Tuesday, March 11, 2014

'Mutant Miracles' in Captain America: the Winter Soldier

"The Winter Soldier" from the newest Marvel edition and the second Captain America. Bucky Barnes, who turned into the "Winter Soldier" used to be Steve Rogers' (Captain America) best friend in the days of World War II; it will be interesting how the film explains Barnes' turn to the communist country (please recall, we saw something similar to this in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Bill Haydon [Colin Firth] turning to the Soviet Union). Apart from his metal arm (the left one with the black glove) the most striking feature of the Winter Soldier is his blacked out eyes which rather make him appear to be a raccoon. The most important raccoon we have seen (not to mention the mutant raccoon figure in Guardians Of the Galaxy coming up) was in the Edgar Allan Poe thriller of 2012 with John Cusack, The Raven: "Karl" was the name of Poe's pet raccoon--no, he didn't have a pet raccoon in real life--and we deduced the symbolic purpose was because the raccoon was eating a human heart and therefore Karl represented Karl Marx, whose important work The Communist Manifesto had been published the year before the film takes place (please see The Raven & the Raccoon: Edgar Allan Poe & Karl Marx for more). Anyway, this is something to be thinking about regarding this character, who is almost certainly called "the Winter Soldier" because he is an agent of the Cold War which was the name of tense relations between the United States and the Soviet Union from the end of World War II to 1993-4 when the Soviet Union ceased existing.
These are spoilers for Captain America: you have been warned.
Since it is a Marvel production, you shouldn't be surprised that there are two post-credit scenes attached to Captain America: the Winter Soldier. The first post-credit scene will provide us with the bridge to how Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Johnson) become involved in the Marvel film The Avengers: Age Of Ultron (technically, Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver are mutants, not in the Avengers universe, so there has to be some kind of explanatory note). What is most interesting to me is, not the introduction of these two mutants, rather, that SHIELD and HYDRA have both fallen by the end of the film,...
Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch are twins with mutant powers. When we see them in the post-credit scene, according to sources, Scarlett Witch stacks blocks with her mind, and Quicksilver darts from one end of his cell to another. In his lair watching the brother and sister, with Loki's scepter behind him, Baron Von Strucker announces the "Age of Miracles," and this provides our sinister introduction to some of the new villains and the damage they will reap in The Avengers: the Age Of Ultron.
HYDRA, you may or may not recall, was the organization which Cap battled in Captain America. We should expect the downfall of HYDRA, but the downfall of SHIELD as well? Now, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) certainly is not a good PR rep for SHIELD in Thor the Dark World as she complains to Darcy about SHEILD breathing down their necks and not granting them access to the research site (or returning any of Darcy's calls when she does need them). How does SHIELD fall? This is incredibly disturbing, but maybe not so much closely watching the trailers; here is a 4 minute trailer released for Captain America, due out April 4 (and please pay special attention to how many times Cap uses his shield and how creatively he uses it):
Uh, yea, this is going to be cool.
Black Widow trying to find Captain America a date isn't laughable material, nor is it a diversion: women, as we know, symbolize "the motherland," and losing Peggy Carter (from Captain America) was heart-breaking for Steve, and we know from The Avengers that Cap is having problems identifying with the America of today, so getting Steve a date, for Black Widow, is getting Cap to identify and engage with the "new" America so he feels he is at home in America and has a place here other than just being a work-aholic because he's "too busy" to ask Kristin from Statistics. We're going to wait to discuss anymore, but now, we're going to move onto the second post-credits scene for the film,....
Remember all the slick moves we just saw Cap pull with his shield? How did Bucky get it? Turning our own weapons (Cap's shield) against him will be an highly interesting scene; in one scene, we have seen Steve throw the shield at Bucky to keep him from escaping, and Bucky grab the shield with his left arm, then throw it back at Steve and it take him to the ground, so using Steve's shield to shield himself would be like enemies of the US using the First Amendment of the Constitution to protect themselves from prosecution. Why the partial face mask? We know the face is the symbol of our identity, because our face distinguishes us from other people, so it's part of our individuality; to have his face mostly covered, with black material, probably visualizes for us what is happening to his soul, that he's slowly being overwhelmed by "the dark side," as they would say in Star Wars. Film makers have compared the film to the 1975 Sydney Pollack film Three Days Of the Condor starring Robert Redford (who, coincidence or not, plays a villain in Captain America: the Winter Soldier).
Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, visits the Smithsonian museum and sees the Captain America display. He learns his name James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes and how he helped Captain America and how everything Steve told him about himself was true. Does this mean Bucky Barnes might join the Avengers in the next film?
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