Captain America 3: The Winter Soldier

Still working on getting an archive together for older posts so I thought I’d throw a few on here for posterity.

At last we have Marvel’s latest opus, the third Captain America movie, Civil War.  Before I thought maybe this movie could be called an Iron Man movie or an Avengers movie because it has the full cast but that isn’t the case.  The focus here really stays on Captain America.  It’s his movie to carry.  This is going to be a spoiler heavy essay on the movie so I’ll get quick thoughts out of the way if you haven’t seen it.

I liked the movie.  I did.  I think nits will be picked but they always are.  If you haven’t, you need to see Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron to understand the plot of this movie.

I’ve spent about 15-20 minutes in the car on the way home mulling this one over and trying to explain the plot of Civil War to myself get myself in a reviewer frame of mind.  This is a dense movie that really bears some scrutiny because it gets into weighty territory and it’s not simple to explain.

This movie begins at a point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe storyline where it is not clear who the Avengers work for anymore.  That plot point actually didn’t hit me until I started driving home.  SHIELD is gone and the Avengers are operating with no governmental oversight.  I just assumed they still worked for the US or SHIELD.  That is weird if you say it out loud.  Captain America no longer works for America.  And yet, Agents of SHIELD is still on the air?  But if the Avengers don’t work for the government anymore, how did Nick Fury show up at the end of Ultron with a fully crewed Helicarrier and War Machine and The Falcon?  Are those two Avengers still US soldiers?

These are questions that don’t get answered.  The point is that the situation is how it is.  In order to fix this and remedy the collateral damage that follows the Avengers the world has created “The Sokovia Accords.”  Sokovia was the country where the conclusion of Avengers 2 took place.  This document states that the Avengers will be put under the control of the United Nations.  A UN panel will oversee them, which is presumably more accountable than the “World Council” from Avengers aka “The People Who Sit in Poorly Lit Rooms and Secretly Rule the World.”  The UN Panel will vote on where to send The Avengers.  The Avengers have a choice, go along with this or “retire.”

Captain America and The Falcon, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson, have a problem with this.  Their argument is that it’s only a matter of time before the people making decisions send the Avengers somewhere they don’t want to go or prevent them from going somewhere they need to be.  This confuses me because if Cap and Falcon weren’t Avengers would they go back to working for the United States Government which might also make controversial decisions on where to send them?  And who is funding all this, Tony Stark?  Would Captain America have to fly coach if he went out on his own?

Captain America is making the same argument that Superman should have made in Man of Steel but didn’t.  That he is somehow uniquely qualified to combat these international threats from Supervillains.  Vision points out that none of this shit happened before the Superheroes came into existence, making the Chris Nolan argument.  Tony Stark is agreeing they should sign over control.  I guess that’s growth from Avengers 2.  He is never really explicit about this.  They could have added a line of dialogue to the effect of, “I tried to manage things and I created Ultron.  We need to try a different solution.”  It feels too sudden without that kind of acknowledgement.  It feels like Tony Stark is for the agreement because he is in the comic books and there’s no movie if he and Cap both agree that it goes too far.

So what happens?  Immediately the agreement is put to the test.  Someone bombs the signing of the Accords killing the King of Wakanda which righteously pisses off his son T’Challa.  And uh oh, it looks like the Bomber is The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes.  Not wanting his old friend to get killed by the cops, Captain America rushes to capture Bucky first.  Cap and Wint escape but they’re pursued by the cops and T’Challa’s alter ego, the Black Panther.  He is pretty badass in this movie.  He has a Vibranium suit which basically makes him indestructible but he can also go toe to toe with Captain America and the Winter Soldier.  After an action sequence the cops and War Machine corner them.

This is where the movie kind of drops a step behind.  Cap and Falcon are sort of under arrest but not really.  They’re being given another chance.  T’Challa/Black Panther still wants to kill Bucky for the bombing that killed his dad.  But then the movie’s villain makes his appearance.  He is played by Daniel Brühl who was Frederick Zoller in Inglourious Basterds.  It turns out he is pulling a Khan from Into Darkness.  The bombing was so….I just typed “so SHIELD would go capture the Winter Soldier.”  But they’re not SHIELD.  Who the fuck are these guys?  I guess it’s a US Government Facility in Europe?  Like, a CIA Black Site?  Weren’t the German people really really pissed that the US had those facilities on their soil?  Like, Martin Freeman plays a character named Everett Ross in this movie.  Who does he work for in this movie?

Okay, the point is that Brühl uses the good guys to capture The Winter Soldier for him so he can use some kind of secret HYDRA password to activate or control him through hypnotic suggestion or something.  He is looking for information about The Winter Soldier and a mission he did in New York in 1991.  This is the point where I realized where the movie was going but I’ll get to that.  Bucky remembers who Steve is and with the Falcon they all break out of wherever they are in Berlin.  Bucky explains the plot.  He says that there are other Winter Soldiers hidden in a base somewhere in Siberia and that if they get out bad shit will happen.  They’re more or less exactly like the Augments (Khan’s people) from Star Trek.  They’re supersoldiers on ice.  Now Captain American and Bucky need to get to the other Winter Soldiers before Daniel Brühl can turn them loose.

Two Questions.  Actually its one question and an outraged statement.

  1. How does Bucky know that these other soldiers are still in cryostorage somewhere in Siberia?  He was working for HYDRA in Washington DC until HYDRA got wiped out and then he went out on his own.  For all he knows, these five super-soldiers are being used by whatever’s left of HYDRA.  And if HYDRA isn’t using them or guarding them in any way, WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY NOT USING THEM OR GUARDING THEM IN ANY WAY?  HYDRA had an army in Sokovia guarding the Maximoff twins and doing whatever they were doing.  They have FIVE soldiers who are just as badass and nobody is guarding this place?  I get that its Siberia so you don’t need as many guards maybe but come on.  I never thought I’d say this after Avengers 2 but where the fuck is HYDRA?

So they need to get to Siberia in a fucking hurry.  No time to explain to Iron Man.  Did Russia even sign the Sovokia Accords?  Are they sure there’s no time to explain?  Fuck it, they need to get to Siberia.  This leads into the movie’s big action scene, “The Civil War.”  Bucky, Falcon and Cap need to get out of Berlin and to Siberia.  To do this, they need to get a the special Avengers plane, the Quinjet I guess it’s called?  Where do they go to get one?  The Airport, of course!  But they can’t just make a run for it, no, they need backup.  So Captain America calls in Hawkeye who picks up Ant-Man and Scarlet Witch and brings them to Berlin secretly.  Tell me if you see the problem with this.

No seriously I’ll wait.  I’m going to go make some popcorn.  Back.  Ready?


Meanwhile, Tony Stark does the same thing and calls for backup.  He already has Black Widow who is Russian, Black Panther who is Wakandan, War Machine who is an Air Force Colonel, Vision who is artificial.  But that’s not enough.  He goes to Queens in New York City (on another continent) to recruit SPIDERMAN.  How does he know Peter Parker is Spiderman?  Look, do you want to see Spiderman in the movie or not?  People said “you can’t do a Civil War movie without Spiderman” well he’s fucking here, are you happy motherfuckers?

So once all the backup has arrived they now have permission to have a big punch up because they promised us one in the trailer.  And it is pretty damn cool.  Ant-Man and Spiderman really take the cake as the most fun combatants to watch.  It is cool to have Spiderman in a movie without telling his origin story.  Although I’m curious why no one thought to call Daredevil while both sides were already in New York.

I have one massive glaring problem with this action scene other than the fact that yeah it’s here for gratuitous reasons.  Where is Vision?  He isn’t there for 90% of this fight scene.  You see him leap into combat with everyone else annnnnd then he disappears for like five or ten minutes.  Everyone else gets a lot of play in this fight scene.  Vision is conspicuous in his absence.  And I think I know why. He’s too powerful.  For the ten seconds he does show up he KICKS ASS.  But where is he for the rest of this action scene?  Where did he go?  Is he fighting Scarlet Witch because she’s the only one who can take him?  Before the movie I was talking with a guy next to me who asked me, “Are you Team Cap or Team Iron Man?”  I told him I was Team Iron Man.  Why?  Because Vision can lift Mjolnir.  He’s basically Superman.  If the Vision shit, he could wipe his artificial red ass with Team Cap. The writers knew this so they didn’t use him to his full potential.  Its the same reason they didn’t use Hulk.  The side with Hulk wins.  But its the same thing with Vision.  So he’s just not there.  I understand why but it’s still a flaw.

Captain America and Bucky make it to the plane and get out.  War Machine flies after him but Vision accidently shoots him with a laser beam causing Rhodes to fall from the sky and get partially paralyzed.  Everyone else on Team Cap immediately goes to jail.  No trial, no hearing, they are instantly transferred to the SHIELD version of Azkaban.  Iron Man goes to Avengkaban and talks to Falcon who tells him the truth, that Cap is going to Siberia to prevent these other supersoldiers from getting out.  He puts on his Iron Man suit and immediately flies to Siberia followed by Black Panther in a jet.  Apparently neither Iron Man nor the Secret Not-SHIELD jail detects Black Panther in this other jet.  Despite having to go to the secret prison in the Atlantic Ocean, Iron Man arrives like five minutes behind Cap and Bucky.  He believes their story that they need to stop the supersoldiers and resolves to trust them.

This is where we get to the conclusion of the movie.  Daniel Brühl has gotten to the secret HYDRA bunker and killed all five of the super-soldiers while they were in Cryo.  He never wanted to release them.  No, what Brühl wanted was video footage of the Winter Soldier in 1991.  It turns out Bucky’s mission in NY 1991 was to retrieve Super Soldier Serum from Howard Stark and then kill Tony Stark’s parents.  Iron Man is a Batman!  He wanted to show Tony this footage so it would drive him to kill Bucky.  It works and Tony immediately attacks.  Also I’m pretty sure every superhero in this movie has dead parents.  That’s just an aside.

Iron Man, Cap, and Bucky fight.  Eventually Iron Man fires a really strong blast that cuts off the Winter Soldier’s robot arm which I didn’t think was possible.  He almost beats Cap but finally gets hit with the Shield (the literal shield not the organization) right in the arc reactor and Cap walks away with Bucky.  Black Panther hears the bad guy monologuing, realizes Bucky didn’t kill his father and prevents the bad guy from killing himself, swearing off his vengeance.

Couple notes from this fight.  1) The video footage showing Bucky killing the Starks then he destroys the security camera filming him.  How fortunate is it that that camera was in juuuust the right place on a dirt road in upstate new York?  And that an international organization like Hydra would acquire that information and store it somewhere in Siberia?  Apparently this information was not saved anywhere else?  2) Wait that’s not true.  Apparently, Captain America knew that The Winter Soldier killed the Starks.  Bucky kills more Starks than House Lannister.  Cap knew this somehow, it isn’t really explained.  This allows Tony  to turn his anger on Cap too.

The movie ends with Captain America breaking his friends out of Avengkaban.  He sends Tony a letter and a cell phone to call them in case Thanos shows up.  I mean, to call them in case they’re needed.  I guess  they’re all on the lam now?  Sorry Hawkeye’s wife and kids!  Your husband is now a wanted fugitive.  And that’s that.  Per usual there are two post-credit sequences.  Bucky goes to Wakanda where he voluntarily enters cryo storage under T’Challa’s protection until someone can figure out how to fix him.  And finally, SPIDERMAN WILL RETURN.  This one was lame.  It was just Peter Parker talking to Aunt May and playing with some new tech that Iron Man gave him and then it flashes SPIDERMAN WILL RETURN.  I said in the theater, “Well duh, there are billions of dollars at stake.”  I would be more shocked if this was Spiderman’s last feature.

So that’s Cap 3: Civil War.  Warts and all I thought it was pretty good.  Good action, good acting and special effects.  It makes me a little more confident in Avengers 3.  It really puts another Superhero Punchup movie, Batman v. Superman, into perspective.  Boy that movie was a piece of shit.  And who is the antagonist of Civil War?  A Sokovian intelligence officer who lost his family during the Ultron attack.  What if the antagonist of Batman v. Superman had been John Corben, Metallo, looking for revenge after the attack on Metropolis?  Is there anyone in the DC universe other than apparently Batman willing to go as far as this Sokovian?

Final request: What are the odds we can get Everett Ross (Played by Martin Freeman) into the Doctor Strange movie?

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