Captain America 2 - go see it... now... just go... why are you reading this when you could be seeing the movie??? -also *spoilers*
To say Marvel Studios has an ambitious plan, is at best, an understatement. Business Week's interview with Kevin Feige revealed that they have a movie continuity map that extends into 2028 with a planned two releases a year. So around another 27 films are planned after Captain America 2.
I... I just, I am boggled by a plan like that. And having now seen The Winter Soldier, I am completely excited about it. The reason Marvel's plan sounds like it might just be pulled off rather than saturating the market with to many superhero films is because they are embracing secondary genres to their films. The Winter Soldier is a superhero film, but it is also a political thriller. Guardians of the Galaxy (if you don't know what it is, look it up and get pumped) is a superhero film but also a giant space opera in the veins of Firefly.
Now we begin to enter spoiler territory, let's do a quick run down of the plot.
Cap is now working for the security agency Shield, going on covert missions with Black Widow. We see Shield is building an air fleet to take out threats before they arise. Nick Fury is suspicious and suddenly assassinated by the Winter Soldier. Cap and Black Widow go on the hunt whilst being chased down by Shield and the Winter Soldier, only to discover that Hydra; the agency dedicated to peace through 'cleansing' and control, is not dead but in fact alive and well within the walls of Shield. From then on it is a large third act as our five heroes, Cap, Black Widow, Maria Hill, Nick Fury (oh come on, you didn't think he would actually die did you?), and the new hero Falcon have to infiltrate Shield and take down both Shield and Hydra.
At the heart of this film it's asking what measure of freedom are we willing to sacrifice for protection? The film's position is about as subtle as a superhero but it doesn't hit you over the head with it; it's also a nice reversal of The Dark Knight. While that movie is amazing,the sacrifice of personal liberties is how Batman defeats the Joker. In contrast Captain America 2 is all about not sacrificing personal liberties for security, while still making a genuine case for why people would do so. Yes it is the science Nazi's Hydra who makes the case, but their reason is still very human. 'If your daughters were being taken out, about to be shot by terrorists, and you had the power to stop it, instantly without other casualties. Wouldn't you do it?'
I've heard this film touted as a brilliant spy political thriller. For those who are use to political thrillers they'll find the plot a little simple and easy to work out, the twists are pretty easy to pick with the exception of the decision to take down SHIELD as well. The strength is in the characters, we have a strong arc for Cap 2, Black Widow and Nick Fury as well as a weakish one for the Winter Soldier. Falcon doesn't have much of an arc, however we do get a strong sense of his personality and an incredibly bad-ass introduction to his wing suit and his humour as the 'I'm not cut out for this shit' person is played well and not overdone. If they end up giving a main character status to him in his own movie, Falcon could easily become one of my favourite Marvel Heroes.
The stand out however, was Black Widow. A friend of mine mentioned, 'Hello Captain America, and awful lot of you in my Black Widow movie'. While Cap is the emotional anchor for most of the story Scarlett Johansson really does steal the show. So it is unsurprising that there is such a call out for a Black Widow film to be made.
Yeah... I just wanted to include this image... for reasons.
The Marvel Stingers, so now I'm going to quickly run-down the things that are in the film that will most likely return in other Marvel movies. Please note, speculation and comic book geekery follow.
The Winter Soldier - In case you didn't stay till the end of the second after credits scene, we have a shot of the Winter Soldier, formerly Bucky Barnes looking over the history exhibit of himself, giving a pretty clear indication that rehabilitation is in the future for this character rather than tragic death. The other thing that suggests this, Bucky Barnes is important in the comic for a number of reasons. He had a romantic relationship with Black Widow, and more importantly he took the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rodgers death. Now, in a film universe the idea of killing a character like Captain America when there are plans going into 2028 seems strange. However there isn't a chance that the entire cast of the Avengers will be interested in hanging around for ever. In fact the first two to suggest they are ready to move on is Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans. Iron Man 3 gave a strong suggestion that Iron Man is ready to retire, while now it looks like Cap might pass on in the near future (Avengers 3 would be my guess).
The Carters - Peggy Carter was Captain America's best gal in the first movie. Cap 2 finally gives a bit of resolution on that having them talk. It also introduces Agent 13, Sharon Carter. Originally Peggy's sister in the comics and then her niece, Sharon is Cap's on and off girlfriend. I also have heard rumours of Peggy getting her own film or tv show, considering she was the creator of Shield. There is certainly a lot that can be done there. However, that is very much only a rumour at this point. And I have heard a lot of rumours.
Dr Steven Strange - Steven Strange gets name dropped twice in this film. For those who aren't familiar with the comic, Dr Strange is the sorcerer Supreme and one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe. He serves as protector of the earth from Magical and Mystical threats; and is one of those heroes where you have to conceive reasons for them not to be able to win. Much like the common complaints about Superman, Dr Strange is very possibly too powerful. So while I would put money on his film being the second movie for 2016 along side Captain 3 to be announced. I very much doubt we will see him in the line up of the Avengers.
The Twins - The first after credit scene shows a Hydra fort that has a set up for Avengers 2. The introduction of Quick Silver and Scarlett Witch. If you're familiar with the X-Men franchise you already know these characters. However due to Fox owning the rights to X-Men and the concepts of Mutants don't expect this to be a lead into a cross over. Their powers are unlikely to be explained and daddy Magneto will definitely not be mentioned, probably in favour of an orphan back story.
And... Oh so much more but I've wasted enough of your brain cells for a day, come on back later and expect far more musings on Marvel as well as my predictions on who characters we will see in Phase 3 and 4 of Marvel Studio's ambitious plan.
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