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I've been thinking for awhile that I wanted to rewatch the MCU, see where it hangs together as a single story -- and where it falls apart. With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron looming fast upon us, I decided I'd better get started if I wanted to finish before May 1st. Bearing all that in mind, April 1st seemed as good a time to start as any. So here goes!

Rather than release order, I'm going to go in story chronology order, which means starting with Captain America: The First Avenger, then Agent Carter, then Iron Man. I suppose, if I were super strict about it, I'd have started with the prologues to Thor 2 and Thor, then skipped the beginning of TFA with Steve being found in the ice, but that's more work than I wanted to deal with. Also more than I want to deal with: watching an entire season and a half of Agents of SHIELD. I'm up for rewatching all of AoS Season One at some point, but not crammed in the space of a month along with several movies and a mini-series. I'll probably limit myself to a few episodes, maybe the post-Winter Soldier arc. I'll probably also skip Guardians of the Galaxy, because I don't own it and word is that it doesn't really tie in with AoU. (I suspect it'll become more relevant once we get to Inhumans.) But maybe I'll watch it if I have time.

Naturally, projects like this are more fun if you share them with other people, which is why I plan to write it all up as I go. Also, if anyone would like to join in (at whatever level and pace you find comfortable), feel free! I'd love to hear what other people's thoughts are on the series as a series.

Okay, now that we've set the scene, on to Captain America!


Let's start at the very beginning, and the first question I ask myself every time I ask this movie: Why isn't Coulson one of these guys in parkas? Is this meant to be taking place while Coulson is in Arizona, dealing with Thor and company? My understanding was that this takes place somewhat later than that, though, given that Steve is only meant to have been out of the ice for a couple of months at most by the beginning of The Avengers.

A related issue, and one that I suspect will dog every moment of this rewatch, is how different it feels to watch SHIELD in action with the Winter Soldier reveal in mind. Now, every time now that I see a group of SHIELD agents together, I have to wonder how which of them are HYDRA, and what their real agenda is in each mission. Especially here -- I have to believe that it would not be in HYDRA's best interests to see Steve Rogers revived. Or would it? Do they want to revive him to take him down, take revenge for the death of Red Skull?

It also occurs to me to wonder if these people even are SHIELD. We never do see a logo. I mean, obviously Steve ends up with SHIELD eventually, but maybe the handoff is later?

I don't know, I'm probably over thinking this.

Anyway, next topic: I am more bored with the Schmidt scenes every time I see them. Is there some inherent problem with Red Skull as a villain? Hugo Weaving overdoing it with the scenery chewing? Then again I don't think a more subdued performance would have worked any better. It's too bad -- I like Weaving, and Red Skull is a classic villain, but at least here he doesn't do much for me.

I actually find Dr. Zola more intriguing. The first time I saw this movie, I really thought Zola was going to turn on Schmidt. You can see in Toby Jones's performance that he has doubts, particularly when Schmidt turns on the visiting Nazi leaders, and again when Schmidt suggests that he work their prisoners to death. So I'd been expecting him to betray Schmidt to SSR. And he does, eventually, but not willingly, and certainly not permanently. It seems to be more out of a sense of self-preservation than anything. If we get more Agent Carter, I hope we see a bit of Zola becoming integrated with SHIELD. I suppose a whole movie or series about the formation of HYDRA within SHIELD is too much to ask for, but it would be interesting to see the seeds of it.

Another character they set up and then failed to do much with: Hodge. They make quite a lot out of his antagonism toward Steve at Camp Lehigh, set him up almost as a foil to Steve's character... and then he's barely seen again after Steve is chosen to take the serum. I think he may be one of the catcallers when Steve performs for the 107th, and he comes out of a tent to see Steve's triumphant return after the rescue, but I wanted more. I suppose it's possible that Hodge is a canon villain who was present mostly as an easter egg for comics fans. Still, it seems a bit of a waste.

Steve is a reader. Look at that giant stack of books he brought to camp, and also he's reading when Erskine comes to talk to him. It should surprise no one that this pleases me.

I found that I didn't take any notes during the rest of the film, maybe because I've seen it so many times that I already know all the beats. Steve and Peggy catching each other's eyes long before Steve becomes Captain Rogers; Steve and Bucky; Steve and the Howling Commandos, Steve and Colonel Phillips, Steve and Peggy, Peggy and Steve, Steve and Peggy. Ugh, they break my heart again, every single time. Why is my favorite couple so endlessly tragic, why??

When I got to the end, I found myself wishing that I had turned it off earlier, that I had saved the scene of Steve waking up in the fake recovery room until after Agent Carter and all the rest. Then again, there's something to be said for remembering that this is the way Steve experienced it -- one moment, he's crashing into an iceberg, the next he's opening his eyes in a strange room. It has to have been awfully abrupt, especially since he wasn't expecting to survive. So on that level, I appreciate it, and I almost wish we hadn't had the business in between, with the Commandos toasting Steve and Peggy looking at his file (though I will always, always love that it's the photo of tiny Steve that she kept and framed -- surely she could have had any of a thousand snaps of Captain America, but it's the Steve Rogers she first met who she wants to remember).

Anyway, this film is always worth a rewatch for me, and I'm glad to have it fresh in my mind for my second run at Agent Carter, hopefully starting tomorrow.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/705979.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

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