Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Or… “Captain America: The Death Of SHIELD”
– a Hero Corner Catch-up Review by David 2

When last we saw Captain America, he was being impersonated by Loki as part of a scene in “Thor: The Dark World”. But before that, he was riding away on his motorcycle, having helped save the world as a founding member of “The Avengers”.

But now we are in “Phase Two” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s time to see what Cap has been doing.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was released in 2014 and stars Chis Evans.  Scarlett Johansson, Colbie Smothers, and Samuel L. Jackson return from “The Avengers”.  Hailey Atwell and Toby Jones have brief appearances from “Captain America: The First Avenger”.  Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, and Robert Redford join in as well.  And Gary Shandling joins in from “Iron Man 2” as the slimy Senator Stern.

After “The Avengers”, Steve Rogers (Evans) is doing what he knows best.  He’s doing missions alongside Black Widow (Johansson) for Nick Fury (Jackson) and SHIELD.  When he’s not doing missions, he’s making new friends in the form of retired paratrooper Sam Wilson (Mackie), who runs an outreach center for veterans.  He’s also flirting with a nurse named Sharon (VanCamp) who lives next door to his apartment.

Things seem okay, but after a mission to rescue a high-level SHEILD agent from terrorists, Cap notices something is wrong.  He brings his attention to Fury, who shows him what they’re doing.  They’re creating new SHIELD helicariers armed to the teeth and powered by Tony Stark’s repulsor technology.  Fury wants the world to be prepared.  Cap thinks this is fear-mongering and not what SHIELD or America are supposed to represent.

Fury begins to question this as well, and he raises questions with his boss, Alexander Pierce (Redford).  As he leaves, though, he is attacked by unknown assailants, along with a masked man with long hair.  Cap is also attacked by members of his own team.  Fury escapes and hides in Cap’s apartment, but is soon shot by a sniper.  We learn that Cap’s neighbor is really “Agent 13”, a SHIELD agent assigned to watch Cap on Fury’s orders.  Steve chases the sniper only to learn he knows how to defend against Cap’s shield.  Fury is taken to the hospital but is declared dead.  Cap demands answers and he turns to Black Widow, who says the masked assailant is a legendary assassin dubbed “The Winter Soldier”.  The two of them try to get answers from the data Widow took from their last mission, which leads them to an underground base below Cap’s original training camp from World War II.  There they find a room full of old computers, all to store the intelligence and memory of captured Hydra agent Arnim Zola (Jones).  Zola says that Hydra did not die with the death of the Red Skull.  It survived and took over SHIELD.  Hydra is now in control of key positions of power.  Zola even says that Hydra killed Tony Stark’s parents and made it look like an accident.  Zola then reveals that the whole reason why he was telling this to Steve and Romanov is to buy time for a SHIELD bunker-buster bomb to arrive.

The two manage to survive the blast and then seek shelter with Sam, who then offers his support with the help of an experimental jet-pack codenamed “Falcon”.  The three chase down SHIELD Agent Sitwell and then get the truth out of him about what Hydra is doing with Zola’s program.

There is more, of course, but I’ll stop here so I don’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t seen it.

It should be noted that when this movie came out, ABC was in the first season of their TV series “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” which is supposed to be set in the MCU.  This needs to be mentioned with a “spoiler alert” because the events in “Winter Soldier” dramatically change the TV series.  SHIELD no longer exists by the end of the movie, which means “Agents of SHIELD” pretty much become “Agents of Nothing”, and it seriously harms the TV series.  This is where Marvel boss Kevin Feige falls short, since it’s his job to keep everything in the whole MCU together, and how “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” handled the climatic turn of events versus how the TV series did seem to operate like they were from two different universes.

But turning back to the movie itself, it was exceptionally done.  The introduction of Falcon to the MCU was really well done, and the name-dropping from Tony Stark to Doctor Strange and even the quick appearance of the Avengers Tower showed that the directors Anthony and Joe Russo knew how to tell a story.  Unlike “Iron Man Three”, which wanted to tell a Tom Clancy novel with superheroes, “Winter Soldier” showed how it is done.

Next up… Marvel goes cosmic.

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