- Alternate titles: Captain America: The Non-WWII One, Captain America: He's Dead JUST KIDDING, Captain America: *flips middle finger to DC*, Captain America: The Bucky Feelsfest, Captain America: I Understood That Reference (I just realized that this movie's title is literally Steve Rogers: James Buchanan Barnes or Steve: Bucky.)
- I'm pretty sure that 90% of Sebastian Stan's screen time is just him making this face:
- Hail Hydra memes are the best thing to come out of this movie.* The internet has responded to The Winter Soldier by creating a new meme, this time by taking pictures of a person whispering into someone's ear and adding the caption "Hail Hydra". I do not foresee myself getting tired of this anytime soon. It just does not get old.
- WarGames reference. I appreciate it. For those of you who didn't catch it: in the scene where Natasha and Steve go into the bunker full of old computers, Natasha says "Would you like to play a game?" as the computers fire up.
Somewhere out there, I have to believe Ernest Cline is grinning about this.
- I like how they acknowledged Peggy Carter without being all The Notebook about it. Peggy Carter was a loose end that Marvel couldn't have left hanging. At the same time, it was one of those things that could have easily turned into an unnecessary distraction from the main plot, if it got out of hand. Instead, there was a nice balance. We got to see Peggy and Steve interact, in their first reunion for decades. And yes, it hurt. But it was also sweet, and adorable, instead of being a sobfest just for the sake of a sobfest. It was a solid way to acknowledge Steve's WWII past without being too heavy-handed with it.
- I love Natasha. Up until this point, Natasha Romanoff has been closed-off, calculating, and even a little cold. The Winter Soldier showed us the human side that we all knew was there. I don't recall her cracking a joke in any previous movie, but she had some nice lines in this one. She's still integral to the plot, both as a spy/agent/bad-guy-puncher, but in this movie, she was also there for Steve in a way that almost nobody else could be. She's been through the events of The Avengers in New York. She knows exactly what Steve experienced then, which gives her and Steve a close relationship with an interesting dynamic. Alone, she's also a fantastic character that just keeps developing, and I'm eager to see where Marvel takes her next.
- This movie is so different from the first. The First Avenger can't help but feel nostalgic. It's a comic book movie origin story, set in the 1940s. As such, everything is lower-tech, with a patriotic bent. And a little cheesy--but can you blame Marvel? They're working off a comic book-based character, so it's already a bit over-the-top. Then, you've got somebody called Captain America, which can sound slightly tacky and does not inspire fear into the hearts of...anyone. And yet, Marvel overcomes this. It manages to pay homage to the storyline's comic book roots without making it inaccessible to moviegoers who aren't into comics. (I'm not, but I know enough Marvel background to set me apart from "casual" viewers, for lack of a better term.) A Marvel movie will probably always be a bit over-the-top--that's okay. We got with it, because Marvel is nothing if not escapism. At the same time, it still feels fresh and modern, especially The Winter Soldier. It's the fast, snappy action movie that modern audiences love, but with the larger good vs. evil and superhero identity themes that come from original Captain America stories.
- It's timely. The Winter Soldier manages to hit on a huge concern: government surveillance of citizens. (Are they knocking the NSA a little? Possibly.) A major theme of this movie is the difference between freedom and national security, and where the line must be drawn. Has there ever been a time where this issue was more hotly debated? And here we have sketchy agencies like SHIELD and Hydra basically spying on citizens. Don't tell me Marvel didn't do that on purpose.
- (vaguely spoilery) With books, I follow a "They're not dead unless you show me a body" rule. With Marvel, I follow a "They're not dead. Ever." rule. You almost had me, Marvel, but not quite. You'd think, after Loki in The Dark World, I would have figured it out. With Loki, though, you expect that sort of thing from him. He's the trickster god, after all. But in The Winter Soldier...I don't want to say too much, but... *claps for Marvel* You almost had me. I almost believed it. I didn't want to believe it, but the body looked pretty convincing. And yet, some part of me kept saying, "Nope, wait for it. Wait for it."
- Somehow, my friend and I ended up being the only two people in the entire theater who stayed for the final scene at the very end of the credits. Your ignorance is showing.
- This scene: "Prep him." "But he's been out of cryo for too long." "Then wipe him." EXCUSE YOU. WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO DO THIS. If I was Bruce Banner, I would have been Hulking out during that scene.
Spoiler: I am not Bruce Banner. I have no PhDs and I remain at a constant non-green state of 5'1".Like I talk about a little more in reaction 16, I have a lot of feelings about Steve and Bucky, and they aren't going away anytime soon.
- What is Loki's staff doing in the mid-credits teaser scene? (Read more about it here.) I noticed that he didn't use it at all in The Dark World, which is partially understandable, since he spend much of it as a prisoner. Still, though, if Marvel had wanted it to happen, there was ample opportunity for him to get his hands on the scepter again. Does this mean we'll see Loki again? I hope so.
- Marvel has once again created a movie where all we want to do is hug the bad guy. Well, one of the "bad guys", anyway, who isn't really a "bad guy" at all. Marvel has a marvelous knack for creating both villains that we love and villains that we hate. You have probably noticed: I love Loki. He's a villain (well, actually, I have an entire blog post basically debating this, but I'll go with it for argument's sake). Then again, there's Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2, who makes me want to throw something at the screen. In The Winter Soldier, Alexander Pierce is the one I hate, and Bucky is the one I love. (But then again, Bucky's not really a villain, either.) It's all a matter of making the villains believable, giving them human qualities. And Marvel is brilliant at it.
- Hydra snipers shoot like Stormtroopers. How many times can they miss a point-blank shot? Steve should probably be dead so many times over, even with the shield. Then again, most movie snipers seem to be awful shots.
Are we not going to talk about that one awful sniper in The Great Game?
- People like to say that the most indestructible thing in the Marvel cinematic universe is not Captain America's shield or even Mjolnir, but the Hulk's pants. I disagree. The most indestructible thing thing in the Marvel universe is the bun in Maria Hill's hair. It never moves. It never falls apart. She never has to stick extra bobby pins in it throughout the day. What sorcery is this?
- All this adorable yet awful Steve/Bucky fan art keeps breaking my heart but I can't stop loving it. *"You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness," sings Gotye, muffled, in the distance* Right now, Pinterest and Tumblr are full of The Winter Soldier fan art. You can't escape it. And I love it, because it's adorable, but at the same time, FEELS. Ouch. Two weeks after going to the theater, and I'm still hurting a bit about Bucky. Again, I commend Marvel for this. I actually love when books/movies can get to me like this, because it means they made me feel something. Isn't that the whole point of fiction? I want fiction to make me feel, and if it does, I'm glad of it. And I have the fandom mentality, so I'm bound to experience "feels" anyway. Yay, examples: this, this, this (it isn't sad but I like it), this, this, and this.
Um, excuse me, who gave you permission to make this? (From this Tumblr.)
- I don't care what you say, Captain America is HARDCORE. People can complain about Cap being the most useless, most boring, or most whatever else Avenger. That's fine. They're wrong. Cap jumps off skyscrapers and out of planes on a regular basis. He stood up to Loki. He's been proven worthy of holding Mjolnir, he can flip the Hulk, and he can run a 40-yard dash in 3.82 seconds. Source. Argument=invalid.
- I leave you with this GIF. Do I laugh or cry?
*For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to Google "vladimir putin hail hydra" (because, you know, why not?). Children, do not try this at home.