As we near the end of Phase II in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron as the final two installment before beginning Phase III, Captain America: The Winter Soldier adds tons of new paths for the movies in Phase III. It gives you an insight into what Iron Man 4, Ant-Man, Thor 3, a possible Hulk with Mark Ruffalo, and most of all, Captain America 3 might have to offer. It presents tons of potential, which Marvel can take advantage of or just tie off easily. Before I talk about that and really get into some spoilers, let me say a few words about the movie.
The Winter Soldier was one of Marvel’s best movies since 2008. It had a little bit of everything that you want from a quality movie: good acting, some laughs, some tears, some nail-biting, some jaw dropping action scenes, a reliable soundtrack, some amazing effects and scenery, and some plot twists that kept you intrigued. It brought you some heroes you know and love and some new ones as well. It also introduced some anti-heroes, some villains, some super-villains (you could argue) and as I mentioned before, contributed a ton to the Marvel movie-verse.
Overall, it lacked the romantic connection that the first Captain America created between Peggy and Cap. This is personal preference, but I care about story and I love a good romance. Therefore, what they did in Captain America 1 really worked well for me. I know this because it made me want a relationship between the two even though they never really had it. Sure, in House of M, they got married but they later divorced. That wasn’t satisfying and the closure with Peggy in this movie was as lively as a piece of cardboard, for me. He had cut all ties, she acted like she moved on, and I was not happy! But that’s a total aside, I can’t believe I went into so much depth about that so let me just cut that off now! (You can comment if you want to know how I feel about that whole situation.)
Now for some spoilers, so turn away, or read even closer. The movie was filled with references to characters in the Marvel universe. Rumlow, the guy who was roasted in the end (but alive) is arguably the Cap’s most consistent super-villain. As Crossbones, he is Red Skull’s henchmen and he is the person who assassinated the Captain in Marvel’s Civil War. You get the idea he’ll make a comeback since they showed his battered body… alive. Also, there is a lot more to Batroc the Leaper than the movie shows. I loved the casting of my favorite mixed martial artist, GSP, as the role. He is sort of a funny villain as he has fought everyone with his huge ego and sense of honor, leaping around ridiculously and always getting beaten. He’s great.
When Hydra was listing all their threats, there were a few names that appeared but one stood out. Bruce Banner, Anthony Stark, Maria Hill… Steven Strange. OH YEAH! Doctor Strange was mentioned so they have to bring him in soon! I think he might help the team out in Phase III when they finally go to take on the villain of the whole movie-verse (in my opinion), Thanos. Looking forward to that. Also, for those of you who saw it and don’t know who Agent 13 is… she is Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter’s “niece” and Cap’s main love interest, period. (There is hope for the Cap/Chris Evans in this movie-verse!)
But let’s get to the real good stuff, the endings! One shows that Nick Fury has burned the secret stash of SHIELD and will chase Hydra members. (SHIELD really always comes back in the comics, so yeah.) The Winter Soldier checks out his exhibit in the Smithsonian… BUCKY! (We need him to take Cap’s place when he dies!) Cap is going with Falcon to find Bucky. Natasha is going to find herself a new identity. Agent Hill is working for Stark. Sharon is in the CIA. Oh wait, that’s all the boring stuff. Here is the good stuff!
Baron Strucker, a Hydra big boss, acknowledges that SHIELD and Hydra are no longer powerful, basically. But he is! He has Loki’s Staff that was given to him by Thanos. (Strucker, don’t steal anything from Thanos… maybe he is working for him now!) But even more amazingly, and this was one of the best parts of the whole movie, he has Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver, I think, is going to be in Days of Future Past. I don’t know what that means since X-Men hasn’t (unfortunately) been included in the Marvel movie-verse. And more importantly, Scarlet Witch is sort of awesome so between her and Dr. Strange being introduced, that’s just great.
END OF SPOILERS
So all in all, I think most casual movie-goers, Marvel nerds, and film critics will find enough points of greatness in this film to say it was worth the trip. And while I did not love the story, since they teased me with Cap/Peggy in the first one so much, it had enough extra laughs and references to make it worthwhile. Go see it! And as always…stay hungry and fit!
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