Superheroes get Political

They even managed to rope Robert Redford in there to makes sure you realize there is political subtext.

Movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Release: April 4, 2014
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders

The seeds of S.H.I.E.L.D. being a bit more sinister than originally thought were planted in The Avengers and they developed into a badass tree. I want to send these guys a big cookie bouquet because this is a Steve Rodgers I can watch. Plus a Danny Pudi cameo makes for a splendid geeky happy moment (the directors got the nod for this movie because of their work on Community). Rodgers is still a saint and he does go for the martyr moment (kinda), but the shiny moral America he came from is gone and he has to figure his place in the new not so respectable America. Rodgers didn’t become a dark and broody hero and that is great, he just grew up and realized the greatest generation pulled some dick moves after the war and led us into darker times.

Rodgers’ uniform and shield in The First Avenger were abundant with the patriotism. America is the best country ever, democracy rules all, and he will defend her till the end. The flag waving patriot inside of him is starting to fade in The Winter Soldier. Even his uniform in the beginning of the movie is not so bright with the whole red-white-and-blueness, it had become a mix of blue and grey. In the big end fight, he goes back to the retro look and has a bit of the shine again because he is back to fighting an enemy he can see, not mucking his way thru the political ideas he can’t understand.

One of the biggest reasons I love sci-fi/fantasy movies, books, and TV shows (comic books and superheroes fall into that genre) is they can tell any kind of story in a new and unique way. Battlestar Galatica is an allegory for the war on terror, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV show) used horror to talk about the extremes teenagers face in high school, the Sookie Stackhouse novels (and True Blood) was a metaphor of the acceptance of homosexuality, Firefly took the problems the US faced rebuilding after the Civil War and put it in the future with spaceships and cowboys, and so on and so forth. The Winter Soldier takes on the extremes our government has gone to in post 9/11 times under the guise of protection (whether from terrorists or ourselves) to chip away at our freedoms and the fact that we willingly have handed these freedoms over to them. Enough with the heavy, all that political talk has other sites.

The movie is not without any flaws. I totally called that Bucky Barnes was going to be the Winter Soldier when the title was announced without ever having to look at the comics cause, hello, he was experimented on and he fell into the snow in The First Avenger. It seemed like the best bet considering NO ONE MAJOR IN THE MCU HAS DIED SO FAR. And come on with the whole killing Fury thing. Though, his tombstone is genius.

I did not see S.H.I.E.L.D. is really Hydra thing coming. Made for a cool surprise and a good explanation as to why all of a sudden we did not see S.H.I.E.L.D. in Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. Ultron is supposed to explain exactly why they were not there and why Rodgers didn’t call the other Avengers, but I think it is because all three of the movies happened over a very short period of time. I know Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place in there too, but if you think about it, the time span the show covers is not that long (maybe a couple of weeks if that long?). More about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that theory later.

Some fun with other movie references. Before Agent Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez) met his untimely end, he mentions the algorithm is targeting Banner and Stark, but he also talks about a high school Valedictorian in Iowa City (hello Peter Parker!) and Steven Strange (coming in 2016!).

The bitter taste in Rodgers’ mouth from the events of this movie will have a lingering effect during Ultron and Civil War. He has seen what too much government control will do and I think this is the argument that will turn Tony Stark against Rodgers. Ultron will be created to destroy Hydra agents and bases all around the world. His wires get all fried or whatever and then he tries to destroy the world. This along with the appearance of even more super powered people will cause various governments to flip and want to regulate what powered people do. Tony, feeling guilty over creating Ultron, will be all about this, but Rodgers wants none of it. After seeing how the government tends to muck things up after the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., he is not going to want to work for another agency. I can see Black Widow, Barnes, and Falcon siding with Rodgers. James Rhodes will be with Stark for sure (he is in the military, so he is all about regulation), but I don’t know who else might be with him too. What do you guys think?

The two end credits scenes are what they are, more set up for Ultron. There is the (correct) assumption that the stone in Loki’s scepter is another Infinity Stone and that is what Hydra uses to create the Twins. I think the stone is going to be what makes Ultron go all batty. They destroy the base seen in the mid-credits and take the scepter back home, Ultron gets a hold of it and it does something to him. Barnes looking all lost at his section in the Captain America exhibit is him trying to figure out who is really is and he is going to come looking for Rodgers to find out more. I think that will play out more in Civil War than Ultron.

What did you guys think of Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What are your theories for Ultron and Civil War? Are there any sci-fi/fantasy movies, books, and TV shows you love that are actually about something else? Talk to me in the comments section. Next up Guardians of the Galaxy!

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The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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