kate_nepveu: Captain America's shield (Captain America)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu

Okay, here's how this is going to go. I have a bunch of stuff I wrote before the movie, because I thought it would be useful in assessing it after and also I was indulging my anxiety because I really wanted this movie not to suck. That's first. And then I'm going to feelings-dump until I have to stop, and then I'm going to read all your spoilery posts, and then I'll probably be back tomorrow to talk some more about things other people have said.

(Oh, and guys? You know there's two post-credits scenes, by this point, right?)

What I knew going in:


  1. Winter Soldier = Bucky, obviously.

  2. Something is rotten at SHIELD.

  3. The Winter Soldier goes after Fury, who ends up in the hospital.

  4. Steve and Natasha go on the run.

  5. Steve makes a gauntlet-throwing speech to SHIELD, leaning over a console?

  6. Meeting Falcon.

  7. Peggy reunion scene somewhere.

  8. Major setpieces: some opening sequence that I didn't watch; Steve in the elevator; a city-streets one (Fury's car blown up & Steve/WS knife fight); Steve chasing the WS through offices; a highway based one? (WS using metal fingers to brake, ripping cars apart; also SHIELD attacking Steve on his bike?); Helicarrier crash(es).



Major things I didn't know:


  1. Robert Redford's character's role. I assumed he was a bad dude, and connected with the Russians somehow, but I wasn't sure how it would play out.

  2. Why the Winter Soldier was going after people now, though honestly I do not expect to care that much; I thought the Macguffin plot of the first movie was just marking time.

  3. Whether the endgame was Bucky recovering his memories, or merely being defanged as the Winter Soldier.

  4. Whether the movie was keeping Natasha's Red Room backstory (trained by Bucky, lovers, much older than she looks, though I suppose theoretically the last one could be dropped if the Red Room survived the fall of the USSR?).


Also: I didn't actually have many feelings about Bucky. I was too occupied with Steve and Peggy in the first movie, and I don't have a comics background. (And, unlike many people of my acquaintance, I don't find him particularly pleasing to look at.) So I was eager for this movie for Steve, and Natasha, and also to meet Falcon, and I was perfectly willing to obtain feelings about Bucky, because the storyline is compelling, but I don't want to break out in italics to convey my feelings about him, you know?

Okay, that was a lot of throat-clearing to work out my anxiety over this movie not sucking. What did I think?

Here are the SPOILERS, in case you missed it somehow. Some spoilers for the rest of the MCU, too.

Not perfect, but I'm still really happy. I think I will resort again to numbered lists to, not so much corral my feelings, as allow me to jump from feeling to feeling without the need for transitions:


  1. Steeeevvve. That's the character I adored in the first movie, you're back, ALL THE FEELINGS, KEYSMASH.

  2. Sam Wilson: cutest meet-cute, you're adorable and badass, I love you, fandom, prove me wrong and do well by your tragic backstory, your hard-won well-adjusted self, and your epic journey with Steve to recover Bucky—all of which is way more fodder to work with than Clint Barton. Ahem. (Also, your flying scenes were great.)

  3. Natasha: you're adorable and a badass, I love you, I ship you and Steve harder than ever and now I have way more to base that on.

  4. (Well, okay, the movie's truest OTP is Steve/his shield, but I'm sure he has room for more than one significant relationship in his life.)

  5. I love the way this movie destabilizes things so productively. Steve out of SHIELD, Natasha reassessing her life, Fury burning his eyepatch, so many possibilities opened up.

  6. There's always the problem, which Avengers had too, which is that when you have corrupt institutions in a genre of fantasy of political agency, sub-category superhero, you never get a truly satisfactory answer to the problem of corrupt institutions. The answer is always "superheroes," which is to say, these individuals who are also not answerable to anyone, just we like them better. Instead of, say, transparency and oversight. And Natasha's stint in front of whoever at the end, while emotionally satisfying, falls on the "because we're badass" side of things and not the "build a structurally-sounder institution."

  7. I'm not surprised that we didn't get Bucky's recovery, because it was a lot to fit into one movie, and that's fine, we're promised it at the end, but I hate to wait until after Avengers: Age of Ultron.

  8. (That first post-credits scene, people more in the know than me identify them as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; they're mutants in the comics, right? But there was something about volunteers in the scene, so maybe they're experimented-on instead? (That was Loki's staff, right? I was pretty tired by the end.))

  9. I thought I would hate removing the Red Room and moving the Winter Soldier's origins to SHIELD, but apparently in the months since, the shots of the old SHIELD facility acclimated me to the idea. I really miss the WS/Natasha training/lovers backstory, though. That does make me sad.

  10. Computer stuff: makes no sense at all. I have no idea why "we can identify the geographical coordinates where a program on a thumb drive was written" is worse to me than "1970s computer tech allowed the uploading of personalities," but there it is.

  11. HYDRA existing within SHIELD from the start (1): ugh, do I have to start caring about Agents of SHIELD now? Because I don't wanna.

  12. (Agent Hill: love.)

  13. HYDRA existing within SHIELD from the start (2): both awesome and the same problem as, uh, *hits preview* #6, which is that pervasive surveillance and preemptive government assassinations are bad . . . if HYDRA does it. Or, only if you're Steve, if SHIELD does it. And Steve is the hero, but the strength of his position early sort of gets shuffled aside in the later bits, where it's cool that people try to stop the launch (hi Abed!), but only after Steve's speech. Charitably, you could say tipping point, but still. I like the commentary and the relevance and I'm not sure it's realistic to expect a big action flick like this to actually critique existing government institutions, but it feels like a more obvious pulled punch than the Mandarin (for all that you know I love the axis that did comment on).

  14. (I'm glad that Agent 13's identity as Sharon Carter was left implicit (she's not even named that in the credits).)

  15. A while back, I was contemplating the pattern of sympathetic deaths in the MCU: Yinsen in Iron Man, Bucky Barnes* and Abraham Erskine in Captain America, Phil Coulson* in Avengers, Maya Hansen in Iron Man 3, Freya in Thor 2, where the * mean "except not really." And I was not happy that only the white non-(explicitly)-religious-minority dudes were the ones who got resurrected. So I will give this movie half a point for faking Fury's death: I spent the death scene going, "Wait, I thought I remembered something definitely post-injury in the trailers or released footage, did they cut it misleadingly to not spoil it?" But only half a point, because probably most people were not in doubt.

  16. (Speaking of misleading, I flat-out squeaked when Pierce's "your work has shaped the century" line turned out to be to the Winter Soldier. Awesome.)

  17. Was that what's his face, the guy with the shock sticks who was sad about disappointing Cap and fighting Falcon, being all burned and treated at the end? I assumed so but now I'm not sure.

  18. Speaking of confusing at the end and fakeouts, am I right that Natasha shorted out Pierce's phone and therefore, somehow or other, only got a partial charge from the biometric device? It didn't put a hole in her clothes, I think, after all.

  19. Oh yeah: those are really dumb places to put servers. I mean, "this episode was BADLY WRITTEN" levels.

  20. Otherwise I liked the action sequences. I liked the parkour flavor and could follow things and was impressed by how much of the hand-to-hand was shot to be super-clear that yup, that's the actors doing a lot of that. And I love watching improvisational intelligence and I got a lot of that.

  21. Peggy, lovely and sad. Is it comics canon that she married a Howling Commando, specifically the black guy who spoke all the languages, or is that just this one fic I read? Anyway, I'm glad she did marry (apparently she didn't change her name, which would have been very unusual?) and I'm glad we saw her. Not sure how I feel about an Agent Carter TV show now, though.

  22. I still don't have ALL the Bucky feels, but I have more now in his own right, so good work on not much opportunity.


okay, I have finished and proofed this with my left hand on my tablet, because The Pip woke up and is holding my right to go back to sleep, so whatever I've forgotten will have to wait. As will the trailers.

Date: 2014-04-05 07:28 am (UTC)
prk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] prk
SPOILERS


2) Much yes.

8) Yes, I recognised Loki's staff too, and my wife (comics fan) called the twins Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch too.

10) Very much yes. Kept jarring me out of a suspension of disbelief.

13) Much yes.

17) Yes, the guy fighting Falcon when he jumped out the window into the chopper.

18) As I saw it, Natasha used one of her stingers on Pierce's phone & herself, zapping his phone, the device on her lapel, and herself in the process. I didn't think the lapel thing went off.

19) Much yes.

20) I thought the Fury car chase was needlessly long. It's like someone said "We need a car chase".

prk.







Date: 2014-04-05 09:09 am (UTC)
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] oyceter
STEEEEEVVVEEEEEE!!!

I really enjoyed how they managed to cram in characterization, backstory explanation, and humor with the Smithsonian exhibit.

Also, LOVED all the Sam! I was so happy he had so much to do!

Still not sure how I feel re: Natasha backstory and potential lack thereof, because on the one hand I can be persuaded either way re: her backstory with the Winter Soldier, but I kind of really love the super soldier/Red Room/older than she looks stuff.

Date: 2014-04-05 12:34 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] mariness
I want Steve and Natasha together in the next movie, but...I guess he goes for the Agent 13 girl in the comics? Speaking of whom I was so unspoiled I didn't know Emily VanCamp was in this, but the second I saw her I thought, yeah, that is so not just your friendly neighborhood I need to do laundry girl. That's Emily Thorne and SHE SECRETLY WANTS TO KILL YOU. It was slightly distracting.

On a related casting note, at the end nearly everyone, and I do mean everyone, wanted Maria Hill to go back to Barney and then pick up some Stark weapons and kill the HIMYM writers. It was very violent.

....anyway onto the movie: I lost my suspension of disbelief with the computer systems. I know that's a lot of computers and I liked the old flickering green stuff, but I lost it.

And yes, that's Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in the first post credits scenes. I'm assuming in this version they aren't Magento's kids.


Date: 2014-04-05 10:54 pm (UTC)
rilina: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rilina
I really miss the WS/Natasha training/lovers backstory, though. That does make me sad.
Yah, me too, possibly because the relevant run of the comics was the main groundwork for my current reading of many Marvel Comics. It worked for me, though I also appreciate the arguments that Natasha should have her own independent backstory.

Date: 2014-04-05 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] mikeda
Did you notice Natasha's little arrow necklace?

Date: 2014-04-06 12:20 pm (UTC)
coffeeandink: (Default)
From: [personal profile] coffeeandink
I'd argue that the movie's truest OTP is Steve/Justice. After all, he does throw away the shield.

Date: 2014-04-06 08:52 pm (UTC)
mkozlows: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mkozlows
Hill named Agent 13 as "Carter", though not "Sharon" at one point.

Date: 2014-04-07 05:39 am (UTC)
merhawk: (Hawkeye)
From: [personal profile] merhawk
(That first post-credits scene, people more in the know than me identify them as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; they're mutants in the comics, right? But there was something about volunteers in the scene, so maybe they're experimented-on instead? (That was Loki's staff, right? I was pretty tired by the end.))

They're definitely mutants in the comics, but Marvel Studios doesn't have rights to the X-men; it's with Fox. However, the twins were early Avengers, so that's how they're probably getting them in. For this world, it makes sense that they'd be making them meta-humans instead. Though the staff could have just awoken their mutant potential.

Was that what's his face, the guy with the shock sticks who was sad about disappointing Cap and fighting Falcon, being all burned and treated at the end? I assumed so but now I'm not sure.

Yeah, that's my guess as well. Brock Rumlow, who's also known as Crossbones.

(Speaking of misleading, I flat-out squeaked when Pierce's "your work has shaped the century" line turned out to be to the Winter Soldier. Awesome.)

Yup! That was a great preview misdirect!

Date: 2014-04-13 03:23 am (UTC)
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
From: [personal profile] julian
In the scene where Natasha explains some of the Winter Soldier backstory to Steve, she is saying a lot and yet leaving a lot out, as well, so I am content to speculate that she is older than she looks and the 1984 part is a cover story, until it is proven otherwise.


(And I don't trust the Marvel people with a Natasha movie but I /so really/ want one anyway.)

Date: 2014-10-23 03:14 am (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Sam Wilson: cutest meet-cute, you're adorable and badass, I love you, fandom, prove me wrong and do well by your tragic backstory, your hard-won well-adjusted self, and your epic journey with Steve to recover Bucky—all of which is way more fodder to work with than Clint Barton. Ahem. (Also, your flying scenes were great.)

EVERYTHING ABOUT SAM WILSON.

I didn't know him at all; I am not a Marvel reader. His flying scenes were magnificent and I love that when he's not super-soldiering, he's a trauma counselor. I hope we see more of him.

Natasha: you're adorable and a badass, I love you, I ship you and Steve harder than ever and now I have way more to base that on.

. . . I don't actually ship them at all and really enjoyed the portrayal of a non-romantic relationship between two characters who would have been romantically linked in a more conventional story, but that's one of my things. I like non-romances.

(That first post-credits scene, people more in the know than me identify them as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; they're mutants in the comics, right? But there was something about volunteers in the scene, so maybe they're experimented-on instead? (That was Loki's staff, right? I was pretty tired by the end.))

It looked like Loki's staff to me? The twins are definitely presented as the results of experimentation: we have some creepy double-talk from the formerly HYDRA scientists in their the underground bunker to confirm that.

"What about the volunteers?"
"The dead will be buried so deep, even their ghosts won't be able to find them."
"And the survivors?"
"The twins . . . There's nothing more horrifying than a miracle."

(At which point I got Bitter Seeds flashbacks.)

I was watching with [livejournal.com profile] gaudior and [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, both of whom recognized the twins as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. I'm seeing some theories that their new backstory is the product of complicated copyright dynamics and plausible deniability—they can still be Magneto's kids, but their powers could be the result of exposure to the Tesseract as opposed to mutant DNA, and if someday the filmmakers get the rights to incorporate X-Men film continuity into the Avengers-verse, then perhaps the result of exposure to the Tesseract that caused their hitherto unexpressed mutant DNA to bloom.

Computer stuff: makes no sense at all. I have no idea why "we can identify the geographical coordinates where a program on a thumb drive was written" is worse to me than "1970s computer tech allowed the uploading of personalities," but there it is.

I greatly enjoyed Armin Zola existing as a ghost in miles of reel-to-reel, but I really liked that his entire villain speech is just stalling for time until a S.H.I.E.L.D.-targeted missile can melt Steve and Natasha off the face of the earth. Plus the fact that I was already thinking about Wernher von Braun when Natasha said "Operation Paperclip," making it a clever, bitterly plausible piece of secret history. Of course the U.S. would have wanted as much fringe science as it could get from HYDRA. It's not like we turned our noses up at Nazi rocketry.

(I'm not so cool with the idea that all the ways the latter twentieth century went down the toilet were the stealthy work of HYDRA behind the scenes of S.H.I.E.L.D., because I firmly believe that humanity is capable of screwing itself over without encouragement, but, eh. It raises the stakes.)

(Speaking of misleading, I flat-out squeaked when Pierce's "your work has shaped the century" line turned out to be to the Winter Soldier. Awesome.)

That, agreed. And the one line in the scene with Pierce and Bucky—"He's been out of cryo too long"—implying both that the longer Bucky is awake, the less hold his programming has on him, and explaining the Winter Soldier's sixty-year tenure as a "ghost story." Whatever Zola did to him and the Soviets after, it didn't make him immortal; he's just never spent more than a couple months—years, at best—unfrozen over the last half-century. In some ways, he's got even more history than Steve to catch up on. Steve at least has the internet.

Was that what's his face, the guy with the shock sticks who was sad about disappointing Cap and fighting Falcon, being all burned and treated at the end? I assumed so but now I'm not sure.

Yes; I figured at that point that we'd been watching the origin story of some supervillain I don't know about, but I'll find out whenever it becomes relevant to the next movie. I can't even remember his name right now. He was mostly OH GOD THAT GUY I'M SO GLAD SAM WILSON IS AS UNIMPRESSED WITH YOUR THIRD-RATE PROPAGANDA AS I AM.

Speaking of confusing at the end and fakeouts, am I right that Natasha shorted out Pierce's phone and therefore, somehow or other, only got a partial charge from the biometric device? It didn't put a hole in her clothes, I think, after all.

I think she EMP'd the biometric device so that it didn't respond when Pierce tried to burn her; she just basically had to tase herself to do it.

Is it comics canon that she married a Howling Commando, specifically the black guy who spoke all the languages, or is that just this one fic I read?

She has a canonical relationship with Gabe Jones, so I assumed that's who she was talking about when she mentioned her husband. Which would be fine by me.

I could have used more Bucky, but I really liked what we saw: that last post-credits scene is a poignant stinger. And, yes, Steve. Yay.

Date: 2014-10-23 04:19 am (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Thank you for finding the Peggy/Gabe reference!

It went around recently enough on Tumblr that it was vaguely in my head watching the movie. Fingers crossed it is film canon. I know one of the characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to be descended from one of the Howling Commandos, but I don't know it's clarifying information or just, there were a lot of those guys.

Also, SAM. <3 <3 <3

I was sorry not to have seen the film in theaters purely for his scenes in flight. "I never said I was a pilot."

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