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Spoiler Zone: Captain America: The Winter Soldier talkback

When longtime Community producers and directors Anthony and Joe Russo were tapped to direct the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, it was a bit of a head-scratcher for me. These guys have literally only done comedy to date: loads of sitcoms, mostly, the box office bomb Welcome to Collinwood, and You, Me, and Dupree. So while I’ve never been one to think that people who haven’t done action before aren’t “qualified” to do action movies, they did seem like an odd choice. I wouldn’t say I doubted they could do it, but it was an intriguing choice on Kevin Feige’s part.

Working from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the screenwriting duo behind the (yes, I’m gonna say it) actually-pretty-good Pain & Gain, the interminable slog of Thor: The Dark World, and the I’ve-never-seen-any-of-them Narnia films, and obviously using the Ed Brubaker run as inspiration, The Winter Soldier has the smartest and tightest script of any solo Marvel Studios movie to date (and arguably The Avengers), the most emotional weight of any Marvel Studios to date, and the best action of any Marvel Studios movie to date (including The Avengers).

While there are one or two plot points that viewers either roll with or not (I’ll refrain from being specific here, but I’ll freely discuss them in the spoiler-approved comments below) — I went with them — and I loved that the storyline of the film actually changes the status quo of the MCU meaningfully. Actual consequences! Imagine that. The ever-charismatic Anthony Mackie is a fantastic addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Falcon, as well. Bring on Captain America 3!

Those of you who have seen it, what did you think? Obviously, spoilers are okay in the comments section here, so if you haven’t seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, you have been warned!

40 Responses to “Spoiler Zone: Captain America: The Winter Soldier talkback”

  1. Adam Klawitter says:

    I thought it was pretty great. They made asides to some of the other Marvel movies, but it didn’t really hit you over the head with references. And the revelation this weekend that the SHEILD TV show is going to be directly affected by the events of this movies just made me like it all the more.

  2. The Titillator says:

    Winter Soldier is one of the best Marvel movies and just a damn good movie like Iron Man. The Marvel movies have started to wear me down lately (yerp, not a fan of Avengers) so this was a breath of fresh air. That shot were Bucky brought Rogers onto the shore after they fought was just perfect. I’m excited for the next one.

    • The Titillator says:

      Plus, how the hell did they get Robert Redford to be in it AND play the villian? That was a welcome surprise.

      • Jason M Bryant says:

        He said he wanted to do a modern movie. He’d never done something where there was a lot of green screen and he wanted to see what that kind of film-making was like.

  3. Rob Franklin says:

    My only quibble, and it is a small one, is the Black Widow’s Mission Impossible moment towards the end of the movie. The way it was done, it felt a little too out of left field, and just tacked on at the end. Now, if we had seen something similar at the beginning of the film, where the Black Widow had used the same technique to infiltrate the tanker, then that moment at the end would have worked a lot better.

    • Gordon McAlpin says:

      I didn’t mind the mask thing so much, but I was let down by that for a different reason. Since the actress was Jenny Agutter, I kind of thought they were just going to have an older woman kick that much ass — without it being Black Widow. I was so surprised and so excited that they had woman that age put up a fight (and kick ass) that the “oh, it’s Black Widow” realization was a tiny bit disappointing.

      Very minor quibble, as you can imagine.

      • Rob Franklin says:

        I guess the Rene Russo scene in Thor 2 got your expectations up.

        • Gordon McAlpin says:

          I was gonna say that Rene Russo isn’t THAT old, but then I looked it up and… yeah, she’s a year younger than Jenny Agutter. Crazy.

          • Rob Franklin says:

            I guess we are from the generation who still thinks Lethal Weapon 3 was only made 10 years ago. Also, I don’t mind that Alan Dale replaced Boothe Powers on the World Council, but I think someone at IMDB needs to double check their material.

  4. Robert Rence says:

    I think why I’m enjoying Cap so much is he’s so unabashedly heroic. Wounded, and his mission completed, he’d rather try to save Bucky than save himself.

    Aside from that, they disbanded SHIELD (what?), Maria Hill’s working for Stark (WHAT?) and some former Hydra/SHIELD agent’s got the Glow Stick of Destiny, which they used to make Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (WHAAAAAT?)

    Also, I feel perfectly justified in saying the gravestone epitath was my favorite bit in the movie.

    • Jason M Bryant says:

      I must not have been paying attention. What did the epitaph say?

      • Adam says:

        “The Path Of The Rightous Man…”
        Ezeikiel 25:17

        • Jason M Bryant says:

          Oh, okay. I wouldn’t recognize that without help.

          Having looked up the quote now, I’d say that it works both as a Sam Jackson reference and for Nick Fury.

    • Gospel X says:

      I’m not sure that the stick gave the twins their powers. At least, I hope that’s not the case.

      • Gordon McAlpin says:

        Yeah, the clip didn’t hint about the origins of their powers at all, as I recall it. And from what I can see online, no one else has made that inference from it.

        • Robert Rence says:

          I thought it said that they’d been experimenting on others to give them powers, and I presumed that the GSoD was used in those experiments.

          Or I may be misremembering the scene. :- b

          • Gordon McAlpin says:

            I thought that since it had previously let Loki control minds, they were only using it to control the Twins, not to give them powers.

            I read basically this theory at io9, as well, but with the further wrinkle that the staff contains the Mind Gem (from the Infinity Gauntlet). If that is the case, then it would definitely not have GIVEN them powers, because that’s what the Power Gem does, but it may have unlocked greater control of powers that were already there, in addition to letting Baron von Strucker control them.

            I really like that theory, since it would lead very naturally into Avengers 3 with Thanos as the Big Bad.

          • LazerWulf says:

            According to Kevin Feige (sp?), the Aether is the Power Stone (Gem), the Tesseract is the Space Stone, and GotG will deal with an as-yet-unidentified Infinity Stone, and that is all the “official” word we’ve had so far.

            That the GSoD contains the Mind Stone is an interesting theory, but I’m not sure if it holds up. Avengers established that the scepter uses the same type of energy as the Tesseract (Space Stone), so unless it was referring to “Infinity Energy”, it’s probably not the Mind Gem. Second point, the Thor 2 post-credits scene established that it’s not wise to have 2 Infinity Stones in the same location. Also, the Tesseract and the Aether seem to be similar in scale of power, while the scepter is vastly smaller in comparison. If it indeed is one of the Infinity Stones, then Loki would have had possession of 2 stones during The Avengers, and should have been that much harder to defeat.

          • Gordon McAlpin says:

            Good point. In any case, I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that Loki’s staff did NOT give the Twins their powers.

          • Carrie says:

            Throwing in a little wrinkle late here. Remember that the thought that it would be dangerous is because Odin wanted it that way. And since that is Loki not Odin, it could be a lie. Even though it could be an Infinity stone, I think it’s not the Mind one but rather the Soul stone. Remember, it didn’t work on Stark. Why would the Mind care about Tony not having a “heart”? But the Soul might.

  5. Jason M Bryant says:

    I just watched it this afternoon. I really enjoyed it.

    It’s funny how this was basically SHIELD: The Movie. I like Agents of SHIELD pretty well, but these guys were obviously the big leagues of the organization. Since Cap was basically the unchanging ideal hero, Black Widow got a lot of the emotional depth and growth in the story.

    The action was good. Batroc has been portrayed as a joke in the comics for years, at least until Brubakers run. After seeing him in the movie, After what I saw in the movie, I feel like future comic writers should stick to portraying him seriously. His fight scene was really cool.

    Definitely a good movie.

  6. Foxhack says:

    Since we can spoil stuff here, I have to ask:

    Since SHIELD doesn’t exist anymore, how in the heck is Agents of SHIELD going to go on for another season? Regardless of its ratings (I’ve never seen the show and have heard mixed things about it), I imagine having the titular agency be dissolved would put a hamper on things.

    • Jared Judnich says:

      Supposed to be revealed in the next episode

    • Jason M Bryant says:

      I loved this version of Armin Zola. The moment I saw the old camera, I thought of how Zola looked in the comic. When I saw the giant monitor under it, I knew we’d see a big face on it. Zola has always been one of the sillier character designs in comics, though a little creepy. Without sticking arms and legs on that face, this lost the silliness and was much more creepy.

      When he said that his brain was copied onto some incredible amount of tape, I thought, “That much tape worth of info could fit on that little USB drive easily.” So maybe we’ll see Zola again. There could be copies.

      • Gordon McAlpin says:

        Yeah — if they want to bring him back down the road, they could VERY easily do it.

      • Foxhack says:

        My issue was mostly him getting blown up.

        I hope there’s copies. I really really hope there’s copies. Toby Jones gave an amazing performance in part one and I was really happy to see him in the sequel.

    • LazerWulf says:

      ABC has yet to reveal whether or not MAoS has a second season. There’s 6 episodes left in the current season, and for all we know, they could take place entirely within the timeframe of Winter Soldier.

      As for Zola, in the comics, he’s always been able to transfer his consciousness whenever his body is about to be destroyed. The computers in the bunker may be his first cybernetic mind, but it never said it was his only one.

    • adamsbja says:

      Agents of SHIELD rolls with it and comes out strong. Yesterday’s episode is one of the best ones yet (the show’s been getting better with every episode, I think yesterday’s passes pretty much anyone’s Threshold of Watchable even if the rest of the show doesn’t) it has them working with Hydra’s reveal, Fury’s death, and still finds time to drop a few show-related bombs of its own.

      • Gordon McAlpin says:

        I have a theory that the show bomb will get played safe somehow, but I’ll leave out the spoiler for others since it’s not directly Cap 2 related.

  7. Jared Judnich says:

    IMO, it had the best fight choreography in any western movie ever. The eastern films still get the title but it’s close. Cap’s fighting style was beautifully and brutally simplistic. The flying knees and cartwheel heel kicks….. AWESOME

  8. j_1_m says:

    An important question:

    Is it Triskelion (with a pronunciation similar to triscuit?)
    or Try-skelleyon (phonetically?) I’ve heard it pronounced both ways in the MCU.

    Some things of note:

    One of my love hate things about the Nolan Batman universe is that the focus on “semi-realism” model has apparently been cut and pasted across every superhero film moving forward. In some cases, this makes perfect sense (Thor actually being a deity isn’t going to work in a movie in the 2010’s) but there comes a time when I feel like you need to just go big with the ridiculous. I’m expecting that Guardians of the Galaxy will have that in droves.

    I really hope that isn’t the unfortunate end of Arnim Zola. I feel like there’s so much more potential for a character whose consciousness can basically be moved around.

    The way to tie in the films to the show, at this point, is to have the minor players (Batroc the Leaper/Crossbones) make some appearances in Agents of SHIELD, where they can be given more than just a “hey there’s that guy” appearance.

    Since he was name-dropped, I REALLY want to see Dr. Strange pop up at some point. I’m sure they can figure out a way to weave that in to the storyline.

    I’d argue about the action. there were two very good set pieces (storming the pirate ship in the beginning was probably one of my all time favorites), one decent and quite a few mediocre. The final battle between Cap an the Winter Soldier on the helicarrier just felt empty, and as soon as he got shot in the leg I knew they were going for the tired “at the last second of the countdown” trope. I think we’ve gotten past the point where that can even be said to be an homage.

    It’s nice to see Nick Fury getting to be at least A LITTLE bit of the badass he’s supposed to be.

    Finally, I think they got the pacing perfect on this. There were a lot of moments in the film where another director might have said “no no we need an extra 15 minutes here to go over this relationship,” but some steady cuts helped this one stay nicely on plot, and it works well. The Captain America films, both of them, are probably my favorites among the MCU. I wasn’t sure how well they’d transition him into modern times on his own, but I think they did a great job here.

  9. Radimus Prime says:

    I seriously loved this movie. It had everything: Depth, Action, High Stakes, Consequences, and a german suplex (though the Donnie Yen suplex in Flashpoint is still reigning king)!

    I only had one complaint, and it’s a toss up over how big or small it is: I was really, REALLY hoping it was internal corruption alone that would be the catalyst to main conflict, so i was a bit disappointed that it was Hydra. It would have made the fight more meaningful, painted with longer strokes and twice the shades of grey, since in the modern world Good and Bad aren’t so clearly defined anymore… and here comes a man committed to the IDEAL of America, fighting to ensure the high road is the path SHIELD takes, even if it means “tearing the old one down”.

    Either way, excellent movie, one i would pay my hard earned dollars and cents to see again. Chris Evans turned in a great performance, especially during the quiet moments (that heart wrencher of a scene with Peggy was beautiful), and Anthony Mackie was awesome as Falcon.

    • Jason M Bryant says:

      I see what you’re saying, but I’m okay with it for two reasons.

      1) Even if someone is inciting bad things, his followers have to be willing to listen. So even though I saw a review where someone boiled it down to, “It was just Nazis,” it clearly wasn’t.

      2) They emphasized that pretty clearly with Redford’s character. When he said, “If you could press a button and save your daughter’s life, would you do it?” I knew that they were going back to what Fury did. That showed pretty clearly that for him, it wasn’t about following Zola, he’d come to this path on his own.

  10. adamsbja says:

    Apparently “miracle” is an M-word they’re allowed to use. As I understand it the way the contract works out is that both Marvel Studios and Fox can have Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Marvel can’t call them mutants or say Magneto’s their dad, and Fox can’t reference their being part of the Avengers.

  11. Sarah M says:

    RE: The Danny Pudi cameo


    (I promise you that joke was hilarious at 3am after a midnight screening)

  12. Rob Franklin says:

    I just want to know what level of security clearance a vending machine operator must have to work in a SHIELD hospital? The floor is full of agents, operatives and security guards, all standing around discussing and/or grieving about the death of Nick Fury, but his guy is “Nope, gotta do my job. This machine ain’t gonna fill itself. The sick and their families still need over-priced snacks.”

    • Gordon McAlpin says:

      I thought that the reason there were so many agents around was that it WASN’T a SHIELD hospital.