Thursday, July 7, 2016

Recap: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Part 3: Freedom of Information

The Captain vs America!

Of course, “America” is represented by an organization filled with Nazis. So much for the film impartially looking at both sides of the “Freedom vs. Security” argument. 

Wait, did this movie just Godwin itself?
While Steve and Natasha flee the rubble of Arnim Zola’s magnificent mechanical mind, Alexander Pierce relaxes at home as he bids goodbye to his housekeeper, Renata, for the night. As she leaves, the Winter Soldier sits in a darkened corner of the other room, waiting.

Alexander Pierce: "Want some milk?"

But he's waiting for orders, not milk. Pierce tells him that they have less time to take care of things, so a certain couple of targets will need to be taken out within ten hours. But before any specifics can be given, Renata comes back for her purse, stumbling across the meeting. So Pierce shoots her, since he can't have any witnesses.

Alexander Pierce: "Oh, Renata, I wish you would have knocked."

Unlike Winter Soldier's bullets, Pierce's bullets don't go through bodies.
Good thing, too. Replacement windows like that are expensive.
The next day, Sam Wilson enjoys a nice jog completely free of any on-your-lefts. But after returning home, Steve and Natasha show up and ask for a place to lay low. He lets them in, and they wash up and share a moment.

Natasha: "When I first joined S.H.I.E.L.D., I though t I was going straight. But I guess I just traded in the KGB for HYDRA."

Geez, you did start young, Natasha. Born in 1984, and the KGB disbanded in 1991.

Steve carried Natasha to safety from the wreckage earlier, and she wants to know if he would trust her to do the same for him.

Steve: "I would now. And I'm always honest."

Like George Washington. Or Abe Lincoln. Or Superman.

Natasha: "You seem pretty chipper for someone who just found out they died for nothing."
Steve: "Well. Guess I just like to know who I'm fighting."

"I still don't know what those monsters in New York were, to be honest."
Breakfast is soon served, and the question around the table is who exactly launched the missile strike. I mean, scythe-hackingnotwithstanding, that's pretty hard to authorize.

Steve: "Pierce."
Natasha: "Who happens to be sitting on top of the most secure building in the world."

Which is why Steve wants to target someone else in Pierce's organization. Specifically, somebody aboard the Lemurian Star, where the algorithm was. Like Jasper Sitwell. Now the question is how to kidnap him. Sam offers his services by showing pictures of what he flew as a Pararescue.

Steve: "I thought you said you were a pilot."
Sam: "I never said 'pilot.'"

And Sam won't take no for an answer.

Sam: "Dude, Captain America needs my help. There's no better reason to get back in."

Step 1: Go get a working "Exo-7 Falcon" for Sam to fly. This goes so smoothly that we don’t even see it and instead cut to the beginnings of Step 2, as Senator Stern from Iron Man 2 (Garry Shandling) and Jasper Sitwell exit a restaurant.

Senator Stern: "Listen, I gotta fly home tonight, 'cause, uh, I got some constituency problem and I gotta press the flesh."
Jasper Sitwell: "Any constituent in particular, Mr. Senator?"
Senator Stern: "Oh, no, not really, twenty-three, kind of hot. Real hot. You know, wants to be a reporter, I think. I don't know."

So like Christine Everheart, she's doing a spread on Stern. And she might even write an article. The two of them get in for a good handshake, lean close....

Senator Stern: "Hail HYDRA."

And launch a million memes.

Even Captain America got in on it.
As Stern leaves, Sitwell dismisses his bodyguards, since he's got a call from Alexander Pierce. But it's not actually from Pierce, it's from Sam. He makes Sitwell a deal: If Sitwell comes with him, he'll tell his pals to stop aiming a laser sight at Sitwell's chest.

Sitwell gets taken to the top of a building, where Steve roughs him up a bit while demanding answer about Zola's algorithm. As we all know, Sitwell's patsy act is legendary, so Cap gets nothing out of him. Eventually, he decides to threaten Sitwell.

Agent Sitwell: "Is this little display meant to insinuate that you're gonna throw me off the roof? Because it's really not your style, Rogers."

"Honestly, it's more of a Batman thing."
But it is Natasha's style, so she kicks him off the roof and continues to play matchmaker for Steve.

Natasha: "Oh, wait, what about that girl from Accounting, Laura..."
Steve: "Lillian. Lip piercing, right?"
Natasha: "Yeah, she's cute."

Well, maybe you should date her, then.

Steve: "Yeah. I'm not ready for that."

Plus, she's a HYDRA agent for all you know.

Sitwell get returned to the rooftop by Sam, now fully suited up in his Falcon wings.

"You know what would go with this? A red suit. I should look into that."
And the interrogation continues a bit more smoothly.

Agent Sitwell: "Zola's algorithm is a program... for choosing... Insight's tagets."
Steve: "What targets?"
Agent Sitwell: "You! A TV anchor in Cairo..."

Moon Knight?

Agent Sitwell: "The Under Secretary of Defense, a high school valedictorian in Iowa City, Bruce Banner, Stephen Strange, anyone who's a threat to HYDRA!"

"The hell did I do?"
But more than that, Zola's algorithm can use people's bank records, credit scores, emails, voting patterns, Amazon history, et cetera to determine what people would likely pose a threat in the future. Then these people get eliminated before they even start acting up, courtesy of the Insight helicarriers.

So our heroes, and Sitwell, drive off to enact the next part of the plan, which involves using Sitwell to bypass the security and access the helicarriers to sabotage them. This plan is cut short when the Winter Soldier lands on the car, reaches in, grabs Sitwell, and throws him into the path of an oncoming semi. Then he gets to work taking out the car by taking the wheel.

No, literally taking the wheel.
Steve, Natasha, and Sam bail out as reinforcements arrive out hand more Weapons to the Winter Soldier and also provide armed backup. The battle ends up spilling off the overpass and into the city proper. Luckily, the only casualty so far is Winter Soldier's goggles.

After Steve evades gunfire inside of a bus while Sam takes out Winter Soldier's support, Winter Soldier follows Natasha's voice to take her out, but it turns out to be a recording of her. This allows her to try and fail to ambush him, but she does manage to short out his metal arm for a second with one of her gadgets. He ends up paying her back by shooting her for the second time in five years.

Before he can finish the job, though, Steve comes in to take on the Winter Soldier in close-quarters combat. The two are pretty evenly-matched in terms of skill, but the connection goes deeper than that. When Steve knocks the Winter Soldier's mask off....

The twist nobody saw coming! ...Unless they saw the poster.
Or read a comic after 2005. Or knew that Sebastian Stan was called back for the sequel....
Steve: "Bucky?"
Winter Soldier: "Who the hell is Bucky?"

Winter Soldier prepares to use Steve's hesitation to finish him off, but Sam comes in on his wings to knock Winter Soldier away. And he disappears like a ghost as our three heroes are taken into cornered Strike, led by Rumlow. The only thing keeping it from being a straight-up execution is the fact that civilians and news choppers are around, and they might not take too well to Captain America getting shot in public. So our three heroes are taken into custody.

Cuffed and in the back of an armored vehicle, Steve tells his friends that the Winter Soldier is actually his long-lost comrade, Bucky. Despite the fact that the Winter Soldier doesn't even recognize him.

Sam: "How is that even possible? It was, like, 70 years ago."

Right, because there's no possible way that a man from the 1940s could stay young into the New Tens.

Steve theorizes that it had to do with that time Bucky's unit got captured in '43. 

To summarize the first film, Steve's first real outing as Captain America had him rescuing Bucky's unit from a HYDRA base. Bucky himself was strapped to a table in some kind of lab, implying that Zola was experimenting on him. And as we'll see when Winter Soldier has a flashback, this is actually a pretty farfetched explanation.

As Steve mopes for a bit over his buddy's turn to evil, Natasha continues to lose HP from that bullet wound. Sam tells one of the jackbooted S.H.I.E.L.D. thugs that they need to get her to a doctor, but the only reply he gets is when one of them whips out his stun baton... which he uses to take out the other S.H.I.E.L.D. thug. And then he takes off his helmet to reveal that he isn't even a "he."

Maria Hill: "That thing was squeezing my brain. ...Who's this guy?"

“Did they recast Rhodey again? I liked Don Cheadle.”
The truck soon arrives at an out-of-the-way location so Rumlow can get his men started on digging three shallow graves. But it seems as though the intended occupants lifted Nick Fury's laser cutter trick to escape to one of Nick Fury's old safehouses. Once there, Natasha gets a doctor to look her over while they all have a long-awaited reunion.

Nick Fury: "About damn time."

"Nick! We thought you were dead!"
"Are you kidding? I'm contracted for, like, five movies after this one."
Nick Fury: "Lacerated spinal column, cracked sternum, shattered collarbone, perforated liver, and one hell of a headache."
Doctor: "Don't forget your collapsed lung."
Nick Fury: "Let's not forget that."

Wow, looks like he won't be out of that bed for a while. Or maybe just until the climax of the movie.

Natasha: "They cut you open. Your heart stopped."
Nick Fury: "Tetrodotoxin B. Slows the pulse to one beat a minute. Banner developed it for stress. Didn't work so great for him, but we found a use for it."

"That's a lot of work to fake your own death."
"Faking deaths is easy. You should have seen what we had to do to get Coulson back from the dead."
"Coulson's alive?"
"...No. Why do you ask?"
Steve: "Why all the secrecy? Why not just tell us?"
Maria Hill: "Any attempt on the director's life had to look successful."
Nick Fury: "Can't kill you if you're already dead."

Yeah, but suicide as self-defense might not be a good go-to option.

That night, the Winter Soldier is in a HYDRA base getting some maintenance on his arm while flashing back to the 1940's. It seems that after Bucky fell off the train, he was retrieved by HYDRA operatives who gave him a new arm and a new purpose before brainwashing him and freezing him.

So... the guy that Zola happened to experiment on just happens to be found by HYDRA after falling off a train, allowing Zola to continue converting him into their secret weapon? Convenient, but not impossible.
But Bucky flashes back to Zola in a snowy forest, implying that Bucky was brought to Zola after falling off that train. The problem here being that Zola was on the train that Bucky fell off of, and ended up quickly captured by Captain America.

So when did Zola meet Bucky in the snow? It wasn't snowy when Zola first experimented on Bucky in '43.
And since Agent Carter shows Zola imprisoned in 1946, with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s founding nowhere in sight, where was Bucky held in the years before Zola could reform HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D and gain the resources to continue to turn Bucky into a weapon?

The timeline here was a bit wonky to begin with, but Agent Carter seems to have mucked it all up.
Or maybe Bucky's remembering things wrong.
Either way, these memories upset him so much that he shoves the guy working on his arm. Eventually, Pierce is brought in to try and literally slap some sense into him.

No matter how much Pierce tells Bucky that HYDRA, and the world, needs him to complete his mission, Bucky is absolutely fixated on Steve. Because even though he can't remember who Steve is, he can feel in his gut that he should know. And that feeling is turning him into a human blue screen of death, since it completely conflicts with his sense of self. Specifically, that he has no sense of self. He's a weapon. He doesn't know people. He kills people.

Winter Soldier: "But I knew him."

Pierce tells the scientists to wipe his mind again and start him from scratch. And they do, with a brainwashing machine so painful that they have to give him a mouthguard to keep him from biting his own tongue off.

Back at Camp Fury, Nick tells his allies about the man we just saw give the order to fry the memories out of a man's brain.

Nick Fury: "This man declined a Nobel Peace Prize. He said peace wasn't an achievement, it was a responsibility."

Yeah, well, Doctor Octopus once said that brilliance isn't a privilege, but a gift that should be used for the good of mankind. Marvel villains like to coin inspirational quotes, apparently.

Nick Fury: "See, it's stuff like this that gives me trust issues."

But the time has come to set up the big movie-ending save-the-day plan. Fury has three data chips, one for each helicarrier. Before the helicarriers start eliminating targets, they will need to sneak on board each craft and plug in a chip. Once all three are hooked up, the new programming will override each helicarrier's directive to shoot innocent people.

Nick Fury: "We have to assume everyone onboard those carriers in HYDRA."

Hello, friendly fire.

Fury wants to try and salvage what's left of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Steve refuses. After all, HYDRA managed to fester within S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades, and Steve points out that Fury never even noticed.

Nick Fury: "Why do you think we're meeting in this cave? I noticed."
Steve: "How many paid the price before you did?"
Nick Fury: "Look, I didn't know about Barnes."
Steve: "Even if you had, would you have told me? Or would you have compartmentalized that, too?"

And the others agree with Cap's decision. S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to go in order to prevent more incidents like this.

Nick Fury: "It looks like you're giving the orders now, Captain."

"Fine, Captain WikiLeaks. You want freedom of information?
I'll give the world freedom of information until it damn well chokes on it."
Steve takes a moment after the briefing to flashback to after his mother's funeral, when Bucky walked home with him and offered whatever help Steve needed to get through this rough patch.

Bucky: "I'm with you to the end of the line, pal."

Sam walks up to Steve, telling him that Bucky will try and stop them again. And even though he used to be Steve's best friend, they may have to take him down due to what he's become.

Steve: "I don't know if I can do that."
Sam: "Well, he might not give you a choice."

But enough talk, it's time for action. And Step 1 of this plan is to go get Steve something to wear. And as we see from the reaction of Smithsonian Security Guard Stan Lee, he ends up stealing it from his own museum exhibit.

Stan Lee: "Oh, man. I am so fired."

Stan? You’re working as a security guard?

“Inflicting misery upon your creations is fun and all, but it doesn’t pay the bills.”
The real irony? I don't think this is actually Cap's real suit.

Most likely, Cap just stole either a mothballed prototype or a flawed replica.
With a little over two hours before Project: Insight launches, the World Security Council has gathered at the Triskelion to oversee this momentous occasion.

Elsewhere, Captain America, Maria Hill, and Sam Wilson are busy taking control of the communications department. And Steve begins broadcasting a message over the PA system, interrupting the World Security Council's little get-together.

Steve: "You're heard a lot about me over the last few days. Some of you were even ordered to hunt me down. But I think it's time you know the truth."

Looks like Steve's about to go full-on John Galt!

Steve: "S.H.I.E.L.D. is not what we thought it was."

"Unless you knew it was actually HYDRA. In which case, disregard that last sentence."
Steve: "Alexander Pierce is their leader. The Strike and Insight crew are HYDRA as well. I don't know how many more, but I know they're in the building. They could be standing right next to you."

"Better shoot the person on your left to make sure."
Steve: "They almost have what they want. Absolute control. They shot Nick Fury. And it won't end there. If you launch those helicarriers today, HYDRA will be able to kill anyone who stands in their way. Unless we stop them. I know I'm asking a lot. But the price of freedom is high. It always has been. And it's a price I'm willing to pay."

"I'm willing to sacrifice you all for the greater good to keep HYDRA from sacrificing people for the greater good."
Steve: "And if I'm the only one, then so be it. But I'm willing to bet I'm not."
Sam: "Did you write that down first, or was it off the top of your head?"

Over with the World Security Council, Pierce has decided to make that snappy comment he's been putting off while his men point guns at the Council's heads.

Alexander Pierce: "I guess I've got the floor."

"Now I'll say something snappy."
Meanwhile, Rumlow threatens the guy in charge of launching the helicarriers to try and get him to launch them early. Nervously, the agent refuses. Rumlow points a gun at his head, so Agent 13 points a gun at Rumlow's head, and suddenly, guns are pointed every which way.

Rumlow drops his gun before a firefight can erupt, but whips out the knife he brought to this gunfight, sparking a shootout. In the kerfuffle, the launch is overridden and the helicarriers prepare to launch from the Potomac.

So Cap and Falcon head out to start whupping HYDRA butt and get those chips in the helicarriers.

Sam: "Hey, Cap? How do we know the good guys from the bad guys?"
Captain America: "If they're shooting at you, they're bad.”

So... how are the people inside the building supposed to figure it out?

If I may digress for a moment, my girlfriend and I have babysat my younger cousins a few times, and we often play a game with Nerf guns. You get randomly selected a role as a Good Guy, Bad Guy, or a civilian, and you follow the rules of your role. Good Guys try to protect the civilians and shoot the Bad Guys, and the Bad Guys try to kill everyone else.

Inevitably, each of these games always ends with some variation of "Why did you shoot me? I thought we were both Good Guys!"

So if that kind of confusion can happen with only four people, imagine what sort of confused bloodbath is going on at this very moment inside the Triskelion.

“Drop your guns!”
“No, you drop your guns, S.H.I.E.L.D. drone!”
"Wait, are you HYDRA?"
"Yeah, are you?"
"...I don't even know at this point."
Cap lands on one of the launching helicarriers and starts fighting goons while Falcon takes to the skies, barely dodging the helicarrier's guns.

Pierce, watching the violence unfold, attempts to get the Council on his side. But no amount of smooth-talking can undo the fact that he's the leader of what was originally a fascist Nazi organization.

Before one of them can get shot for not joining up with Pierce, the British councilmember starts beating up the HYDRA goons and ends up with a gun pointed at Pierce. And once she takes off her holographic disguise (wait, what?), she reveals herself as Black Widow.

Black Widow: "I'm sorry. Did I step on your moment?"

While Falcon and Cap work outside, Black Widow works inside to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA's deepest secrets and prepare to leak it onto the internet.

Alexander Pierce: "If you do this, none of your past is gonna remain hidden."

Ah, the ever-mysterious red in her ledger.

Alexander Pierce: "Are you sure you're ready for the world to see you as you really are?"
Black Widow: "Are you?"

He asked you first.

Outside, Cap and Falcon each manage to break a helicarrier and plug in a chip. S.H.I.E.L.D. pilots prepare to lend air support, but end up getting mowed down by the Winter Soldier. Then he takes one of their Quinjets for himself.

Pierce points out a flaw in Black Widow's plan. Namely, that it requires two high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D.  members to disable the encryption. And Pierce is just one man. Luckily, Nick Fury arrives by way of helicopter to give her an assist.

He's looking good, considering that shattered collarbone, lacerated spine....
They share a moment where they both express their disappointment in the other. Fury doesn't like that Pierce has turned into a villain, and Pierce doesn't like that Fury doesn't have the guts to take their job to the next level.

Alexander Pierce: "I can bring order to the lives of seven billion people by sacrificing twenty million."

That's 350 people kept "safe" for each death. Just the right number to be the perfect debate starting point.

Nick Fury isn't swayed, so Pierce whips out his next trump card, that he wiped Fury's authorization from the system.

Nick Fury: "I know you erased my password. Probably deleted my retinal scan. But if you want to stay ahead of me, Mr. Secretary, you need to keep both eyes open."

Uh... not much of a retina left to scan there, Nick.
And with both retinal scans entered in, the files are released onto the web as Falcon gives Cap a lift to the last helicarrier. 

Falcon: "You know, you're a lot heavier than you look."
Captain America: "I had a big breakfast."

"First movie, and I'm already suited up in an action scene! Suck it, Terence Howard!"
Before we can discover whether Cap is a Wheaties or pancake guy, Winter Soldier comes along to attack Cap and rip one of Falcon's wings off before knocking him over the helicarrier edge with a boot to ze chest, stranding him on top of the Triskelion. So while he's in the area, Maria sends him to take care of Rumlow before he can reach Black Widow and the Council.

And so, Steve Rogers meets back up with Bucky.

Captain America: "People are gonna die, Buck. I can't let that happen."

Bucky says nothing.

The fight begins as Bucky does whatever he can to keep Cap from replacing the chip. As they fight, Widow finishes the last of the data upload.

Black Widow: "And it's trending."

Pierce, who seems to have more backup plans than Idaho has potatoes, hits a button on his phone, which makes the council members' ID tags electrocute them. Widow, however, he leaves alive as a bargaining chip, since she can't take off the pin without setting it off. On the final helicarrier, the fight continues as Bucky attempts to destroy the new chip.

"Bucky! Bucky! Drop it! Bad boy! You drop it now!
Cap manages to subdue his friend while Falcon tries to subdue Rumlow.

Rumlow: "There are no prisoners with HYDRA. Just order."

Okay. Looks like I'll be making a running tally of each prisoner HYDRA ends up keeping from now on. We'll see what we get.

Rumlow: "And order only comes through pain. You ready for yours?"
Falcon: "Man, shut the hell up."

Soon enough, only one minute remains before Insight starts attacking the world. Targets are set as Cap struggles toward the main server, getting shot repeatedly.

President Ellis, who probably just wants to not be a target after the whole AIM thing.

A man helping his local Little League team.

Tony Stark.

And thousands more.

But at the last second, Cap plugs in the new chip, redirecting each helicarrier's guns toward the only three targets on their new list: the other helicarriers. Natasha zaps herself with one of her electric stings, shorting out her pin and allowing Fury to take Pierce down for good.

Black Widow: "Ow." Those really do sting."

As the MCU goes 4-for-4 with destroying helicarriers, Pierce has only one last thing to say.

Pierce: "Hail HYDRA."

In the end, their biggest weakness was simply being helicarriers. Those things never stay in the air for long.
As the helicarriers fall out of the sky, Falcon ends up running away from his fight with Rumlow to dodge the helicarrier smashing into the Triskelion. Luckily, Black Widow and Fury are in a chopper, ready to rescue him.

Black Widow: "Stay where you are!"
Falcon: "Not an option!"

They narrowly manage to catch him in the helicopter as Cap saves Bucky from being trapped under some steel pillars. So Bucky returns the favor by punching Cap in the face.

Captain America: "You know me."
Winter Soldier: "No I don't!"

This isn't the protest of a man who wants to forget. This is the primal fear of somebody who has learned that remembering Steve brings nothing but more torture at the hands of his superiors.

Captain America: "Your name is James Buchanan Barnes."
Winter Soldier: "Shut up!"

Cap drops his shield into the ocean below, refusing to fight his best friend. His friend responds by knocking him down and punching him.

Winter Soldier: "You're! My! Mission!"
Captain America: "Then finish it. Because I'm with you 'til the end of the line."

The end of the line, it seems, involves the helicarrier breaking some more, throwing Cap down into the water in slow motion. But this doesn't end in the star-spangled-man freezing again. This time, he has a metal-armed rescuer. One who's nice enough to drag him to shore and leave for the post-credits scene of Ant-Man.
Sometime later, Steve wakes up in the hospital, where Sam waits on his right side, playing the Troubleman soundtrack for his comrade. And since Sam has literally become Cap's right-hand man....

Steve: "On your left...."

With S.H.I.E.L.D. disbanded, the remaining non-HYDRA members have to get new jobs. Agent 13 joins the CIA, Maria Hill joins Stark Industries, Brock Rumlow gets some treatment for the horrible burns he got from the crashing helicarrier, and Natasha gets to be part of a Senate hearing. Luckily, she takes it more seriously than Tony did.

Committee General: "Why haven't we yet heard from Captain Rogers?"
Natasha: "I don't know what's left left for him to say. I think the wreck in the middle of the Potomac made his point fairly eloquently."
Committee General: "Well, he could explain how this country's expected to maintain its national security now that he and you have laid waste our intelligence apparatus."
Natasha: "HYDRA was selling you lies, not intelligence."
Committee General: "Many of which you seem to have had a personal hand in telling."

But as Nick Fury torches the remains of his old life, Natasha suddenly gets very blunt.

Natasha: "You're not going to put me in a prison. You're not going to put any of us in a prison. You know why?"
Committee General: "Do enlighten us."
Natasha: "Because you need us. Yes, the world is a vulnerable place, and yes, we help make it that way. But we're also the ones best qualified to defend it."

"I can say with certainty that neither I nor any other Avenger will ever decide that we need any oversight."
Natasha: "So, if you want to arrest me, arrest me. You'll know where to find me."

Sam, Steve, and Nick all meet in front of the latter's gravestone.

Nick Fury: "So, you've experienced this sort of thing before."
Steve: "You get used to it."

I see what you did there, movie.
Fury tells them that he'll be in Europe for a bit taking care of loose HYDRA ends. He invites Cap to come along, but Cap's got a friend in need out the somewhere. Sam refuses the same offer.

Sam: "I'm more of a soldier than a spy."

Yeah, and Tony's more of a tinker than a tailor.

As Nick leaves, Natasha comes up to tell Cap that she'll be off coming up with some new cover identities. But before she goes, she hands him a file that she called in a few favors from Kiev to get. One on the Winter Soldier.

Natasha: "Will you do me a favor? Call that nurse."
Steve: "She's not a nurse."

Neither is Jane Foster. What're ya gonna do?

Natasha: "And you're not a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent."

After a platonic kiss on the cheek, Natasha leaves him with one final warning.

Natasha: "You might not want to pull on that thread."

But Steve is determined to save his friend, even if it takes him three movies of doing other things before it happens.

Steve: "You don't have to come with me."
Sam: "I know. When do we start?"

"I know I'll never get my own movie, so I'll take what I can get."
"Hey, Steve, do you think you can get me into the next Avengers film?"
"Can I be a lead character and not just a cameo?"
"Don't push your luck, Sam."
And with that, the credits roll.

In the mid-credits scene, we find Baron Wolfgang von Strucker of HYDRA (Thoman Kretschmann), gleefully unleashing a cheesy German accent while wearing a monocle Which is a little disorienting after such a relatively grounded film.

Von Strucker is confident that his operation is still safe, since not everything HYDRA was up to was part of S.H.I.E.L.D. And he has big plans for the future. Plans that involve Loki's spear, which HYDRA operatives within S.H.I.E.L.D. probably recovered after the Battler of New York. Plans that involve what he's created with the spear's power.

While other HYDRA bases will distract the Avengers, Von Strucker's operatives will finish burying their failures and training "the twins."

Hey, look, two HYDRA prisoners. That didn't take long.
And one of them seems to be a terrible juggler, since her blocks aren’t coming down.

Maybe she’s stuck in the Matrix.
Von Strucker: "It's not a world of spies anymore. Not even a world of heroes. This is the age of miracles, Doctor. There's nothing more horrifying than a miracle."

Take that, blocks?
And the final post-credits scene simply shows Bucky staring at his own Smithsonian exhibit while wearing his own Unabomber costume. So with a promise that Captain America will return in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the film ends.

So. The MCU has carved out a new role for Cap. Let's review and see why exactly this movie struck such a chord with audiences, despite destroying everything we thought we knew.


  1. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch aren't prisoners. They're there voluntarily.

    1. I went back and forth for a while on whether to refer to them as prisoners, and I ended up doing so for the following reasons.

      1. They're being kept in cells. Comfortable cells, but still clearly cells.
      2. They don't seem to be able to voluntarily LEAVE, even though they voluntarily arrived. HYDRA seems to be limiting their freedom at the very least.
      3. The Marvel Cinematic Wiki refers to Quicksilver as being "imprisoned" within his cell.

      But you're absolutely right, they are there voluntarily.

      Hmmm... voluntary imprisonment?