Okay, this needs to be said right now, even though I'm going to get back to it, but the way Ed Brubaker wrote Steve and Bucky's epic friendship/relationship/whatever you want to call it is THE gold standard in comics' friendship for me. Even above Erik & Charles' epic love story. And the first Captain America film really did a great job of showing just how much Bucky & Steve mean to each other - I mean, Steve became
the Captain America of legend and the super soldier everyone hoped he'd be because of Bucky. That rescue was the start of Cap (and believe me, I could go on & on & on about this) and Bucky's "death" led directly to Steve taking down Hydra.
So when Steve threw away the shield for Bucky - when he voluntarily gave UP being Captain America because saving Bucky & their friendship was more important - it was everything
. I mean, every single thing I loved about the comics & that relationship and that love these two men have for each other...there it was, right there on the screen. (And I might have teared up. Maybe. But you can't prove anything, because it was dark. *g*)
Alright, that being said, I will get back to that scene & everything it represents, but let's talk about the rest of the film & how well it worked right now. It's no secret that I am a huge huge huge political thriller junkie and this film brought it in spades. And kudos to EVERYONE involved in the film for keeping the "Secret Warriors" storyline by Bendis & Hickman a secret. Very very impressive. I mean, Hydra infiltrating SHIELD which leads to the disbanding of SHIELD, Fury going rogue, Natasha striking out on her own, everyone else going to other government divisions or private sector jobs, Hydra still out there & looking to wreak havoc? Oh my God, are you kidding me, how cool was seeing that on the big screen?
And the movie really captured the whole 70's political thriller paranoia, too. I think having Redford in a pivotal role helped to sell it - and how good were his scenes with Sam Jackson, dude - but it really worked. Somewhere in director heaven, Sidney Pollack and Alan Pakula have to be looking down in pride. :DD
Alright, I'm just gonna list things as I remember them now, so bear with me:
- I love that Steve is suffering from PTSD and that the film doesn't shy away from that, even though he doesn't really talk about it, because he's from a generation where people didn't
talk about their problems.
- I love how they introduced Sam Wilson. Oh my God, Anthony Mackie NAILED it. He was perfect. He was beyond perfect. I don't have enough superlatives for how perfect he was.
- And I love how the film portrayed the Sam/Steve friendship & why Sam is so good for Steve. (Please please please, if the comics-to-movie gods are listening, please give me the start of the Sam/Bucky friendship in the next Cap film, because I need to see Anthony & Sebastian sharing the screen where they're not trying to kill each other. *g*)
- I love that it is CANON that Steve knows French and that it's a given that it was Dernier and Gabe Jones who taught him. (I'm willing to bet he knows a little German, too, but probably only related to military and war jargon.)
- I love that the film keeps subverting this idea that everyone has of Steve as some bumbling virginal paragon, because he's NOT. Yeah, he's awkward with women, like a lot of men, but he's 95, not dead, (we'll get to that in a minute), he's killed people, he's run his fair share of missions that have compromised his ethics, he knows how to hot-wire a damn car, he's as ruthless as it comes when it comes to executing a mission...dude's not some quaint little Boy Scout. He can bring it.
- Although, speaking of being 95 and not dead and him admitting he's gotten some action since 1945, but doesn't have time to date, hands up, was I the only person who thought he's either picking up hookers for blowjobs or he's having a lot of booty call one-night stands where talking's not really a requirement? Because I would read about that all day long. (This is a hint to the other writers on my flist.)
- Speaking of, I love that he's not ready for tongue piercings yet. (Mostly because now I want the fic where Natasha or Bucky or some random person he's picked up has one & how it blows his mind.)
- And speaking of that scene, Steve & Natasha's friendship was EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED. She is so good for him and he's great for her and they work well together and they just work
. He makes her a better person and she makes him a better agent.
- And speaking of her relationships, no, we don't get the comics history between Bucky & Natasha, and I'm okay with that. It wouldn't really work for the screen. But there's nothing saying that they still couldn't hook up in a future film, although I'm partial at the moment to seeing Sam & Natasha hook up, because that would be pretty cool.
- And speaking of Natasha, everything about her was golden in this. Her insane espionage skills, her pragmatism, her loyalty to those few people she trusts, her fighting skills, everything was on point.
- Speaking of her fighting skills, I'm not the only one who thinks that it was Natasha who taught Steve all of his new cool fighting skills, right? I mean, right???
- I love that Nick Fury finally got more to do and that we got to see him really at work, proving why he is such a great commander and why Maria & Natasha & Steve are so loyal to him, in spite of his secrets.
- Actually, let's talk Maria for a moment. Although, mostly, it'll just be me making heart eyes at her, and sighing like a teenager in love, because YES YES YES. (Am I the only one imagining Pepper Potts & Maria Hill taking over the world now that Maria's working for Stark??)
- I love seeing how Steve & Nick's friendship and relationship has evolved since The Avengers. Very well done.
- I love the throwback to Camp Lehigh (even though I will always associate it with Bucky, not Steve, but still, a nice nod to the first film origin story.)
- I loved Steve's List Of Things To Try (I now need all the fics of Steve trying all of this awesome not-boiled food out there, especially Thai food *g*) and that both Star Wars and Star Trek were on the list.
- And I love that he loves the internet and has seen Wargames, because YES. (My head canon is that he saw it with Clint, because that seems like the sort of film Clint would love.)
- I love how they got the origins of Crossbones in this film. Grillo did a very nice job with Rumlow, and I'm pleased with the direction I think they're going to take with him. (Although Crossbones is nothing without Sin, so I hope we get her in the next film.)
- I love how Steve still
wasn't fully moved in to his D.C. apartment yet, even though I assume he's probably been there for, what, a year? Because it's a place to stay and shower, not home, not like Brooklyn.
- I love that the film still kept Steve's very sly, very dry sense of humor. So many hearts.
- I am really really really curious how the new Avengers film is going to explain Wanda & Pietro, considering their comics origins as Erik's kids, but I loved the glimpse we got of them, and of Baron Strucker. Is it next May yet???
- I also wonder what the disbanding of SHIELD is going to do to the TV show. (Still holding out hope we get Hill on the show.)
- Also, dude, Jasper Sitwell as a sleeper Hydra agent was pretty bold. I like it. And I am going to miss him.
- And the Zolla scene was great, and a great nod to the comics canon.
- I loved the entire Smithsonian exhibit to Cap & the Commandos - it looked like it was ripped right out of Steve's Epting's head, in a very good way.
- The scene between Steve & Peggy broke my heart into a million tiny pieces and I'm still not sure I'm recovered. Just the look on poor Steve's face... Chris did a really great job there.
- On a shallow note, Sebastian shirtless & Chris in a wife-beater. Enough said.
- Also, Robert Redford can still get it for a dude's that, like, 80.
- And I know I'm not the only one that got the Steven Strange shout-out, right??!?!????? And that Hydra also was going to take out Tony Stark?
- I don't say this enough, but my God, I am happy Chris Evans finally said yes to playing Cap. He gets Steve on such a deep level and it is a joy to watch him in the role.
- The Pulp Fiction and Community nods were also pretty hilarious. God bless this meta fandom.
- Oh, and before I move on, I loved the score. Loved loved loved. I hope it's for sale or download or something.
Alright, now that I've gotten all that out of the way, every single thing about how the film handled Bucky as both The Winter Soldier and the Bucky/Steve relationship was amazing. It was pretty much perfect.
- "But I knew
him." (I mean, Sebastian totally brought Bucky's confusion and vulnerability and I love how Pierce was able to completely manipulate him. Chills.)
- "Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky."
- "You know me. You've known me all your life."
- "We can push the couch cushions together like we did when we were kids."
- "Who the hell is Bucky?" (I mean...we GOT that line, you guys. We got it. And the look of horror and heartbreak and confusion on Steve's face... I couldn't have filmed that any better.)
- The way Bucky fought
as The Winter Soldier was totally like watching Epting's art come to life, all brutal efficiency and raw power and cunning
. *fappy hands*
- "I'm with you until the end of the line, pal."
- Actually, that entire flashback scene. Don't mind me, I'll just be over here in a corner rocking back & forth.
- "I'm not gonna fight you. You're my friend."
"And you're my mission."
"So finish it." - The Ed Brubaker nerd in me had SO many fangasms, you don't even know.
- I mean, just the fact that Steve made the choice to stay behind to try to save Bucky, and then was willing to die with him if that's what it took to get Bucky to see him again... I mean, no, we didn't get the iconic "Remember who you are" line said out loud, but the entire spirit
of that line shown through that entire scene.
don't make me do this."
Everything I just mentioned up there. Spot on and perfect and if that's all we'd gotten, I would have been well pleased. But then Bucky's hand appeared in the water and we got him saving Steve's life and dragging him ashore and then just looking
at him in equal parts heartbreak and perplexity and then walking away, and are you kidding me, did that really happen? And then we get the ending, with Steve going after Bucky, because when it comes to saving Bucky's life or soul or whatever it is, there is nothing Steve won't do and no line he won't cross, and yeah, I'm done. And then the after credits scene of Bucky standing in front of his own memorial, trying so hard to remember
who he used to be, and I cannot believe I have to wait another TWO YEARS for their story to continue. (Although if Bucky wanted to make a cameo in Age of Ultron by giving Steve back his shield - I mean, someone's got to find it & give it back to him - I would not complain.)
So yeah, to say I'm a happy happy happy fangirl today is underplaying it just a touch. And, um, if you stuck around for all of that, you deserve a beer or margarita or something. :D
And if anyone has any reaction posts, shoot them my way. I want to talk to EVERYONE about this movie and this series!!!!