Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dissecting the Winter Soldier trailers

Well, yesterday was a little long-winded, wasn't it?

Today should be a little shorter.... yeah, no, probably not

Here’s my rundown of stuff you can draw from the assorted promotional materials.

Some of these are SPOILERS, you HAVE BEEN WARNED.

And some of these are ... well, they are MAYBE spoilers, bit and pieces collected from what we know of the Winter Soldier plot (covered yesterday) and the Marvelverse at large, and just plain old-fashioned speculation.

So, SPOILERS and SPOILERS...maybe.

In the words of Heath Ledger, here ... we .... go! [below the break]

Paranoia and conspiracies.

You may have noticed one or two things in the trailers posted yesterday that was a little paranoia-ish.If you didn’t pick up on this vibe, you weren’t paying attention. From shots of SHIELD’s arsenal to Cap beating up a bunch of agents in an elevator, it’s pretty obvious that the idealistic World War II hero is going to find himself pitted against the more modern intelligence community. Add to that a shadowy assassin (potentially the person Robert Redford is talking to when he says, “Your work has shaped the century”) and your story begins to take on the dimensions of major American myth.

 We've seen SHIELD on SHIELD violence. Fury being shot at, perhaps helicarriers firing on helicarriers, an airship crashing into the Triskelion, the Black Widow apparently on the run, out in the cold with Cap, a lot of images of SHIELD seemingly fighting itself and/or failing the people it’s supposed to be supporting. American-looking fighter planes chase the Falcon around the helicarrier. Cap argues with Nick Fury about SHIELD policy. Fury warns Cap not to trust anybody. Is that because the threat—whatever it is—is closer than Cap would like to admit?

And they have Robert Redford, ultra-leftist, in a Captain America movie ... how is he NOT the bad guy?  

The directors have insisted that this is a nod to 1970s paranoid thrillers like Three Days of the Condor, which was all about "the evil government wants oil!" So, Captain America will be running a lot.

Steve seems to spend a lot of time in these scenes walking around in civilian clothes—at least once, seemingly through a museum exhibit dedicated to his wartime exploits. The ensemble even includes the traditional hero-incognito baseball cap. But he’s still seen carrying the shield and getting shot at—and fighting the Winter Soldier—in that civilian garb.

Something else from the trailers....


Nyet, comrade. I suspect cameras are involved
Cap in love? 

Yes, that’s a set photo of Steve and Natasha making out.

No, I don’t believe it. Unless fanfiction writers have taken over this script. But the last Captain America movie was pretty darn romantic for a film with only one major female character. With Natasha giving Steve romantic advice in that early scene, it looks like she’s getting involved with his personal life. And while Natasha could have any of a billion reasons for that involvement, Steve is pretty straightforward with his emotions. If he falls for Natasha, he’s serious about it. And that can’t go anywhere good.

However, Sharon Carter, Cap's other love interest, is also in the film. So.... muahahahahaha.

The Falcon.
See that guy with the metal wings? That’s Sam Wilson, a.k.a. the Falcon, one of the first African American superheroes. In the comics, Sam was powered by the Red Skull with a fancy wing-suit and a telepathic link with birds, including a hawk named Redwing. and sent to kill Captain America. That worked as well as can be expected, and the two of them ended up best friends and partners. The relationship was notable at the time (the 1970s) for being something pretty close to a real partnership, too; while Steve was obviously giving Sam tips on superheroing, Sam held his own remarkably well in those stories, and wasn't nearly as stereotyped as typical portrayals of black characters from the same period (see: early Luke Cage). 

Also, Falcon started out wearing green and purple spandex, something that the actor actually said he wanted to try, instead of a flight suit, seen above. Obviously, this is a man who has never, ever been in spandex. Ever.

Anyway ...Steve and Sam routinely describe each other as brothers—a term Steve reserves for Sam, Bucky and a couple of war buddies, and that Sam uses only for Steve. While this Falcon is apparently a SHIELD agent rather than a creation of the Red Skull, he seems to have the same deep and instant loyalty to Steve Rogers. It’s good to see him up on the screen; this movie needs a rock like Sam Wilson.

Robert Redford.

As mentioned earlier, that’s Robert Redford. And he seems to be talking to Steve Rogers about the need to tear down an old world and build a new one … but is he talking to Steve? 

At one point, he’s heard saying, “Your work has shaped the century. And I need you to do it one more time.” Steve was pretty impressive in the war and everything, but shaping a century? That sounds more like a description of the Winter Soldier and his involvement in key assassinations throughout the Cold War. And with the role of spy-mentor already filled by Nick Fury, Redford’s character is looking more and more sinister... outside of being ROBERT REDFORD. Yeesh. He might has well have a neon sign over his head.

The best use of Redford would be as a red herring -- he's not the bad guy, will be the good guy, maybe even the best man of all, but I can't bring myself to believe it Cap’s got a long history in the comics of going up against bad guys in suits who seemed innocuous at first. Is Redford’s character the next in a long line?

The current theory is that Robert Redford is the Red Skull, older and Back! From! Spaaaaccceeee! after he pissed off the cosmic Rubix cube in the first film. Skull really enjoys mind-controlling, impersonating, and body-snatching people in power..  And Red Skull will always be Captain America's enemy. Even if he isn't on screen, he'll probably be in the background.

Oh, and the alphabet block from Hell has also played as a home for Skull's brain more than a few times. if the Red Skull did happen to be in there, the entire Avengers film probably would have woken him up. And SHIELD owned it for a bit, so .... bad things will happen.  Period.

Though it might be a touch too obvious.  But, still, Redford, evil.

Nick Fury having a bad day.
His car gets blown up and ripped apart by the Winter Soldier, SHIELD is going bonkers all around him, and Steve quotes “Fury’s last words” (which might be his last words before he apparently died, or just the last thing he said before disappearing). And someone with Fury’s skin tone is seen as a patient in an operating room. When ol’ One-Eye goes from running an international law-enforcement organization to being dead or missing, it’s a bad day for the free world, and a worse day for Steve Rogers. There’s even a scene that appears to show Natasha walking out of a congressional hearing about intelligence operations.

Fury’s major weakness is bureaucrats who can go over his head to get things done. How high do the bad guys go? And how low will Fury have to sink to beat them? Answer: as low as he can get. 

Also see: "Coulson kept his Captain America cards in his locker, not his jacket."  Yes, Fury is a m-fing BASTARD.

For the record, a spoiler: if Nick Fury "dies" in this film, he's going to get better. As in "you didn't touch me, sucka." The comic book Fury is so manipulative, this is a guy who has messed with every major superhero at least once, and didn't get his guts torn out -- this list included calm, relaxed folks like Wolverine.

Okay, let's look at a storyline caled Secret War -- no, not the one from the 80s, from the last decade.  Fury recruits every superhero in New York (ie: most of them) and brings them to Latveria to stop the Prime Minister from selling off all of Doctor Doom's technology to the highest bidder (Doom is temporarily in Hell at the time. Long story). Fury gets the heroes in, and assassinates the PM, and then mindwipes everyone so they don't remember it happened.

Later, when blowback happens and no one remembers why it's happening, Fury explains what happened.  Wolverine, who doesn't react well to having his mind messed with yet again, pops his claws and shreds Nick Fury.

Fury's robotic decory calmly answers, "Logan did you really think I'd be dumb enough to tell you this in person? I'm going off grid for a while. Bye."

Someone talk to the artist.
I think they enhanced ScarJo too much.
I don't mind, it's just that I can see it.
Black Widow.

Don't hold your breath on a Romanov/Rogers romance. Seriously, just don't.

The Marvel movies have been hinting around at the Black Widow’s history for a while now. From the effortless way she infiltrated Tony Stark’s life in Iron Man 2 to her loaded conversations with Loki and Hawkeye in The Avengers, she’s always come across like a complicated character with a long backstory.

Now she’s been promoted to second billing, right after Cap himself, and she’s in a lot of scenes in those videos. Most importantly, she’s the one seen telling Steve—reluctantly—about the Winter Soldier and his legend.

Are we finally going to get to see where the Black Widow comes from? Is the movie Black Widow going to have her own history with the Winter Soldier?

Since ScarJo is getting her own Black Widow film, I'm going to say.... not yet.

Agent 13

This isn't in the trailers, but Emily van Camp is listed in the cast of this movie as “Agent 13”, but she hasn't been seen except for that extremely brief shot of her in the UK trailer. Considering the huge importance of Sharon Carter in the Winter Soldier comics storyline, her absence is conspicuous. They're obviously going to have Sharon as a a surprise. 

So, Agent 13 is the neighbor for Captain America ... I wouldn't put it past the boys from SHIELD (read: Fury) to assign Cap a new best friend / lover / babysitter / spy.  After all, Steve has no friends in the twenty-first century, and doesn’t seem interested in making any. He apparently spends his free time alone in the gym. That kind of isolation is not healthy, so I wouldn't be surprised if SHIELD tried to set a valuable operative up with some “starter friends” to ease him into his new situation. 

The last thing SHIELD needs is a self-destructive superhero. Besides, why would Captain America have normal neighbors? Wouldn't they at least need to be vetted by SHIELD just to live in the same building?

For the record: I love the idea of Emily van Camp as Agent 13. Words can't express how much I like the idea. On Revenge, she's basically playing someone in a long-term, deep cover operation, maipulating people to self-destruction.  I've also seen her fight, and I've seen her wearing black versions of Agent 13's white body suit.

1 comment:

  1. Reading your blog makes me even more enthusiastic for the film. I really want to see how right you are, and where you may have missed the mark. Knowing your penchant for interpreting the miniscule details given from the trailers, I'm sure you are not that far off. Plus your familiarity with the source material is always entertaining and informative for those of us who may have not been exposed to it. Looking forward to the next installment of your blog! :)


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