June 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

MCU Rewatch Issue #9: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Is this the best MCU film? The Geeks rewatch and discuss.

Take note Iron Man 2, this is how you make a sequel.

tomk: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Huh. If Batroc and his crew captured Sitwell and Crossbones is part of the rescue, does that mean the pirates are technically good guys?

Zola is so creepy and awesome in his brief appearance.

And so is Garry Shandling,

Man, this movie almost destroys as many police cars as The Blues Brothers.

How is it the movie with a guy with no superpowers has better mid-air stunts than Iron Man 3?

So, Winter Solider: great MCU movie, or the greatest MCU movie?

So, the thing that jumps out to me the most about Winter Solider is, well, it made the Captain America films the best franchise within the MCU. Iron Man petered out depending on who you ask. Thor took too many movies to figure out what it wanted. And then there was this Ultron thing we’ll be getting to in two weeks. Cap, meanwhile, is completely revamped from 1940s war movie hero to modern day paranoia thriller, complete with Robert Redford (who made a ton of those movies back in the 70s) as the bad guy, grabs a pair of unknown brothers best known for sitcom writing near as I can make out to direct, and somehow made the most creatively action-packed movie the MCU has yet to produce. That’s impressive especially since if they’d stuck to actual Winter Soldier storyline, they’d have to have brought in cosmic cubes, the Red Skull, and a Soviet general looking to revive his country’s lost prestige and power. It would have been too big. Instead, well, they just boiled it down to the essentials of “Bucky came back as an enemy agent called the Winter Soldier”. And it worked beautifully.

jonathan: I think Winter Solider is absolutely in the same league as The Dark Knight. It’s a phenomenal film that happens to also be a comic book movie.

(I also feel this way about Black Panther.)

jimmy10 out of 10. On to the next one. 🙂

tomk: Shouldn’t we wait for Jenny to call it terrible since she is so contrary all the time?

jimmy: Seems more like a Ryan thing.

I like your point though about this becoming the best franchise. Cap was good, Winter Soldier is great and Civil War is very good (even if it technically Avengers 2.5).

tomk: There isn’t much competition. Guardians is still a question mark as far as this stuff goes.

jimmyGuardians 2 was still good, though more of the same. Ultron is a disaster. So are Iron Man 2-3. And I know I liked Thor 2 better than others, but it is a definite lull between the good first film and the fantastic 3rd.

tomk: Part of the problem with those other, weaker movies, I feel, is they don’t do much creatively. Look at the movies we like better and they just stand out as different. Cap’s movies each feel like a different genre.

jimmy: Is Cap the Batman of the MCU? You can drop that guy into any genre of story and it works.

tomk: Cap, morally, is more Superman in many ways. Black Panther these days is Marvel’s Batman.

jimmy: Straight up in a modern world, sure. And I don’t really think Cap=Batman, it was more a comment on the whole each film is a different genre thing.

tomk: That could work. Batman can be a detective or a vigilante or a teammate or just stuck in a terrible movie.

jimmy: Sometimes all of the above at once.

tomk: Are you poking Watson with a metaphorical pointed stick?

jimmy: I want nothing to do with poking Watson, metaphorically or otherwise.

tomk: Ah. Good.

So, what was everybody’s favorite stunt?

jimmy: Hmmm. So many good ones. Hard to choose.

tomk: I’ll say it came when the Winter Soldier attacked Cap, Widow, and Falcon in the car, and Cap pulls the other two away by pushing the car door off and using it as a shield to slide to safety. It may not have been a flashy midair fall, but it was smart and unexpected.

jimmy: Yes. Very cool.

A lot of just great action set pieces. That one, Fury in his SUV, the elevator scene, etc.

tomk: I wasn’t joking too much that The Blues Brothers may be the only movie to destroy more police cars.

jonathan: Fury SUV sequence ends with the dramatic reveal of the Winter Soldier with that eerie music. It was a goosebumps scene the first time i saw it.

I get what Jimmy is saying about Cap. He’s the glue guy.

tomk: Glue guy…good term.

jonathan: He can even do funny cameos in TWO other MCU movies.
The quick one in Thor 2, and the amazing VHS videos in Spider-Man.
Stark may be the “brand”, but Cap runs the squad for a reason.

watson: The elevator scene is the best scene in any Marvel film. Period. Debate.

tomk: That is a good one. Watson may have won the Internet today.

jonathan: Elevator scene is top notch, but it’s too short for me to give it the top overall spot.

jonathan: He broke up the first fight between Thor and Iron Man in Avengers, went undercover with Widow (bonus points for the smooch), was the only person to initially greet Banner without hesitation or fear, consoled Wanda after the explosion in Nigeria, had a friendly side banter with Spider-Man about boroughs in the middle of a fight…

tomk: Steve finds random strangers that can become Avengers!

jonathan: True! And, from what we can tell, turns adversaries into Avengers, too!

jimmy: We are all coming from the perspective of knowing who the Winter Soldier was going in. How do you think a casual fan felt about the reveal? Was it shocking?

watson: I don’t think casual fans remembered Bucky from the first movie…

jimmy: Also possible.

tomk: I remember wondering if it was the same actor. Sebastian Stan looks a little different.

jimmy: He does for sure.

tomk: If and when Evans leaves the role, would you guys prefer Sebastian Stan or Anthony Mackie as the new Captain America?

jimmy: Why does everyone assume they won’t just cast a new Captain America?

tomk: Why should they when there already are a pair of potential Cap replacements right there? Besides, do you rush out and immediately replace Evans, or do you try something else first?

jimmy: Perhaps. And I know they are storylines from the comics, but it seems like ever since Winter Soldier with his and Sam’s debut, people can’t wait to get Evans out of there and replaced with one of these guys.

tomk: I like Evans as Cap. He perfectly plays a guy often portrayed as Marvel’s moral paragon. Not many actors can do that. It’s like Christopher Reeve’s Superman or Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman: idealistic but still recognizably human. There’s an essential humility and sense of duty that isn’t played at all for laughs like Hemsworth’s Thor. But Evans himself hasn’t exactly been shy about saying he wasn’t going to be around forever going back longer than either Hemsworth or Downey.
I could foresee Evans maybe doing bit parts in the future like he did for Homecoming or even a decent-sized supporting role once in a while like Downey had in that same movie. But he’s not going to be around forever.

jimmy: And all that is fine, but it seems like fandom is ready to rush him out the door. Maybe Evans insistence that he won’t play the role forever, though none of them will, fuels the fire. But there are similar stories from Hemsworth and RDJ and you never hear about replacing Iron Man with Rhodes or anything about a Thor replacement.

tomk: Which is odd because theoretically Iron Man is the easiest to replace and they already did it with Rhodey once.

Maybe it was because Evans was either A) the loudest to say something or B) was making the best movies of the bunch that fans most wanted Cap’s adventures to continue whereas they were more ambivalent on Iron Man or Thor.

watson: I’m not sure if Falcon or Bucky will ever put on Cap’s cowl but I will predict that no one but Evans or a recast Steve Rogers will ever headline a Captain America solo film.

tomk: I can see them using Bucky or Falcon for one or two movies before introducing a recast Steve.

watson: They have already been established in the universe as the B-squad. I don’t see Marvel risking a big budget flick on the B-Squad.

Plus, I’m not sure either of those guys are “carry a movie” types.

And I like Mackie and Stan.

tomk: I’d agree on Stan. Mackie maybe could. And Marvel risked a big budget movie on a group that included a talking raccoon and a friendly tree, so I’m not sure what they would do.

watson: Right. But they had never appeared before. Stan and Mackie have been supporting cast.
I think that’s why they don’t want to do a Black Widow movie.

jimmy: I agree with Watson, reluctantly. Outside of the Black Widow movie, I think that’s a different beast. And doesn’t have the hurdle of being a “replacement”.

I do wonder if any of this Falcon or Bucky talk would even exist if it wasn’t straight from the comics? And recent ones at that. I’m surprised Watson hasn’t cursed on us as fanboys yet.

That said, Brubaker’s Cap-Bucky run is fantastic. Cap-Falcon didn’t do much for me.

jonathan: I agree that they’re highly unlikely to have anyone else headline a Cap solo movie, but I have a very strong feeling that Sam becomes the new Captain for at least 1 team-up film.

Also, Bucky’s [SPOILER ALERT] cameo in Black Panther clearly seems to be setting up a different type of storyline for him.

I also agree on the Brubaker run. I think his work on the series is the absolute best of the character’s history.

tomk: Isn’t Brubaker one of the doctors working on the Winter Soldier?

jimmy: I think he was one of the guys in the SHIELD control room. Let’s see what the interwebs tell us…

No, you’re right.

tomk: That makes more sense. Ed did “create” the Winter Soldier.

jimmy: Controversially as well. Bucky was in Uncle Ben territory of never coming back from the dead.

tomk: The fact Brubaker pulled it off so well is one of the many reasons that story is so epic. Much better than Millar’s Civil War, which itself is much better than Bendis’ Civil War 2.

And now I will wait for Jimmy to stop twitching.

jimmyCivil War 2. Ugh. Next you’ll bring up Age of Ultron.

tomk: Wait two weeks.

jimmy: I might be sick that week.

But I really loved the Winter Soldier storyline. And I know Ryan likes to say that the title of this movie is a headfake, since it is really all about Hydra, but the introduction of the Winter Soldier and his importance throughout the MCU has been very key to their connected narrative. Even if it isn’t a straight up adaptation of the comics.

tomk: How is it a headfake? The movie is about the Winter Soldier confounding Captain America on multiple levels?

jimmy: You’ll have to ask Ryan. I guess because 1) the core of the movie is about Hydra infiltrating SHIELD and 2) it is not a direct adaptation. I don’t know, it’s just something he says.

On a side note, and I know several here weren’t watching, but the incorporation of this storyline into the Agents of SHIELD show was masterfully done. And though I stopped watching it long ago, probably one of the last times the TV shows felt actually ingrained in the MCU itself.

tomk: It was pretty well done. Too bad you had to sit through a long, middling season’s worth of episodes before you could get to that.

jenny: I need to catch up. Been a long exhausting week. Let’s see what you guys covered, and then I’ll give my 2 cents

One of the things about this movie that I love – is the element of surprise – I was surprised and delighted by so many things.

Starting with the scene on the ship, you knew this was going to be a different kind of movie when you have Cap jumping out of a plane without a parachute, and black widow hanging people from a wire. It was bold – it was in your face action – and it never stopped.

What really solidified this movie’s ability to deliver surprise was the Fury SUV scene. It was in that moment, that you realized – shit – Fury doesn’t have this under control. He’s out of the loop. He doesn’t know what’s going on – and neither did we. And that was part of the brilliance of that scene. The car constantly updating him on the situation… yet there was nothing he could do. He was stuck. We were stuck with him. And it felt dire – and then BOOM – the reveal of the Winter Soldier with that eerie music. From every moment before this – we knew or at least suspected that Fury was orchestrating everything that was happening. But here – the tables were turned. He was caught off guard – and thus sets up how all of us felt when we found out that Hydra was and has been pulling the strings for a while. Caught off guard with no where to go. What now?

And then the movie unfolds.

There is something beautiful and brilliant about the story being told. Who’s in control, who’s not, and how do we deal with the flip/flop from person to person. You don’t know who to trust. I remember at one point (when I first saw the film) wondering if I should trust Black Widow any more. Because – who knows – maybe she’s only out for herself.

But then you have the ever resilient Captain America – making friends, asking for help, trusting when he shouldn’t, and ultimately trying to do best by himself and for the greater good. I think one of the most powerful scenes in the whole movie is at the end when he refuses to fight Bucky. He’s been through a lot up to this point, and yet he STILL HAS HOPE – and makes a stand for that hope. And god – I wanted him to be right. I think we all did. That’s the power of Captian America, he brings us through the worst shit, and still gives us hope.

And on top of wonderful storytelling – we have some of the BEST cinematic choreography I have ever seen. The Russo Bros single handedly raised the bar for the Marvel franchise.
You guys were talking about the elevator scene, which was excellent – don’t get me wrong – but I kinda knew Cap would make it out – what I didn’t know is what was going to happen to Fury during the SUV scene, thus for my taste, I consider that the best action scene. So much gonig on – and a sheer panic on my end as a viewer. It was awesome!
Additionally – this talk about Evans not playing Cap anymore – does this stem from his contract being up? Because, honestly… if I were him – I would be signing another contract, pronto. It’s easy money for him – and it’s not like he’s going around saying he’s wanting to do more “artsy films” – unless he is, so correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t think we shoo him out of the franchise. I think we do the exac opposite and petition to keep him around forever (Old Man Logan style). Because to me – no one can pick up that sheild and be a stand in for what Chris Evans built. Yes, there are other stories we can tell – but Chris Evans is Captain America. Just like Gal Gadot will now forever be Wonder Woman. The image and ability to breing the best out of those characters is what makes them great.
Anyway – I LOOOOOOOVE Winter Soldier – I love how the movie sets everything up for the next period of the MCU, and I love how fun and thrilling the movie was throughout its entirety. I give it 10 “I can do this all day” out of 10.

jimmy: No one really knows (I don’t think) the length of the contracts each of the main characters have signed, nor their details. Like, does Thor 2 count as a Cap appearance? And thus one off the number of films Evans agreed to appear in.

I agree it seems like easy money, but we’re not them. I’m sure they get tired of playing the same character. Passing up other roles because they have to make so many MCU appearances. The getting in “super hero shape” is another though aspect of it.

You touched on Cap refusing to fight Bucky. This stood out to me as well from a different angle, because he was so willing to fight his “friend” Tony Stark (and others) in Civil War.

jenny: Oh man – you’re right. And that’s the thing – Cap stands up and fights for what he believes in – physical fighting, or not. And I think his fighting against Tony was more about protecting Bucky, and protecting himself. (And we’ll get to in Civil War)
MAN – just thinking about the Civil War convo is making me giddy… that’s another great one.

jimmy: And they touch on it in Civil War, but it just stood out to me when Cap says “I won’t fight my friend” or whatever here.

jenny: I really could watch this movie every day – I love it so much

What’s the next in the series?



jonathan: THOSE a-holes

jenny: :joy:

tomk: Oh, are we grading now?

jimmy: We have lots of time, so more comments are always welcome.

tomk: Okie dokie then.

jimmy: One thing that “bugged” me, even though he is mentioned and even targeted as being in NY…Iron Man never shows up to help at the end. This is a typical “problem” with shared universes and I know it is something Tom would tell me not to think about.

tomk: This looks like a good time to post this then:

jimmy: Heh. Exactly.

jonathan: From what I remember of the official timeline, Tony was back in Malibu dealing with Killian at the same time everything was going down for Cap in DC

tomk: And Hawkeye was impregnating his wife!

jimmy: Then who was the target at Stark Tower?

jonathan: Plus, Fury told Cap not to trust anyone else because they didn’t know yet who was compromised

tomk: Pepper was at Stark Tower!
Or, um, Happy?

jimmy: But there’s a giant battle…Iron Man doesn’t just show up without being called?

tomk: Not if he’s just blown up his armor and needs to build another one before he can help.

jonathan: He also underwent major open heart surgery right after the Killian fight

tomk: And he’s kind of a dick.

jimmy: And I know the Stephen Strange name drop was a great Easter Egg, but how was he a threat to Hydra at that point?

tomk: His vast surgical skills could keep numerous HYDRA threats alive.

That or they are that good at spotting talent.

jonathan: He might’ve already been in Kamar Taj at that point. It would certainly make that movie’s timeline make a helluva lot more sense.

tomk: Or they are making it up as they go along, like how an Infinity Stone somehow did not rip Natalie Portman apart.

jimmy: OK, feel free to add more thoughts, but otherwise, shall we get to scores? Myself and Jenny already gave it 10’s.

tomk10 out of 10 vending machines that only sell gum to Russian spies.

jimmy: Haha, nice one.

jonathanThis one is an easy 10.

jimmy: Will Watson make it a clean sweep?

tomk: It’s Watson’s favorite MCU movie. What did he give Iron Man?

jimmy: 10

tomk: It should be a clean sweep then. 😉

watson: A sweep it is Tom. I give Winter Soldier 10 “Did he have a parachutes?” Out of 10.

It is my fourth favorite Superhero movie ever.

And it keeps getting better over time. I actually ranked it just behind GotG in my annual rankings the year I saw it.

jimmy: Ok, let’s see what the Calcutron-2024 has to say:
Winter Soldier 10
Iron Man 9.4
Avengers 9.3
Captain America: First Avenger 8.7
Thor 8.0
Hulk 6.7
Iron Man 2 6.6
Iron Man 3 6.6
Thor: The Dark World 6.6

MCU overall: 8.0
Phase 1: 8.1
Phase 2: 7.7

watson: That one movie alone really helped close the gap between Phase 1&2

If only another quality picture was up next to boost Phase 2…