Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Friends Forever

For those of you new to this, I’ve been challenged by a good friend to watch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe before Avengers: Infinity War leaves the theaters. I’m writing down my thoughts about each movie so I can share them with that person.

Dear V,

Watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier taught me something: it taught me that I don’t know Hindi. It took a couple minutes but finally I remembered to flip the language track on the video I was watching. For a little bit, I thought I just couldn’t understand what they were saying. Yep, that was a moment for me. (grins)

When Natasha picks Cap up from his run, she does so in a Corvette. I hate to say this, but I really think Dodge Vipers are nicer.

I do like me some sports cars. (Just a quick note: with the way I drive, I really don’t need one.) And yes, this was my exact thought.

So, on the mission Cap gets sent on by S.H.I.E.L.D., he gets into a fight with a bad guy who knows some form of martial arts. It always amazes me how many bad guys know martial arts, you know? And how quickly the superheroes pick it up, if they didn’t know it before. Almost as though the fight was choreographed or something.

During all this, Natasha is trying to get Cap to ask someone out. I wonder if she has a crush on him and by the time the movie is over, yes, I think she does. But then don’t we all?

When Cap discovers Project: Insight and what S.H.I.E.L.D. is planning to do with it — to have three aircraft carriers in the sky with weapons and someone to decide who will die depending on traits that determine what they will do in the future — understandably, he’s upset. After all, what is less idealistic than determinism — which is what they’re talking about after all?

The American way — the American Dream — idealistically has been that, through hard work and sacrifice, you, too, can be successful. Not getting into politics at the moment, but, to me, that’s what I believe the American Dream is about. It’s not about having your fate determined for you — in fact, that was one of the reasons we left England. It’s about free will and being able to make our own way. Now, realistically, this may or may not bring success because there are a myriad of factors involved, factors that some think are unfair, or need to be controlled, or even need to be equal throughout the population — but that doesn’t really concern us here. Cap is the embodiment of the idealistic American Dream.

Note: I do still believe in the American Dream — it’s hard to be American and not believe in it. No one’s path is going to be equal — ever — and I’m not sure it should be. America’s not perfect, but I love my country and her ideals and I do think working hard and doing your best, you can still be all that you can be. I just think that somewhere along the line, we’ve veered off of the path. End of idealistic political rambling.

After Cap and Nick Fury end their argument, Cap goes to the exhibit about himself in the Smithsonian. The exhibit recaps what happened in the original Capt American movie in such a way that it completely meshes with the storyline of this one. Cap is reminiscing about the past and his friends who helped him achieve what he probably couldn’t have done alone. And we see the plaque on Bucky Barnes, Cap’s best friend, who died after falling from a train during one of those missions.

I loved that Cap went to see Agent Carter in the nursing home. For me, this hits one a personal level as I grew up with a grandmother who was an RN in a nursing home. She would bring us children in (all four of us) and the faces of the residents would light up when they saw us. We were taught that, in many cases, these people had no one ever who came by to see them. Their families put them in a home and then would never visit. It’s hard and can be a little distressing to see your relative or, in this case, your friend and love interest in that type of situation. I’m sure you understand that. So, to see Cap go and see her made me happy. But then of course he would go, right? She’s the only one left out of the people he knew — or at least, the most important one. The end of their visit made me think perhaps she has Alzheimer’s or just memory problems but I could have read that wrong.

So now we have Cap questioning orders. As stated before, the soldier in him is ready to follow orders but the compassionate side of him is why he’s Captain America after all. He wasn’t chosen because he was a great soldier, but because he was a good man.

Driving from a building in Washington to, I’m guessing, S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters, someone tries — very hard — to kill Nick Fury. (After all that shooting and mess, we still don’t get a “motherfucker” from SLJ, damnit. Yeah, yeah, Disney and all that.) He ends up in Cap’s apartment, believing him to be the only one he can trust, and gives him a flash drive before telling him not to trust anyone and a bomb is thrown in the window.

Two sentences here and I think they came from Cap parking his motorcycle outside. First of all, I love that Cap has a motorcycle — but, of course he does, right? Next, for some reason I thought it would be even cooler if Cap were gay. Yes, yes, comic book world, chill out — he’s not , to my knowledge— but my brain is going there (perhaps because he keeps telling Natasha no over the people she’s suggesting). The new character, the black guy he kept passing at the beginning, would definitely have to have been his lover. Of course, having him be gay AND having a black lover? Can you hear some of the comic book fans that are throwing fits? Bah, ignore them. I think it would be cool.

So, as said, we find Nick Fury in Cap’s apartment and Fury tells Cap S.H.I.E.L.D is compromised and not to trust anyone, giving him a flash drive.

I’ve been looking for the real bad guy here — found him in the guy with the bomb. He’s got a mask on though, so we can’t see his face.

Boom goes the apartment and Nick dies in the hospital with Cap, Natasha, and Fury’s second-in-command who deserves a name, I just don’t know what it is. Aha! It’s Marie Hill and not only do I like her in these movies, she quite attractive and sexy herself. Even in uniform ;)

I think I like Scarlet Johansson’s hair curly rather than straight. Not sure I liked it this whole movie. Almost gave me a reason not to trust her. Well, Fury did say not to trust anyone — and because of scriptwriting and filmmaking, I expected Cap to trust the wrong person and having it backfire on him. And in this movie, the one person he trusted was Natasha Romanoff (Even when Angelicized, I love Russian names — that’s partly why I named my daughter, Natasha).

The secretary above Nick Fury in S.H.I.E.L.D., Secretary Pierce (none other than Robert Redford) tries to intimidate Cap, telling him about Project: Insight, trying to get Cap to tell him what Fury was doing inside Cap’s apartment.

One quote I found interesting from Pierce: “To build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down.” I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place — yep, even in elementary school — but tearing the old one down would never have occurred to me.

What Cap doesn’t realize is that by not telling Pierce why Fury was in his apartment to begin with causes Pierce to send the troops after him, to either kill him or detain him, or both.

But instead of taking Fury’s last words to heart, he trusts Natasha and they try to find out what’s on the flash drive that’s so important S.H.I.E.L.D. would kill him for it.

It’s Natasha who tells us about The Winter Soldier, an assassin with a metal left arm who is near myth, but she’s seen him and even been shot by him.

Natasha and Cap go to a mall to find a kiosk in an attempt to determine what’s on the drive. It’s unreadable, but they can trace the location where the files on the drive came from. New Jersey.

Natasha’s ideas about fitting in with the mall visitors are great. At one point, she has him put his arm around her and laugh. At another, on the opposite side of the elevator from one of the bad guys, she has him kiss her because “most people find public displays of affection uncomfortable.”

When they stop kissing, she says, “You still unconfortable?” He responds with, “That’s not exactly the word I would use.” I giggled. Yes, I’m about 12 sometimes. OR is this more of a cultural thing… other cultures (like Sweden) don’t teach their children it’s dirty and secretive to be aroused by the thought of an erection. At least, I don’t think so. So, is it a cultural joke or is this one that transcends?

Natasha and Cap head to NJ and they find out it’s the place Cap was trained — I.e. boot camp. Exploring the building gives them a secret elevator to go down and then they find that the Red Skull’s Hydra scientist, Dr. Zola — well, his brain, anyway — has been put onto old computer tapes.

And just like in all the other movies, the villain’s secret plan is revealed. Hydra infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. And at this point, Hydra “has created a world so chaotic that humanity is finally ready to sacrifice its freedom to gain its security.”

And this is a big line, both in the movie and outside of it. Which is more important to people: freedom or security? It’s easy to say freedom, but when it comes down to it, really which is more important t? I’d like to think that I would say freedom — but security is awfully high on that list. But once you start putting security as more important, it’s easy for an authoritarian state to swoop in and start removing freedoms one at a time. Because the most important freedom we have? The most important freedom we have is that we can do the “wrong thing.”

And that building is blown up. Cap and Natasha are saved by his shield.

So we once again see the Winter Soldier at Pierce’s house, halfway masked in darkness — which means we’d know who he was if we saw his face. It’s here that I start thinking that the Winter Soldier is Bucky. (Not quite sure why they gave him that name though.)

Cap and Natasha hide out at Sam’s house (Sam’s Cap’s new friend) and while they’re discussing what’s going on. Sam decides he want in and gives them a file on what he did for the Army.

His line: “Captain America needs my help. No better reason to get back in.”

Garry Shandling seems to be gaining weight with each movie I see him in and his “hail Hydra” to Agent Sitwell surprised me.

Oh, and by the way, the Falcon wings are COOL!

The three of them capture Sitwell and he tells them that Dr Zola’s legacy was an algorithm that evaluates people’s past (online, bank records, medical records, etc.) to predict their future. Bruce Banner’s name was mentioned and so was, suprisingly enough Steven Strange’s. Now I’m all hyped for the Doctor Strange movie and I’ve already seen it once.

After we know all this, now it’s time for the Winter Solider to ambush and attack the three. So, who’s the Winter Solider? Since the beginning, I assumed that, because the director kept his face hidden, it meant we would know who he was by his appearance. My guess? Bucky Barnes, Cap’s best friend who died on the train in the winter (is that really the way to choose an assassin name? C’mon). And I was…. (drum roll please) yeah, of course I was right on this one. Marvel doesn’t really do subtle.

We find out Dr Zola was experimenting on Bucky and essentially created an assassin and froze him, for Hydra to release him at the right time. Hydra has been scrambling his mind so he doesn’t remember who he is. Sure, okay, we’ll roll with it.

We also find out that Nick Fury is still alive and faked his death so the people who were coming after him would stop. He didn’t tell anyone about it because he wasn’t sure who to trust. Interestingly enough, the camera then pans to Natasha. It seems like the director was trying to set up Natasha with being person that Cap and Fury shouldn’t have trusted, but none of that pans out, although it’s used a smidge later.

So, Cap, Natasha, Hill, and Sam (who is Falcon, one of Cap’s comic book sidekicks — yes, I had to look) decide that they have to reprogram all three of the helicarriers so Hydra can’t get their ultimate weapon in the air.

Cap needs his uniform so he goes to the Smithsonian and takes his old one off the mannequin. There can be no subtlety with Captain America. No real stealth, no question of who you’re fighting. If you see the red, white and blue, it’s Cap.

Cap announces to all members and employees of S.H.I.E.L.D. that the organization has been taken over by Hydra. And if he wants an army, there’s his army — the men and women of S.H.I.E.L.D. who aren’t Hydra spies.

I like how the computer guy stands up to one of the bad guys and tells him no, knowing that his denial would most likely get him killed (as the guy has a gun pointed at his head). And it’s a standoff with everyone pulling guns on everyone else. Do I remember who shot first? Nope, but I remember seeing the bad guy shoot at the computer guy as he rolls under his desk and then a few shots later, seeing that the computer guy is okay.

While all this is going on, Pierce has the council in his office. He threatens to kill them and Natasha, hiding as the councilwoman, does her martial arts thing to make him stand down. She begins releasing all the data on the flash drive then all the data from S.H.I.E.L.D. onto the Internet. Pierce reminds her that she’s releasing her backstory and history as well, a history that she’s not been super proud of in any of these movies. She tells him she knows and does it anyway. That would have been the only chance to really use the idea of her betraying Cap and Fury — but we’ve seen her admiration and love for Fury throughout the movie — we know she’s not going to betray him.

A thought: Project: Insight is very close to the same idea that Minority Report with Tom Cruise used, however instead of psychics who would tell when the next murder would occur and who would do it beforehand, instead we have an algorithm that’s going to do the same, only in a little bit more believable way.

So the helicarriers are dispatched of. Easy, right? Well, the Winter Soldier (hereafter called Bucky) comes after Cap and he has no desire to fight the person who he still sees as his best friend. Cap defends himself but doesn’t attack Bucky as he attacks him. When the ship is blown (along with the other two), Cap rescues Bucky from underneath an iron bar. Bucky gets the upperhand and we see Cap fall from the sky and land in the water, sinking underneath. Bucky saves him and leaves him on the shoreline as I thought he probably would.

So, what I’m interested in seeing in Avengers: Age of Ultron is what the repercussions of this movie are.

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Kari J. Wolfe

Never-ending student in the realms of writing fiction/nonfiction and telling stories. Hopeless wannabe equestrian learning from a distance.