I took exactly two notes as I was watching, one about how seamlessly Steve and Natasha work together, despite their contrasts in personality and style, and one about Jasper Sitwell. I've never been perfectly down with Jasper Sitwell, HYDRA agent. Unlike with Garrett and Ward, there are no hints laid about the possibility of him carrying conflicting loyalties in earlier appearances; he's the only named SHIELD insider of color associated with HYDRA, which seems incongruous given the organization's Nazi roots; and he seems far less gung-ho about the whole thing. Pierce, Rumlow, Zola, and Garrett all seem proud of HYDRA, what it's accomplished so far and its grandiose plans for the future. Sitwell gives off an air of being more uncomfortable with the situation. It might just be because he was caught, but I wonder if there was more to it than that. Shortly after the movie came out, the actor pointed out that Sitwell never says the words "Hail HYDRA", which is true. I can't believe he was some sort of double agent, though -- wouldn't he have told Steve and Natasha as much? Certainly there wouldn't have been any need for the theatrics with Fury hiring Batroc and his goons to take the Lumerian Star in that case.
My best guess is that the writers needed a SHIELD agent familiar from previous movies to be secretly HYDRA, and with neither Coulson nor Maria Hill as viable options, it came down to Sitwell. This more than anything suggests to me that the HYDRA infiltration wasn't planned as far back as the Avengers, because if it had been, couldn't Joss have planted a more appropriate character? Whatever his deal was, I hope we find out some day, and I wouldn't be averse to discovering that he had somehow survived the Winter Soldier's attack.
As for the rest, well, what can I say? The character development of Steve, Natasha, and Nick Fury follow just right from the rest of the series. Pierce and HYDRA make for the best MCU antagonists so far (except for Loki, of course). Sam is exactly the right new character at the right time -- someone outside all the power structures we already know, able to bring a fresh new perspective and be a friend to Steve. The business with Bucky carries the perfect amount of emotional punch. I am purposefully keeping my knowledge of plot and casting details for Cap 3 at a minimal level, but it's hard to miss the switch to the Civil War subtitle and plotline. I'm not opposed to a Civil War film in theory, but I hate that it's likely to take the spotlight away from Steve and Bucky and put it back on Tony Stark, especially in what's supposed to be a Captain America movie, and more importantly the last Captain America movie with Chris Evans in the lead role. (I suppose anything is possible, but I'd be shocked if he re-upped with Marvel, especially in the short term.)
And so this project takes a pause in the same place it began, with fangirling over a Captain America movie. Appropriate, I think. :) There's more to rewatch, and I think I probably will continue, but for now I have tickets to Age of Ultron tomorrow at 10pm. See you on the other side.
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