Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Captain America 2: Everything Changes

You don't need me to tell you to go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Let the 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, the 70 on Metacritic, the 8.3 on imdb.com, and the $95 million record opening weekend it had tell you.

It's not often I go into a film with high expectations and that film exceeds those expectations, but Captain America: TWS did just that. If you're a fan of the Marvel Universe, it's a must see. If you like action thrillers, you should probably check it out as well. It's well written, suspenseful, and had extremely well done action sequences.

Warning: Below there will be extensive spoilers about Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. You have been warned!

Minority Report 2?

A big part of the plot of Captain America 2 is the development of Operation Insight, a computer program that scans people, determines their threat level, and preemptively eliminates the ones it deems dangerous. It reminded me immediately of Minority Report, except instead of 3 precogs, you have 3 helicarriers. This project developed by SHIELD puts into question the morality of punishing people who haven't done anything wrong yet, but it all turned out to be a ruse, because...

Hail Hydra!

SHIELD is pretty much made up of HYDRA. And it's given us one of the funniest memes I've seen in a while. Hail Hydra! The purpose of Operation Insight was to eliminate anybody who might get in their way, people like Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, and Stephen Strange. HYDRA has gotten their heads into everything, all the way up to the head of the World Security Council, Alexander Pierce. This twist really makes me want to go back and rewatch all the past Marvel movies that have had a SHIELD presence to see how far this stretches back. Maybe Garry Shandling was really trying to get the Iron Man armor for HYDRA in Iron Man 2. Or maybe he's just a dick. It probably won't reveal much as this twist was most likely developed for this film, but it's fun to speculate. So with SHIELD basically kaput...

What Does This Mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The next film in the MCU is Guardians of the Galaxy. It's so out of this world, it's hard to see what impact Captain America 2 would have on it. Most likely none whatsoever. But it has been confirmed that Guardians does tie into Avengers 3, and I'm thinking Thanos finally makes his presence known on Earth. Since Earth is without its security agency and is basically defenseless against any attacks domestic or foreign or really, really foreign, this may be how the the Avengers assemble.

I know you're all good little Marvel watchers and stayed through the credits. Man, I betcha movie ushers hate Marvel movies. The mid-credits scene showed Baron Von Strucker observing an incarcerated Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver proclaiming the age of miracles has arrived. Not a long scene, but it definitely teased the existence of miracles, or the better known FOX owned term, "mutants." This leads directly into The Avengers: Age of Ultron. My prediction. By Avengers 3, the world will be in such disarray with SHIELD no longer a factor and with HYDRA still in existence. Thanos will consider it prime time to take over. Add in all the new "miracles" to both fight for and against Thanos, and mix in some of the mystical arts with Dr. Strange, and you've got a jam packed movie.

What Does This Mean for Agents of SHIELD?

If you've gotten off the Agents of SHIELD train, I don't blame you. While I think the episodes have been getting very good lately, the series itself suffered from a lack of direction all season. New episodes aired on a very irregular basis, mostly due to the Marvel movie schedule and SHIELD's episode tie ins needing to coincide. So any momentum that the show builds up, just kind of halts when the following week airs a repeat.

Plus the whole HYDRA secret left the series in limbo as it couldn't really develop anything without giving away the big reveal. But the last few episodes have been really good as the show finally has a definable villainous presence. See, HYDRA really does make everything better! So what happens now? It's hard to have a show called Agents of SHIELD when SHIELD technically no longer exists. Will it go the Archer route, have all the agents become cocaine dealers and become SHIELD Vice?

Of course not, but if Agents of SHIELD goes rogue and becomes something like Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol or like SD-6 in Alias, consider me all in. The whole premise of the show has to change from investigating suspicious and supernatural activity to locating and neutralizing HYDRA, and of course surviving. And doing that while one of your own is a traitor is going to be extremely difficult, but it will be fun to watch.

So what did you think of Captain America 2? Was it better than The Avengers? I think because it's fresh in my mind, it ranks in my top three behind the original Iron Man and The Avengers. And I can't wait to see it again.

The Russo Brothers, best known for directing Community, (Danny Pudi cameo!) will be back for Captain America 3 which opens May 6th, 2016 right up against Batman vs. Superman. If I were DC, I'd be a little scared. Hail Hydra!


  1. I gave up on Agents of SHIELD long ago, and though I've heard the newest episodes are good, I'm going to wait until the season's done and just binge them. I hope they didn't have a lack of focus because they needed to fill time until CapAm2, but the big reveal might be what saves that show. The mystery is if they've already alienated too much of the audience before getting their groove.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head with the show needing to fill time to coincide with Captain America 2. SHIELD would have been better as a mid-season replacement and a few fewer episodes. It would have been a tighter, more fluid story instead of all the gaps we got between new episodes. This is a misstep by Marvel that I hope they learn from.