Well of course I loved it. It’s taken me a little while to settle into that thought, though, because it was not exactly the movie I was expecting. Although I had seen the signs — laid not just in trailers and in other movies but most especially in Agents of SHIELD — that SHIELD was going to be the enemy in this film, I didn’t see the Hydra infiltration coming at all. I was expecting more of a focus on SHIELD, itself, being a morally gray organization, rather than corrupt beyond saving. I certainly wasn’t expecting Steve and company to take down the entire thing. So that leaves me at a little bit of a loss, wondering where the story and universe will go from here. I am really, really looking forward to AoS this week.
There were also some odd pacing things, like when they decided to go after Agent Sitwell, and also Steve’s visit to Peggy — suddenly England! no travel there or back, no sense of how much, if any, time had passed. But those are fairly minor quibbles.
Okay, now we talk about everything I liked, which is pretty much everything else. Steve adjusting to the technology of the modern world but not the zeitgeist, his to-do list, his instant BFF bond with Sam Wilson, the pure awesomeness of Sam Wilson. How much do I love Sam Wilson? Plus, like I said in my response to apeacebone, he is exactly the kind of friend that Steve has been needing: someone who understands what it’s like to be a soldier, to feel out of place in the world, and someone whom Steve can trust completely — I get the feeling that Steve likes and cares about his SHIELD co-workers, but even before everything that happened with Hydra, he didn’t fully trust them. Sam is an outsider, with an outside perspective. So yes, Sam Wilson, and Anthony Mackie plays him perfectly.
I also really liked the more tense but still strong relationship between Steve and Natasha, and the respect-without-trust between Steve and Nick Fury, and then of course everything with Bucky/the Winter Soldier — I expected all that, naturally, but it was still pulled off really well. The Winter Soldier’s reaction to meeting Steve again, especially the childlike repetition of “But I know him”, clinging to the mantra of a memory he didn’t even know he had, was heartbreaking, and the scene at the very end of the movie gave me chills.
And of course this review — if you can call this half-backed collection of feelings a review — would not be complete if I didn’t have my shipper fangirl breakdown over Steve’s meeting with Peggy. Like I said above, it was oddly placed in the film (it almost felt like a flashback), but that didn’t make the emotion of the conversation any less authentic, or heartbreaking. I’m actually really glad that the film didn’t have a real romantic subplot (I’m expecting that Sharon was introduced to be a love interest later down the line, maybe in Age of Ultron but more likely in Cap 3), because Steve needed the breathing room to get over Peggy. And, if I’m being honest, so do I.
Once I settled in to the Hydra subplot, I liked it a lot. Other people have said many intelligent things about how politically astute this film is, and all points it makes about trading freedom for security and what a bad trade-off that is. I love it, and I love that it comes from the Captain America arm of the franchise. But now I’m left wondering: how long has this been in the works? I kind of want to go back now and watch every single scene with Sitwell, in all the movies, shorts, and Agents of SHIELD, to see if there are any hints, any signs, that he was really Hydra all along.
Also, renay fed me a plot bunny and I wrote a quick fic, entitled "You Have 76 New Messages." Major, major spoilers.
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