So, some thoughts...
Representing the ladies we had Natasha, who didn't need to be at the forefront of the action to be a strong female character, who got to work her espionage skills fantastically (and I loved all those moments). Oh and she got to kiss Steve and tease him and just, shock horror, be friends with a guy, have it not mean anything. And she got to have emotional friend feelings with Nick, the two untrusting ones. Who's a black guy and older and also got to be kick ass and unkillable, and even, shock horror, be a man who changes his mind, admits he was wrong on some things, gives up power to Cap towards the end, and yet still stands by what he considers his principals, that the world can be shades of grey. And hey, we have Sam, another black guy, who does everything that Cap does, just slower. And represents for veterans fantastically. And Jasper Sitwell, another character of colour.
Going back to the ladies, Maria is reliable, goes undercover, gets the job done, recues everyone, gets that fantastic moment where she shoots the guy attempting to catch her off guard, then joins Stark Industries it seems...gets to be awesome. Peggy, who is confirmed as a founder of SHIELD and gives Steve permission to change it; that Steve feels he needs her permission, that the only good thing about SHIELD to him is that she created it. Her neice, Sharon, gets to be undercover and not spotted by Steve, and then gets to join the CIA. We have the older lady on the council, which, there was still only one lady on the WSC but at least she was there. I kind of hoped at first she was the one pulling a gun on Andrew Piere, however nice it was that Natasha was being all espionage expert. I think I would have liked that tweaked so that there were two lades on the council, Natasha disguised herself as one, and the older lady tried something herself and Natasha finished things off.
Still, with a film that had the two title characters of Cap and the Winter Soldier being white blokes, I think maybe this is the most diverse Marvel film yet?
I see this in a similar vein to Avengers in that Natasha may very well be with Clint, but it's not thrown in our faces, it's not what defines these characters, and it's not something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. And I like that :) This film actually made me more convinced that our assasins are a couple. Let me count the ways:
1) the necklace that Natasha wears all the way through the film Jewellery has significance and the fact that Scarlett chose that for her costumer has significance. And this is her off duty clothing, this isn't a cover, this is choice. (I have a thing about Natasha and choices.)
2) How Steve and Natasha treat each other. She's constantly asking Steve about girls, joking about setting him up, and Steve is happy to joke with her, but never suggests guys. This is set two years after The Avengers. Does he by this point know that she's already with someone? Is this just something that people who know Natasha know?
3) I read most of Steve being uncomfortable with kissing her whilst on the run is because she's just a friend and also being in public, but the follow up to that rule out Steve as a love interest.
4) Bucky. They seem to have heavily edited Natasha's past with Bucky and stripped it down. From a film point of view I can understand why, because that's a whole lot of past to throw at people. However, it seems ti be a case of us being given the Steven and Bucky show, and then Natasha, Nick, Maria, SHIELD show. Or teams. Or whatever.
Anyone else spot anything or have thinky thoughts on this?
Something that I wanted to see as soon as the film stopped rolling was a conversation between Natasha and Clint along the lines of: "You nearly destroyed a helicarier. We took down three." I warn you, if this doesn't appear I may have to write ;P
Security and Fear
I have far too many thoughts on this! Funnily enough I was just chatting with alphaflyer an franztastisch before this film came out about terrorism, the World Trade Center, and so on in the context of the MCU. And lo, this film then provided so. much. sercurity. thinking.
So, following on from Iron Man 3 and its look at how terroism and security can both be theatre, and Thor 2 with the 'unknown unknowns' and how chains of events impact on each other, we have Cap 2 with the 'other' being on the inside, being us. Hydra could be the person standing next to you. And it's easily us because we subscribe to security that allows for this to happen, because people like Nick Fury want to stop things before they happen. VS Cap with his black and white thinking, liking to know who he's fighting and it's always the people shooting at you. I like how both Nick and Steve struggle with these ideas and concepts, that there are no easy answers. Because we've yet to come up with any. Yes, Hydra takes it to the extreme to manipulate the world the way they want and the other extreme is Steve wanting to start over, but. I stand by the middle ground, Peggy Carter who saw a use for SHIELD and sees a use in changing it, and Nick giving charge over to Cap, these compromsed people, the ones that know 'reality', still wishing things were otherwise. And of course Natasha and making everything transparent, what the internet can do, and is that wise or not? Once it's all out there can you fear it? But also who can use it against you and how?
Okay, so Hydra were trying to do what they attempted in the first Captain America film - take away people's freedom so they could be controlled and a superior world created. Think super soldiers, think Nazis, think one group of people deciding what 'people' means. But in the Zola voice over he explains how they didn't realise that people would be so angry about having their freedom taken away. That they would fight back as much as they did. So Hydra cut it's losses, and in the background manipulated events in the world to create an atmosphere of fear. To make people want their freedom taken away. Which is a very interesting thought, when you look at the world as it is today. Terrorism - see Iron Man 3 and the fear invoked by the Mandarin, by someone using the fear of terrorism for their own ends. Security and surveillance - the digtial age, all the details of us in electronic files, the amount of security cameras, how even Captain America and Black Widow can't escape SHEILD. Think Skye at the start of Agents of SHIELD. (I'm in the UK, so not seen many of the lastest Agent eps, please no spoilers!)
Cue that fear leading to SHIELD building hellicariers to watch the world. Ever read The Handmaiden's Tale by Maragaret Atwood? Excellent expression in there: freedom to and freedom from. The idea that you can either have the freedom to do things, to do whatever you want, or the freedom from things, being kept safe and watched over, but that you can't have both because they cancel each other out. Health and safety rules are a great example of this. And then Hydra plans to use this for their own ends - to create MORE fear and destroy anyone who might cause trouble, who might fight for freedom and stand in their way.
Then there are the crazy end credits scientists who are all 'SHIELD, HYDRA, who cares? Let's experiement on people so we can get away with having the Scarlet Witch and her brother in the next film without using the banned mutant word' ;D Ah well.
Identity: it's a theme
Natasha: who do you want me to be, having to create a new cover...
Steve: a solider or an Agent and a guy out of his time
Sam: a solider who left the service and doesn't take orders, but still comes to help
Bucky: major idenity issues!
SHIELD iteself: from what Peggy, Howard, and the Colonel began to what it is now, how things change and shift, and what you can make of them
...and hell, isn't this a continuing theme? Iron Man and what it means to be a hero, or the mechanic's story; Thor deciding if he wants Asgard or Earth, what it is to be a Prince; Bruce a walking identity crisis; Clint being taken over by Loki; Loki himself a child of two worlds and how messed up that's made him... Lots of idenity issues happening. This may just be a tie-in to the idea of self, change, and heroism, but. I find this interesting when the next Avengers film is the Age of Ultron. The words 'artificial intelligence' crop up in reference to Zola and his programme, and we already have JARVIS and the 'bots, and Ultron is on the way. Are we getting a lead in into what makes a person a person, what identity is? Possibly not, but I still find it interesting :)
So, so many of them. Especially about Natasha in this. Natasha and espionage and identity, her quotes and fantastic dialogue, trending on the internet, what you reveal and how revealing everything isn't necessaruly giving up control... just everything :D But also Steve and his list (which is, amusingly, apparently different depending on which country you view the film in. Sam is made of wonderful. I like how Bucky isn't magically fixed by the end of the film, that it's going to take time, that Sam says some people you don't save, you have to stop. How Bucky, Sam, and Steve are portrayed with a view to soldiers, war, and orders. Nick has a sassy car! The Smithsonian, the kids measuring themselves up against Steve Rogers, and Peggy having althemisers or dimensia, both of which were like two things straight from the best Cap fanfiction. Oh Peggy :( And oh Stan Lee lol.
Hydra killed off Tony's parents? ARGH.
At first I thought that Jasper Sitwell was playing the ultimate patsy, having gone undercover to infiltrate the undercover Hydra, and was actually giving lots of into to Natasha and Steve, because he was making a fuss about it and even though he says Pierce will kill him still spills information. And at some point he and Coulson would laugh over all this. But then Sitwell got squashed, ouch, and the writers said that they gave him informative lines so that it didn't all come as an info-dump from Zola. Sorry Jasper :( ...hey, could Jasper be the ONE person who actually stays dead?!
Maria Hill at Stark Industries Human Resources. Is this to have an in with the Avengers, under orders? Can we have Maria working with Pepper and Natasha picking up her old job, because just the three of them together for a scene would be ridiculously wonderful :D
The hail hydra senator is the one from Iron Man 2. I like the tie-in. And continue to dislike the guy!
The doctor in the first end credits scene is the one who was treating undead Nick. Um, Nick, I think the not-Hydra scientits know that you're still alive.
After much discussion I think I subscribe to the spear story being: Hydra get the tessaract, experiment with it, the Red Skull goes bye bye, he makes or contributes towards the spear being made wherever he ends up, which then ends up with Loki, who brings it to Earth, the new version of Hydra get it and start experiementing with it...making the spear technically both a thing made from the tessaract and a Hydra weapon. I think at some point fandom will require a chart to explain this ONE PROP, sheesh.
I take it we're going with the suggestion that the twins are a product of evil scientist experimentation so that the Avengers franchise can get away with not saying the banned Mutant word that Agents of SHIELD seems to have so much trouble with. Seriously *shakes head* just get along studios!
Easter eggs: http://www.hypable.com/2014/04/03/captain-america-winter-soldier-easter-eggs/
More easter eggs: http://observationdeck.io9.com/captain-america-the-winter-soldier-and-the-secrets-of-1558072929/1559129940/+rtgonzalez
What that reference to Tony Stark being at a kids' party may have been referring to: http://www.express.co.uk/news/showbiz/439315/Jamie-Foxx-forever-grateful-to-Downey-Jr-for-showing-up-at-kid-s-party
The Haul Hydra meme: http://uproxx.com/gammasquad/2014/04/best-of-hail-hydra-meme/ In particular: http://www.themarysue.com/hail-hydra-marvel-meme/#7
So Chris Evans is contracted for 6 films and Shaw for 9, and we've had hints of Bucky becoming the next Cap, so does that mean we're going to get a death of Captain America arc? Or a Steve retires arc? Maybe everything goes to hell in Age of Ultron?
I'd like to see Steve, Sam, and Bucky just show up for whichever next film they're all in to help save the day, dropping backstory hints, and us not getting that whole story at all. I want it, don't get me wrong, but I would be full of glee to have 'yeah, hi guys' and the others be all 'what the everloving...' But then Cap 3 will probably be the Steve And Bucky Show.
Eventually we will no longer have RDJ *whimpers*. Maybe as in the comics he could briefly join the Guardians of the Galaxy and disappear into space I suggested to a friend. But she told me we're not allowed to think about this AT ALL. Because RDJ IS IRON MAN. Also, no leaving Pepper *whimpers*.
And, of course, what's going to happen now in Agents of SHIED?! I'm in the UK, we don't know yet, hush, NO SPOILERS :P I would like a bus full of rogue globe hopping Agents. And it would be great if they randomly showed up in a film to help out. Even if they just flew past of appeared in the background. But then no flying hammer in the TV show. All I want is fly-bys people!
Okay, I think I'm out of words for now ;) Any thinky thoughts to add?