Since I saw the first Captain America movie, I knew Captain America was going to be my favorite of the Avengers. I mean, he’s such a gentleman! And he hails from the 1940’s, one of my favorite time periods in history! And Peggy Carter! Oh, I adored her too! But then, spoiler if you haven’t seen the first movie, when Steve crashes and he ends up asleep in ice for decades, of course this separates him and Peggy. SO sad! We saw him adjust to his new life in The Avengers, but we see more in The Winter Soldier.
First, my shorter, non-spoliery thoughts on the movie. I will always love the period feel of the first Captain America movie, but I do believe this was a better film. There is some great character development, the stakes are high, and there was a lot added to the overarching storyline of SHIELD. Steve has a bit of an identity crisis, but he works through and continues to act on what he knows is right, and there was never a heavy-handed *STEVE HAS FOUND HIMSELF* moment, but I think he did find his place in the end. This is a great movie for secondary characters as well with Nick Fury, Natasha/Black Widow, and Sam Wilson/The Falcon (a new character) all getting good screen time and moments in the film. If you’re a fan of the Marvel universe, I think you’ll really enjoy this latest installment.
So first off, the TV show Agents of SHIELD has clearly been setting up for what happened in this movie, and if you haven’t been watching it, I can only imagine that Fury showing Steve the message “SHIELD has been compromised” had to take you for an absolute loop. But on the show, we’ve been catching wind of something amiss. Now the exacts of it were definitely still surprising, to find out that SHIELD has been infiltrated by Hydra for decades reminded me of the movie Salt and was really surprising to me. Also, Agents of SHIELD has featured Agent Sitwell from time to time, so to find out in this movie that he’s with Hydra was a big deal, whereas it wouldn’t have been had I not been watching the show. So for the folks who gave up on the show or never gave it a chance, it’s gotten better, and now it’s clearly tying in with the movies. WATCH IT!
I liked that Nick Fury and Black Widow had larger roles in this movie. I was curious to see how Steve and Natasha would work as a team since they’re so different, but they worked well together. I loved how Steve actually took Fury’s advice to trust no one and was skeptical of Natasha until she proved herself. And I love that they team up with Sam Wilson, a military veteran who Steve meets turns out to be quite skilled in his own way.
I think most Marvel fans knew going into the movie that The Winter Soldier is, in fact, Steve’s old friend Bucky Barnes, who was experimented on (Steve rescues him from an operating table in the first movie, in case you have forgotten), and somehow was able to survive his nasty fall and then be turned into this villain of The Winter Soldier. I did hear one moviegoer in the theater with me audibly gasp once we finally get a good luck at Bucky’s face, and I could tell Steve certainly felt a gut punch in that moment as he realized it too. He tries to reason with his old friend, though it’s clear he does know who Steve is, but then at the very end, when he’s trying to figure it out… wow. I wonder if that’ll come back up. Marvel doesn’t seem to have arbitrary scenes in their movies though, so I’m thinking it must be important. That’ll be interesting.
Now, let’s talk about Peggy Carter. SHE’S IN THE MOVIE! (Hopefully you already knew that, if you’re down here reading the spoilery stuff.) We find out that she did marry a few years after Steve “died,” which is understandable, and we also find out that Steve has reconnected with her, and she is now of course elderly and living in some sort of assisted living or nursing home. At first it was really sweet as we watched the two of them talk like old friends, and I was so happy for some kind of closure with her and Steve, but then suddenly she got confused and was like, “Steve! You’re alive!” and oh my heart broke. Dementia. Uh it was so sad! Hasn’t poor Steve suffered enough?! And then we never got to see the two of them together again after that scene. It doesn’t detract too much from the movie, really, I just wish we could have ended on a better note with the two of them. But kudos to whoever did the makeup job on Haley Atwell because WOW, it looked so real.
Also speaking of Peggy, it’s clear Steve still cares for her, but he knows he needs to be open to meeting 21st century girls. But when Natasha asks Steve if she’s his first kiss since 1945 and he says no, I’m like, seriously?! He’s spent the whole movie acting like he has not been socializing with ladies and then suddenly he’s been kissing them? I don’t buy it. I’m just pretending that line doesn’t exist, or that he was being so sarcastic I couldn’t tell, because it didn’t feel in character. Maybe I care too much about my belief that Steve was a true, chivalrous romantic, but yeah, that line about the kissing is definitely not in my personal head canon.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed a lot about this movie and thought it was very solid. And I’m really curious to see the next Agents of SHIELD episode (which I am about 99% positive is going to be aftermath of this movie) on Tuesday, as well as see what’s in store for this ever-changing universe.
What are your thoughts on Captain America: The Winter Soldier?