Looks like Cap's got some expectations to live up to with such a claim in the very title.
|Hopefully, the red and the white and the blue will come through.|
As they approach the metallic behemoth, it first appears as though Wilford Brimley has been building flying saucers in the ice again. But when their plasma cutter makes a hole in the top, it becomes very clear that this craft was manmade.
Some men descend into the icily preserved interior of the hull, and they find something near the pilot’s seat. Something once thought lost forever.
|A certain something that, when thrown, causes all those who chose to oppose it to yield.|
|One Cap-cicle, extra frosty.|
A young man rushes to a tower to warn the tower’s keeper, who I’m going to call Filch for no other reason than he’s played by David Bradley.
|Because it was either that or referencing the time he played a pedophile in Broadchurch.|
Let me get something straight about Nazis.
Their philosophy was racist garbage.
Their methods were inhumane.
Their goals were abominable.
But those evil sons-of-bitches had style.
And this is exemplified when the Head Nazi Bastard enters in his best Hugo Boss, like a boss, with more spotlights shining on him than a Spielberg movie. He walks over to commend Filch for keeping this place hidden for so long, and the proper lighting reveals that he’s played by none other than the villain in pretty much everything ever, Hugo Weaving.
Head Nazi Bastard: “What others see as superstition, you and I know to be a science.”
|"You know as well as I do the power stepping on a crack holds."|
Head Nazi Bastard: “Then why make such an effort to conceal it?”
The bastard effortlessly pushes the lid off the sarcophagus, showing us that there is perhaps more to this guy than meets the eye. Wouldn’t be the first time for Hugo Weaving.
He picks up a beautiful crystal cube from the cold, dead hands of the skeleton inside.
Head Nazi Bastard: “The Tesseract was the jewel of Odin’s treasure room.”
Well, if he liked it so much, why did he stick it on Earth?
|Maybe he had to make room for his new stuff.|
|The fact that it wasn't being all weird and 4-D was probably a giveaway.|
|Marcellus Wallace's soul, apparently.|
So… he’s digging in the wrong place?
|I wouldn't exactly call this a "trinket," either....|
Over in New York City, a skinny weakling named Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, is getting a physical so he can be in the army. You know, do his parents proud. Like many superheroes, Steve here is an orphan. His dad died in the Great War and his mom got tuberculosis while caring for tuberculosis patients. Funny how that works.
|Clearly, she hadn't had enough blood letting performed on her.|
|Man, "4F" is always giving Chris Evans trouble.|
Narrator: “Every able-bodied young man is lining up to serve his country!”
Salt in the wound, there.
A heckler starts yelling at the projectionist to just play the dang movie already. Steve isn’t going to take such an insult to the troops lying down, so he politely tells the guy to show some respect to our men and women in uniform. Then he tells the jerk to shut up when he keeps being rude. Five seconds later, Steve is in the alleyway, getting his tiny rear handed to him by the loudmouth.
|Yeah, right, like shields are ever going to do you any good.|
Bucky: “Sometimes I think you like getting punched.”
Steve: “I had ‘im on the ropes.”
Steve finally gets a look at his pal and realizes that the dress uniform probably means he’ll be shipping out to the 107th soon. The next day, in fact. Without Steve. Despite the fact that in real life, the 107th had been disbanded for years.
|Gives me an idea for a World War II ghost story, though....|
Speaking of ladies, Bucky found a couple to spend the evening with. Honestly, they’d barely be worth mentioning… if it weren’t for the fact that Bucky’s date is apparently Clara Oswald.
|"Nah, it's just one of those timey-wimey copies of her."|
|"Or maybe I forgot to pick her up after I promised to show her the 1943 World Exposition of Tomorrow."|
They stop at the main pavilion, where they’re showing off such marvels as television, aerosol mosquito repellent, and a “synthetic man” that looks like it will probably burst into flame before the night is out.
|Like a "Human Torch," if you will.|
|Yeah, they promise jetpacks and rocket cars, but all the dumb ol' 21st century has is iPhones and better medicine.|
Actually, I'd rather have the iPhones and medicine.
Howard Stark: “I did say a few years, didn’t I?”
Looks to me like there wasn’t enough power going to the floaty-things. If Howard doesn’t come up with a better power source soon, then Marty McFly won’t ever get to ride a hoverboard.
|You have about three months, Mattel.|
Steve: “You go ahead, I’ll catch up with you.”
Now, Steve has been using aliases in order to try and enlist over and over again. Since that’s illegal, Bucky’s worried that they’ll find out. Or worse, ship him over to Europe to let him die. But Steve reiterates that as long as he has the right to fight for his country, and as long as there’s breath within him, he’ll keep trying. This piques the curiosity of a man listening in on their conversation.
Bucky might not like it, but he knows that he can’t stop Steve form trying again, so he lets him be. The process goes as it ever does, but with one big exception. They don’t even examine him. The doctor gets a message from the nurse and leaves. Steve assumes he got caught, and prepares to make as much of a run for it as he can. But an MP arrives, accompanying the man from earlier, played by Stanley Tucci.
Eavesdropper: “So. You want to go overseas. Kill some Nazis.”
Steve doesn’t answer the question, because telling a man with a thick German accent that you want to kill Nazis isn’t a bright idea in the 1940’s.
The man introduces himself as Dr. Abraham Erskine of the Strategic Scientific Reserve. They make small talk, and Dr. Erskine reveals that he used to be from Germany. Which would explain the accent. Speaking of hometowns, he goes over Steve’s various enlistment attempts, with a different hometown on each. They’ve been watching him for a while.
Dr. Erskine: “But you didn’t answer my question. Do you want to kill Nazis?”
Steve: “Is this a test?”
Dr. Erskine: “Yes.”
Uh oh; should have studied, Steve.
Steve: “I don’t wanna kill anyone. I don’t like bullies. I don’t care where they’re from.”
This was apparently the right answer, because the good doctor offers Steve a chance.
Dr. Erskine: “Only a chance.”
But the choice is made, and Steve ends up with a stamp of 1A on his file. Hopefully, this change from 4F to 1A will do as much good for Steve as it did for Chris Evans.
We then cut to a secret evil lair. We can tell it’s an evil lair because it’s cut from the side of a snowy mountain. Inside, the Head Nazi Bastard asks Dr. Arnim Zola, played by Toby Jones, if he’s ready to begin. In a cute little reference to Dr. Zola’s robot body in the comics, we first see his face in a TV screen before meeting the man proper.
|"I could get used to appearing on a screen...."|
|"Nazi science sneers at safety protocols!"|
Head Nazi Bastard: “This will change… the world.”
We then cut to skinny little Steve Rogers at Camp Lehigh in the smallest soldier outfit they had for him while a British lady, played by Haley Atwell, introduces herself.
Woman: “Gentlemen, I’m Agent Carter.”
Agent Carter…. You know, that’s got a nice ring to it. What a shame that this character is probably just a glorified extra. Yep, I’m absolutely positive we won’t be seeing much of her.
|He said knowingly....|
Voice: “Agent Carter!”
Colonel Phillips comes up, played by Tommy Lee Jones… well, just being Tommy Lee Jones.
|"You want the schtick, I'll do the schtick. Just make sure the check clears."|
|"The best of the best of the best. Sir!"|
|"What's so funny, Edwards?"|
|"Your boy Captain America, over here."|
|"Not you, man."|
Anyway, as Col. Phillips explains, the goal of the Scientific Strategic Reserve is to not just make one really good soldier, but to make the world’s first super-soldier. One of the tests involves grabbing a flag off a very high flagpole in order to be allowed to skip the rest of a very hard run. Apparently, nobody has succeeded at this in seventeen years.
|Not since that cross-dresser.|
Now, there’s a very simple solution to the problem presented by the pole. If the recruits would just stand on each other’s shoulders and getting the flag with a human pyramid by having them all present the flag to him. But Steve’s solution’s good, too. Agent Carter seems to be amused by it.
As the troops start doing pushups later, Col. Phillips comes up to Dr. Erskine say that, quite frankly, he’s opposed to making Steve into the guinea pig for this experiment. Not because he’s scared for Steve’s life, but because the colonel wants the big, tough bully to get superpowers.
Col. Phillips: “Stick a needle in that kid’s arm, it’s gonna go right through him.”
But Dr. Erskine isn’t looking for brawn. His mysterious experiment can take care of that. He’s looking for heart. Phillips tries to prove his point by tossing in a dummy grenade as if it were the real thing. While all the other soldiers dive out of the way, Steve actually dives into the grenade in an attempt to save them.
Col. Phillips: “He’s still skinny.”
Later that night, as Steve sits alone in his bunk, Dr. Erskine comes to join him for a bit before the next day’s super-secret-scientific procedure.
Steve: “Can I ask you a question?”
Dr. Erskine: “Just one?”
Steve: “Why me?”
A fair question, and one that needs a little backstory. Dr. Erskine explains what happens to the little people in wars.
Dr. Erskine: “So many people forget the first country the Nazis invaded was their own.”
He explains that the Germans felt weak and small after the Great War. Until Hitler made them feel big again. Hitler was very interested in Dr. Erskine’s work, so he sent Johann Schmidt, the head of the Nazi science division, HYDRA, after Erskine. And Schmidt is the kind of person who makes everything about him.
|"Me, me, me...."|
Dr. Erskine: “The serum amplifies everything that is inside. So… good becomes great. Bad becomes worse.”
Which lines up with the other stuff we’ve seen this formula do.
|Anger becomes a force of destruction.|
|Bullies become monsters.|
|"With great power comes.... wait, this sounds familiar...."|
Steve: “Alright, we’ll drink it after.”
Dr. Erskine: “No, I don’t have procedure tomorrow. Drink it after? Drink it now.”
Over with Schmidt, he’s listening to Wagner while getting his portrait done. For some reason, the painter has a lot of red paint on his palette....
Dr. Zola enters, looking at some photos on the table that reveal the Nazis know Dr. Erskine’s whereabouts in America. And what he plans to do. And they’ve already given the order to move against Erskine’s efforts.
The next day, Steve is getting a ride through Brooklyn, where he recognizes the sights.
Steve: “I used to get beat up in that alley.”
Oh, well that’s…
Steve: “And that parking lot.”
Huh. Well, Steve and….
Steve: “And behind that diner….”
Okay, can you just point out the places you didn't get beaten up? That would probably save us some time.
Agent Carter: “Did you have something against running away?”
Yeah, it’s called asthma.
Carter tells him that she knows what it’s like to have people treat you worse than you deserve, and Steve tries to compliment her. Tries.
|Cut him some slack; he's better than Peter Parker.|
|"I know, right?"|
Old Lady: “Wonderful weather this morning, isn’t it?”
Agent Carter: “Yes, but I always carry an umbrella.”
Yeah, yeah, swordfish, but the Owls are still around, open sesame.
She hits the button to open the secret door in the bookcase and Agent Carter accompanies Steve to the secret laboratory where the great experiment will take place.
|You dang right.|
|"Will it hurt?"|
|"I won't feel a thing."|
Dr. Erskine: “Not as much as I should have.”
Doing science with a hangover? Who do you think you are, Howard Stark?
Speaking of Stark, he’s working on the project, too. He’s got the power grid hooked up to the machinery, which he says may dim half the lights in Brooklyn. If only Howard Stark had some kind of miracle power source for this experiment. But alas, such things are but a pipe dream.
Dr. Erskine takes the mic hooked up to the observation booth and gives a typical speech about how he’s taking bold steps on the path to peace, yadda yadda. Then he begins narrating the process. First, they’re going to inject all of his major muscles with some kind of formula. Then, they’re going to flood his body with “Vita-Rays.” It’s a very important step.
|I mean, if you got the serum but not the Vita-Rays....|
Dr. Erskine: “That was penicillin.”
The super-soldier serum is soon pumped into his veins with some much scarier needles and Howard Stark hits the buttons for the second phase. The rack Steve’s strapped to lifts up and encloses him in a metal shell. The shell is then absolutely flooded with Vita-Rays as the saturation percentage climbs. But at 70%, Steve starts screaming in agony. They prepare to abort, but Steve demands from within that they continue to crank it up. The machinery sparks and sputters like an Enterprise control panel and then shuts down. When the shell opens, the 90-pound weakling is gone. In his place stands what appears to be a fusion of man and Dorito.
|What a magnificent wedge of a man.|
|The horror... the horror.|
|C'mon, who wouldn't?|
But the celebration is cut short when the weaseliest and most traitorous-looking bigwig (Richard Armitage) turns out to be a Nazi spy. You'd think the name Heinz Kruger would be a bit of a giveaway.. He detonates the bomb he put in the observation booth, steals a sample of the formula, and shoots Dr. Erskine before fleeing the scene. Steve rushes over to the doctor, but it’s too late. Without any breath left to give his last words, he simply points at Steve’s heart.
Meanwhile, Thorin Oakenshield, Elrond's top assassin, is failing to get gunned down by the old lady with a machine gun at the entrance to the storefront. He speeds off in his getaway car as Agent Carter rushes out to stop his car with her pistol. And she actually succeeds by shooting the driver. Through the back window. From the other end of the street.
|And that, readers, is why she has her own show.|
Wait just a minute here! This is exactly what happened after Uncle Ben died in the first Spider-Man movie.
Father figure gets shot. Bad guy runs off in a stolen car. Newly-created hero gives chase and ends up on the car’s roof, bad guy shoots through the top of the car.
But this chase ends with the cab flipping over, the spy taking a little kid hostage, and Steve using the cab’s door as a makeshift shield. And in order to fuel fans’ crazy theories about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the kid’s name is apparently “Phil.” The spy heads to the docks and tosses the kid in the water to distract Steve. But seeing as how the kid can swim, Steve runs after the spy.
The guy is getting into a mini-submarine, but Steve’s a faster swimmer, so this doesn’t last long. The spy is brought to the surface, and in the ensuing fight, the vial of serum is broken. Before the spy commits suicide with a cyanide capsule, he gives a final message.
Spy: “Hail HYDRA.”
|"You think that will catch on? I hope it becomes a meme."|