told someone that Coulson knew about how he had been resurrected and about the dead alien. That could very well be Fury. She could also have been keeping Fury informed because she knew about the Hydra threat, but even Fury didn’t know about that until the movie. I find it highly unlikely that Mae has turned on them, but given everything that has happened, you really can’t blame Coulson for being suspicious. My guess is she was keeping Fury informed, but we’ll soon find out.

3. If Shield is really gone, what happens to Coulson’s team? I’ve already mentioned some of the options I see, but let me just go over them again. 1. They end up working for Stark with Maria Hill. 2. They end up working for Victoria Hand under Hammer. 3. They are completely on their own. 4. Shield ends up holding together and nothing really changes. 5. They end up working for Fury. 6. The show is being canceled and it doesn’t matter (if that happens I will hold my breath until…no one cares). 7. Something else entirely. Of those seven choices, I think it will be #2. I think Victoria Hand has been operating under the assumption that Coulson’s team is with Hydra. She will end up running Hammer, and allow Coulson’s team to keep functioning. That’s what I think will happen, but I would much rather #1 happen, and they go to work for Stark.

4. Who or what is The Clairvoyant? This is tough. It could almost be anyone. Is it someone working with Hydra? That would be the obvious assumption. Perhaps it was Zola, but then he’s been destroyed and there is really nothing to resolve on the show, but at this point he would seem to be the most likely suspect. Could it be Victoria Hand? Sure, but then she is almost certainly Hydra, and if she isn’t going to run Hammer, the options going forward don’t look so great. It also seems just too obvious. It could have been Pierce, but then like Zola, he’s dead, and that would be pretty anticlimactic. It’s also entirely possible it’s someone we’ve never met. I suppose it could be a lot of people, Fury, Agent Garrett, Sitwell, I could guess blindly, but that’s not going to help.

I had originally planned to post this blog before this week’s Agents of Shield, but that is literally going to start in one minute, so I’m going to watch that, and then add my thoughts on that. Be right back.

I’m back.

By the hoary hosts of hoggoth! What the F was that! That might have been the most traumatic hour of television I’ve seen in my entire life. I’m going to try to hit the highlights, but I need to stress something:

WHAT FOLLOWS ARE MAJOR, ENORMOUS, UNIMAGINABLE, MIND BLOWING, LIFE CHANGING, WORLD VIEW SMASHING, PAINFUL SPOILERS FOR THE 4/8/14 EPISODE OF MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. A LOT OF TV SHOWS SAY THAT AFTER AN EPISODE NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME. THIS TIME IT’S ABSOLUTELY TRUE. NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME. DON’T SAY YOU WEREN’T WARNED.

Last chance.

Turn back now.

Save yourself.

This is going to hurt.

This is going to hurt a lot.

Okay, here goes.

Long story short. Agent Mae learns that Fury is dead. Victoria Hand tries to shoot down Agent Garrett’s plane. He manages to get to the Bus and they shoot down the Garrett’s attackers. When the Bus lands, Hand’s men try to kill them all. The team escapes the Bus and goes to try to get to Hand. Simmons and Triplett are captured by Hand and her men. It is then revealed that Hand and her men are loyal to Shield when they ask Simmons and Triplett to join Hydra and they refuse. That’s how she knows she can trust them. Hand is convinced that Coulson is The Clairvoyant. Garrett accidentally gives himself away to Coulson. He is The Clairvoyant. Hand hears the entire conversation and knows she can trust Coulson. Hand and Coulson talk about the events at the Triskelion, including mentioning that Captain America has not resurfaced since he took down the Helicarriers. They also apparently do not know that Fury is alive. Hydra factions have taken control of some Shield facilities. They agree that it’s a power grab to see who, Shield or Hydra, can grab Shield’s bases and infrastructure. Hand is going to take Garrett to the Fridge. That facility is secure and Coulson says it has to stay that way. Ward asks to accompany Hand so he can personally lock up Garrett. Garrett was Ward’s SO. Hand speculates that she and Coulson are the two highest ranking Shield Agents still alive, but again they don’t know Fury is alive. The team begins repairs to the Bus.

“You still want me on board.” – Agent Melinda Mae
“You’re not a friend, but I do believe you’re an ally. We need all the allies we can get.” – Phil Coulson
“What are we planning to do next?” – Agent Melinda Mae
“Survive.” – Phil Coulson, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Turn, Turn, Turn”

It is hard to think of Coulson and Mae no longer being friends, but she kept so much from him, I can’t blame him. I really hope over the rest of this season and into the future, they can repair their relationship.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Agent Ward murders Victoria Hand and her men. He’s working with Garrett.

Agent Ward is Hydra.

Agent Ward…is Hydra.

Agent.  Ward.  is.  Hydra.

I’m going to go throw up now.

Thanks for reading!

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About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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