When it comes to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, there are two types of people who will be watching over the coming months. Those that are comic book fans and those that are not. This is an important point, because what many believe to be the big reveal is, in fact, not the big reveal for many who will watch it. Either way, that reveal is to me, an avid (rabid?) comic book fan, is about the fourth most important thing you should have picked up from watching this movie. My point being this, when you’re watching keep an eye out for some of the smaller things because in a movie about subterfuge, subtlety is often key.
As I mentioned in Disney Film Project’s 2014 Preview Episode, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a movie drawing on a number of key things. To start with you have to remember that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a spy agency, and in modern culture due to certain events, such things aren’t looked at favorably or heroically. So it became necessary for the creators of the film to roll with that in order to create a story that will, I promise, lead to a better, stronger, and more heroic organization then what you’ve already seen. To be more specific would be spoiling this movie and a bit of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Winter Soldier was a character introduced to comics in 2005 by Ed Brubaker as part of what was considered to be another revival of Captain America himself. Pretty much right off fans were excited despite that they knew the “big secret”, because the journey was about Cap discovering it for himself and then working to track down The Winter Soldier and help him to regain his self and sanity by regaining his memories. In comic books, this involves a Cosmic Cube (movie fans will call this the Tesseract), and is going to be the basis for Captain America 3: The Hunt For The Red Skull (okay I made that title up, but that’s what I want it to be). By the time you get up from your seat, you’ll know what related device will be the Chekhov’s Gun for that film when it happens.
Also in 2005, as part of the Ultimate Universe from which much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe derives, came a story called Ultimate Nightmare created by Warren Ellis. In it Nick Fury pulls together a strike team including himself and three superheroes: Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon. Sound familiar? It should, this is the same team that was picked for this movie. This team is one of my absolute favorites to come from the Ultimate Universe, and it made me extremely excited to know they would be at the core of this movie. Seeing them on screen, the buildup of absolute trust that they accrue toward each other throughout, and watching their character growth in this movie is one of the major reasons this movie is enjoyable.
Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falon, is done fantastically in the film. He’s always been a hard character to present well, but also since 2005 he’s really come into his own as a solid character who no longer feels like a tag along / second fiddle. He is after all the second most important Captain America partner (the term “sidekick” doesn’t fit him. Keep in mind too that in comic books he’s not only teamed with Cap, he’s actually put on the uniform and been Captain America, and is actually an Avenger. He also got awesome mechanical wings and guns which make for some of the best action moments in this film.
After you get up from the film you’ll probably want to look up these names as they most likely play into future Captain America movies based on the way things are going (hint: you’ll already have seen 3 of them):
This movie is just extremely solid for the first part of a storyline that took more than 5 years to tell in comic books. It is designed in the same magical way that Marvel has created all their movies from Iron Man forward: appealing to movie fans, and appeasing the comic book fan at the same time. It’s a mix that other movie and comic companies simply haven’t yet, and may never, figure out how to deliver on. Will everyone like this movie? No, overall a lot of Avengers fans didn’t like Captain America: The First Avenger. But plenty will love this movie and it is going to rock a lot of socks, and the box office.
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