First, I’m gonna link to this opinion from Vulture about how Captain America is irrelevant because he’s not a grumbly jerk like Christopher Nolan’s Batman or whatever. If the only way you can enjoy a superhero is if they’re doing unheroic things and acting like an asshole, then you’re maaaaybe the most boring person in the world, and most assuredly very annoying to talk to. Steve Rogers was a breath of fresh air in a genre clogged with unpleasant dudes we would hate to know in real life, and he’s even more so in this movie–he proves you can be damaged and sad and lost and still essentially good, and complicated as a character.
There are plenty of superheroes I’d like to be, because they’ve got cool powers or money or robot suits or architectural facial hair. There’s only one superhero I want to be like, and that’s
HERBIE POPNECKER, THE FAT FURY Captain America. I mean, not in the rah rah American military power way (and WOW was this a subversion of that idea), but in the way that he’s likable and stands up for others and himself, and that he inspires people to be the best versions of themselves, and he can bench a human being like it’s nothing probably.
CA:TWS, as a film, was a fantastic exercise in putting genuinely decent and optimistic characters (except for Steve himself, at this point, but we can go into that later) up against a nearly ripped-from-the-headlines plot that distills a lot of this country’s cynicism and negativity, particularly in my age group. More than any of the other MCU films, I think this was aimed directly at us, the people in our late teens and twenties and early thirties who sometimes start crying on the toilet because not only will we never be able to stop working our terrible service-industry jobs, we will also never be able to make a safe and comfortable world for the kids who come after us, or take care of our parents when they need us. On top of all that, we’re in this lame dystopian surveillance society where the government hates us, military force has taken the place of diplomacy and stuff like drone warfare is something we’re supposed to just accept, like it’s not horrifying. It’s a story specifically for my generation to try and find some solidarity with.
Which is a pretty ballsy play for a movie with a main character that’s 95.
WASHINGTON MONUMENT OR WHATEVER THAT BIG PENISY THING NEXT TO THE REFLECTING POOL IS CALLED
Steve Rogers runs past Handsome Jogger Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie, and if you’re jonesing for him being adorable in another movie, I recommend Pain and Gain, which also has The Rock. If you ignore Mark Wahlberg, it’s pretty great), with a polite “On your left!” as he passes. He loops around and does it again, and Sam’s like I GET IT as Steve runs by.
After the third time, Sam yells “No, don’t say it–COME ON!” at Steve’s rapidly disappearing back, and tries to speed up, but Steve has already run all the way to Maryland. I guess one benefit of being a superhero is that, no matter how comically skintight your shirt is over your rippling mathematically perfect body, your nips will never chafe.
Steve finds Sam hurting under a tree later. “Need a medic?” he asks as he strolls up.
Sam does not say “Fuck you” and throw a clump of grass and dirt at his face, because Sam is better than us all. I mean, I was predisposed to like him because 1) Anthony Mackie and 2) name twins, but he’s such a fantastic character all around that it is, literally, impossible not to adore him.
“I need a new set of lungs. Dude. You just ran like 13 miles in 30 minutes.” Sam gasps.
“I guess I got a late start.” Steve answers sweetly. Sam tells him he should be ashamed of himself, and that he needs to take another lap. He then waits a second and asks if Steve just did.
“What unit you with?” Steve asks him.
“58th Pararescue. Now I’m working down at the VA.” OF COURSE HE IS. “Sam Wilson.”
“I kinda put that together.”
They talk about how freaky it must be now that Steve’s defrosted, how after the shitty sleeping conditions in their respective wars that their beds now feel like marshmallows. Sam tells Steve he was in for two tours when Steve asks. Sam changes the subject back to Steve’s adjusting.
“It’s not so bad.” Steve says. “Food’s a lot better–we used to boil everything–no polio’s good. Internet! So helpful. Been reading that a lot, trying to catch up.”
Sam pauses briefly to think for a moment before saying “Marvin Gaye, 1972. Trouble Man soundtrack. Everything you missed, jammed into one album.”
Steve pulls out his little Notebook o’ Shit To Google Later and writes it down. It joins such illustrious entries as SHAKIRA and NERI VELA (1ST MEXICAN ASTRONAUT) and THAI FOOD, like who the hell is he talking to that these things are significant? Me?
He gets a text from Natasha that reads MISSION ALERT. EXTRACTION IMMINENT, MEET AT THE CURB. :) I’m so happy she uses emoticons. :)
“All right, Sam, duty calls. Thanks for the run…if that’s what you wanna call running.”
“Oh, that’s how it is?”
“That’s how it is.”
Just go out for Thai food already. Sam tells Steve that if he ever feels like coming to the VA and making Sam look cool for the front desk girl, he’s welcome, and Steve is as charmed as we are. A pretty sweet Corvette pulls up to the curb, Natasha at the wheel.
“Hey, fellas. Either one of you know where the Smithsonian is? I’m here to pick up a fossil.” she says. I’m so glad the writers know what they’re doing with her, way better than anyone who’s written her before–for all that her role in the Avengers movie was crucial and important, her actual personality gets to shine through here, and I love that–she’s funny and kicky and caring and heroic and vulnerable at times, and her relationship with Steve is THE BEST. He needs a friend, and she’s a good friend.
Sam kneels down and, flirtily, says “How you doin’?” Natasha, just as flirtily, answers with “Hey.” Steve, somehow even more flirtily, tells Sam “You can’t run everywhere.” This is the beginning of some beautiful 3-way sexual chemistry, I can see it already.
PLANE ABOVE THE INDIAN OCEAN
LAT: 16N 55′ 12.06″
LONG: 72N 56′ 7.09″
Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) informs Steve that a SHIELD boat has been taken hostage by Algerian pirates, led by Georges Batroc/Batroc the Leaper (MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre) and 25 pirates. They’re demanding 1.5 million for the return of the boat’s hostages, among them Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez).
Steve is pissed because he feels Nick Fury isn’t being as honest as he could be, and Natasha’s like, hello, you work for kind of a spy agency. Steve gives out orders (he’ll sweep the deck, Natasha kills the engines, Rumlow stands around lookin’ cute).
Natasha and Steve sync up their comms and Natasha asks if he did anything Saturday night. “All the guys from my barbershop quartet are dead, so.” Steve answers. Natasha tells him if he asked out “Kristen from Statistics, she’d probably say yes.” That’s why he doesn’t ask her. Also he is very busy. Jumping out of planes without parachutes to avoid talking about your social life takes up a lot of time.
Steve lands in the water, climbs onto the boat, and commences with a long sequence of BRUTAL FUCKIN’ ASS-KICKING. It’s amazing, gloriously choreographed and not in any way like Steve’s relatively cordial arsenal of haymakers from the first movie, or even his clean fighting against the Chitauri in the Avengers. It’s mean and it looks like it hurts, from the first time he slams his shield into someone’s face to him throwing a knife through a pirate’s hand. As he moves through the ship, turning pirates into wet smears on every available flat surface, Natasha and the rest of the backup land on deck with their parachutes. Rumlow shoots a pirate who pulls a gun on Steve, and Steve thanks him.
“Yeah, you looked pretty helpless without me.” Rumlow answers dryly, probably scraping the paste of what was once a human man off of his shoes.
Natasha asks about the nurse who lives in Steve’s building, and Steve tells her to secure the engine room, then find him a date. “I’m multitasking!” she says, hopping over a railing to the lower deck. ADORABLE. On her way down to the engine room, she kills like 6 dudes.
The pirates guarding the hostages in the boat’s kitchen yell at them and each other. One on the outside of the door agrees to go talk to Batroc, but as soon as he turns around, Rumlow zaps him unconscious and sets up a device to get them through the door.
Steve asks for an update from Natasha, but she snaps “HANG ON” because she has to kill three more guys before she reports back that the engine room is secure. Rumlow’s team secures the hostages, and Sitwell’s like “I told you, SHIELD doesn’t negotiate.”
Steve finds Batroc as Rumlow informs him that Natasha missed the rendezvous point. Steve can’t raise her on the comms, and ends up in a fight with Batroc when he throws his shield through a window. I read that Batroc in the comics uses savate (French kickboxing, essentially–Batman’s chosen martial art–and he doesn’t use his hands much in this fight, so I think that carries over here), but there’s a lot of flippy capoeira shit, including like two backflips where Steve looks all ?pourquoi?
Batroc says he thought Cap was more than his shield, and Steve pops his shield onto his back and pulls off his helmet, revealing cute hat hair, and says “On va voir.” I LOVE THAT STEVE UNDERSTANDS/SPEAKS FRENCH. As hilarious as I find this single out of context panel (if you know the context, don’t tell me. Life needs some mysteries), this is NOT movie-Steve, and for that I thank god and also jesus. Xenophobic meathead is not a good look on anybody, especially the dude we’re supposed to root for.
Batroc is delighted at Chris Evans’s fluffy hair, but gets his ass kicked ASAP when Steve does some flippy shit of his own and slams Batroc through a door, knocking him out a little bit.
“Well, this is awkward.” Natasha says, leaning over some computers. She’s loading stuff onto a flash drive. Steve is old-lady scandalized by her failure to help Rumlow, accusing her of jeopardizing the mission while she brushes off his complaints/worrying. Batroc wakes up and throws a tiny grenade, which Steve hits back across the room before grabbing Natasha like a misbehaving puppy and leaping over the console. She shoots out the pane of glass in front of them so it doesn’t hurt as bad when the explosion blasts them through it. I wonder how many missions have ended with him scooping her up or carrying her around somehow while she shoots things. I hope it’s a lot.
“Okay, that one’s on me.” Natasha admits. Steve has had ENOUGH and now just wants to go home and eat some soup and unwind in the bath with a shitload of bubbles or something, because he stomps out when the smoke clears and leaves Natasha to be like “Ah, fuck.”
THE TRISKELION/SHIELD HEADQUARTERS
“YOU JUST CAN’T STOP YOURSELF FROM LYING, CAN YOU.” Steve grouches as he approaches Fury’s desk, where Fury’s just like “Ah, fuck.”
“I didn’t lie, Agent Romanoff had a different mission than yours.” Fury says.
“WHICH YOU DIDN’T FEEL OBLIGED TO SHARE.” Steve’s not yelling, but he’s in all capitals anyway.
“I’m not obliged to share anything.” Fury reminds him. He gives Steve a short lecture on compartmentalization, how he didn’t want Steve to do anything he was uncomfortable with (“And Natasha’s comfortable with everything.”), and nobody should know all the secrets.
“Except you.” Steve says.
Fury, helpless in the face of this asshole’s withering kicked-puppy scorn, takes Steve down an elevator to a floor where he doesn’t have clearance. On the way, he tells Steve about his grandfather, who operated an elevator for forty years. When the neighborhood went downhill and people tried to mug him, he’d show them what was in his bag–his tips, and a loaded gun. “Granddad loved people. But he didn’t trust them very much.” Fury says as the elevator descends below the ground floor. They step out into a big fuck-off hangar containing three helicarriers, where Fury introduces everybody to Project Insight. The three helicarriers are heavily weaponized and synced to a network of satellites. They use Stark’s repulsor technology to remain airborne.
I wonder if this is hinting at something for the future, since it doesn’t seem like Stark’s ever been THAT interested in going out of his way to help SHIELD. I haven’t read the comics because I am a Fake Geek Girl, Esq. and don’t really care–though I might pick up Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier comics soon–but I know vague details of the Civil War storyline and what Stark and Cap’s roles are in it, and if you start putting stuff together (from little asides like this to the actors’ contract information), you can see the vague shape of where this whole thing might be headed.
The helicarriers are REALLY hardcore advanced, to the point of being able to pick off a thousand people a minute. “The satellites can read a terrorist’s DNA before he steps out of his spider hole.” Fury says proudly. “Gonna neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen.”
I mean, the definition of a threat is something that hasn’t happened yet, so basically they’re going to neutralize threats before they even become a threat. This is the ACTUAL WORLD WE LIVE IN. It’s not helicarriers, but it’s the military and it’s drones and it’s the NSA. It trickles down to civilians on power trips with weapons they shouldn’t have. (I live in a state known for its population of crackers just waiting for an excuse to murder brown kids. I watched this very movie in the theater where one man shot another one to death just because the guy bothered him.) I love that this is the movie we got for Captain America instead of, like, an Iron Man subplot or the next Avengers movie, and I think it’s important that we have specifically these characters–all of whom are either war veterans or heavily military-adjacent intelligence officers or both–participating in this plot. I’ve decided, this is my favorite film in the entire MCU as of now, by far.
“Thought the punishment usually came after the crime.” Steve says.
“We can’t afford to wait that long.”
“After New York, I convinced the world security council that we needed a surge in threat analysis. For once, we’re way ahead of the curve.”
Steve’s not impressed. “By holding a gun on everyone on earth and calling it protection.” he answers.
Fury calls him on the hypocrisy of the things that Steve’s generation had done, and Steve maintains that it was all for freedom. “This isn’t freedom. This is fear.” he tells Fury. When Fury says he’s going to have to get with the program, Steve tells him not to hold his breath and walks off.
THE SMITHSONIAN HISTORY SOMETHING OR OTHER MUSEUM
There’s a whole exhibit about Captain America and the Howling Commandos during WW2 up. A little boy recognizes Steve despite Steve’s incredible disguise of one (1) hat, and Steve gestures for him not to say anything. Haha, what if the boy went to his mom later and was like “Some dude wearing a hat inside a museum told me not to talk.”
Steve stares mournfully at the Bucky section of the exhibit, where we learn that he and Bucky were “inseparable” on both the playground and the battlefield, and that Bucky was the only Commando to die in service. Steve watches black and white footage of Bucky laughing while Steve smiles like everything important in the world lives inside Bucky.
Steve also sadly watches footage of Peggy from the Fifties talking about him, how he saved the man who would become her husband. “Even after he died, he was still changing my life.” she says. Steve then goes to visit her in person–the age effects are decent, I guess, but still creepy. Luckily Hayley Atwell is such a fantastic actress that she can do more with just her eyes and voice through a shitload of weird CG and makeup than most people can with their whole bodies.
She’s sick, and I think has dementia, and Steve is just heartbroken as he speaks to her, mainly because she’s aware enough to be heartbroken when she speaks to him. We learn that she and Howard Stark founded SHIELD, and she’s lived a life. Everything is still really sad, mainly because she’s maybe not entirely certain of everything she’s done (“Sometimes it’s best to just start over.” is one of the sentiments expressed). When she starts to cough with the effort of speaking, Steve gets her water, and she seems to forget he was there. She’s upset, and is crying when she tells him it’s been so long.
“I couldn’t leave my best girl, not when she owes me a dance.” Steve says, trying to smile for her. A;LDSKFAS;DKFJASDKLFJASD;LFKJ. ;__________;
On a lighter note, how awesome is this Peggy series going to be? I couldn’t get into Agents of SHIELD, but hopefully this upcoming show will be worthy of Peggy.
Fury gives the verbal command to secure his office, which is just tinting the windows a bit. Probably an awesome place to sleep off a hangover, honestly. I love his office a lot.
He plugs in the USB drive full of information Natasha took off of the ship. It appears on a large screen across the office. He tries to access the information and then tries decrypting it, but no dice. To make matters worse, the person who authorized the encryption was…NICOLAS J. FURY! Dun dun duuuuuun, the sketchy spy agency bullshit is coming from inside the house, obviously. Fury takes the elevator to the world security counsel room.
The council is made up of four hologram people and they’re all arguing with Secretary Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) about how he managed to fuck up badly enough that pirates took a SHIELD ship. Pierce is dismissive, correcting one council member about how France is not Algeria and offering to draw him a map.
“If this council is going to fall to rancor every time someone pushes us on the playing field, maybe we need someone to oversee us.” Pierce says. An aide comes into the room and whispers to him.
“More trouble, Mr. Secretary?” one of the council asks.
“Depends on your definition.” Pierce answers as the holograms disappear.
It’s Nick Fury, so yeah, it’s kinda trouble. “I work 40 floors away and it takes a hijacking to get you to visit me?” Pierce asks in greeting.
“A nuclear war would do it, too.” Fury answers. He asks if there’s trouble, and Pierce says it’s nothing a few earmarks can’t fix. Fury asks for a favor: he needs Pierce to call a vote to delay Project Insight. He allows that it’ll be a lot of hassle for what’s probably nothing, but when Pierce asks “What if there is something?”, Fury says “Then we’ll be damn glad those helicarriers aren’t in the air.”
Pierce agrees, on the condition that Fury convinces Iron Man to stop by his niece’s birthday. “Not just a flyby. He has to mingle.” Tony Stark could just send one of his other suits and take a nap instead. If the safety of the world depended on me mingling with caked-up children, I’d doom you all. No question. Sorry.
VETERAN’S AFFAIRS, WASHINGTON DC
Steve waits in the doorway of a group session where a woman has the floor. She was pulled over by a police officer who thought she was drunk; she’d swerved to miss a plastic bag she thought was an IED.
Sam says “Some stuff you leave there. Other stuff you bring back. It’s our job to figure out how to carry it. Is it gonna be in a big suitcase, or in a little manpurse? It’s up to you.” Steve just looks unhappy for everyone there, and for himself, too. MAYBE SAM CAN HELP.
After the session, Sam clears brochures off a table and says “Look who it is. The running man.”
Steve says he caught the end of it. “It was pretty intense.” Sam assures him they’re all going through the same things. Steve asks if Sam lost somebody, and Sam did: his wingman, Riley, who was hit by an RPG during a jump.
“Nothing I could do.” Sam says. “It’s like I was up there just to watch. I had a hard time finding a reason to be over there.”
Steve asks if he’s happier, and Sam is. Sam, in turn, asks if Steve ever thinks about getting out. Steve says no, but then that he doesn’t know, because he has no idea what he’d do if he left.
“Ultimate fighting?” Sam suggests adorably.
A SHORT LIST OF THINGS STEVE ROGERS COULD DO:
-dentist commercial model
-one of those machines that hugs cows that are about to get hamburgered
-world’s most unintentionally annoying fitness instructor
-professional drinking competition winner
“Seriously, you could do whatever you want to do. What makes you happy?”
SAM WILSON: BEST NEW FRIEND IN HISTORY.
Steve, smiling gently, just says “I don’t know.”
Another reason this is such a great movie is that there’s no love interest. All of Steve’s important relationships are: the strange one he’s got with Fury, the friendship he’s strengthening with Natasha, the friendship he’s building with Sam, the friendship and aborted romance he had with Peggy, and the friendship he’s going to try and make Bucky remember.
I am 100% able to make a case for all of these being or turning into romantic relationships, and I am absolutely doing that in my heart, but what the text of the film gives us is a Steve that’s been awake and making his way through a world that’s largely alien to him for two years, without any of the people he loved and trusted and no chance of getting them back. There’s no question he’s having a really difficult time, emotionally. He’s depressed, he’s lost, he’s obliquely suicidal by the final third of the film, willing to let the thing that’s taken over his best friend kill him because he can’t come up with a good reason not to.
But he’s got friends. That’s important. It was a good choice and a good message, especially where Natasha is concerned, because we get to see her side of the friendship she’s developing with Steve, and who she is as a human being instead of the one moving the plot along or falling in love with somebody.
I’m really happy with this movie. THAT’S GONNA COME UP A LOT.
DRIVING DOWN A STREET IN WASHINGTON DC
Fury calls Maria Hill and tells her to get to DC under “deep shadow” conditions. “Give me four hours.” she says.
“You have three. Over.”
A police car pulls up next to Fury at a stop.
Fury notices that the two white officers have got on a HARD mean mug for him. “You wanna see my lease?” he spits. They bloop the siren briefly and pull out into the intersection, and as soon as Fury follows suit, another cop car slams into the side of his SUV. The SUV is then surrounded by three more cop cars, boxing him in.
“FRACTURE DETECTED” the SUV tells him. “RECOMMEND ANESTHETIC INJECTION.” Fury pulls one out of the glove compartment and jams it into his arm as a SWAT van pulls up, vomiting out a team of dudes with guns. The SUV–we’ll name it Suvastian–helpfully tells him that there are no DC police units in the area. Fury orders Suvastian to get him out of there, but the propulsion systems are offline. It tries to reboot as the police/SWAT open fire. They don’t kill Fury because the vehicle is bulletproof, but as soon as they realize it’s not working, they pull something that looks like a cannon out of the van. It digs into the street when they set it up.
“WARNING: WINDOW INTEGRITY COMPROMISED” Suvastian says.
“YOU THINK?????????” Fury yells back, jumping into the passenger’s seat. The big cannon thing is not a cannon, but some kind of pneumatic mechanized battering ram. It batters the shit out of the SUV, and while Suvastian gets increasingly frantic about deploying offensive measures, Fury makes it wait until the window strength has been compromised almost completely. He then pops up the machine gun from the center console and starts firing, clearing a path for him to get out.
He takes over driving and bitches at the car some more, asking WTF is even left on it that works. It tells him the air conditioning is fully functional. I mean, hey, I haven’t had working AC in my car in a year and a half, so count your blessings, Fury.
The car chase is awesome and violent, including a moment where Fury brakes hard and sends two of the cop cars out to get hit by a Penske truck. It ends pretty thoroughly when Fury sees a figure dressed in all black standing in the middle of the road. THE WINTER SOLDIER, FINALLY. Fury doesn’t stop driving, but the Winter Soldier fires a disc-shaped explosive that magnetizes to the undercarriage of the car, blowing it into the air and smashing it back to earth upside-down. He sidesteps it fluidly as it skids in his direction, and stalks toward it when it finally stops.
Fury’s fucked up pretty bad, but still has it together enough to grab the world’s most intense and tiny laser. As the Winter Soldier rips the door off of the car with his cybernetic arm and goes to get Fury, we see that Fury has somehow burned a hole in both the roof of the vehicle and the street underneath to escape. Is the metro area just built on like a series of tunnels? Because that’s fucking convenient.
Also, I had to drive through DC at 2pm on a Friday two weeks ago, and if the reason for the metric assload of traffic (in the darkest pit of despair at the situation, I said to my brother “if this place got blown up by aliens right now I wouldn’t even care that I’d die, too, because I’m ashamed to live in a society where there are people who drive this badly” and kicked the dashboard about forty times) was not “hot super-soldier blasting the shit out of somebody’s whole life,” there’s not a good enough reason for it to have been like that. Fuck you, Washington DC. For like a lot of reasons but mainly because I went one mile in 45 minutes and I didn’t know it was possible to go that slow if you’re not legally dead.
We also get to hear our first taste of the Winter Soldier’s theme music. It’s really good, like somebody screaming across the Siberian tundra and machines having sex and shit. I’d turn it into my ringtone if I wasn’t sure I’d just start walking around really slowly and purposefully whenever somebody called.
STEVE’S APARTMENT BUILDING
Steve comes home from a long day of the sads. He meets his cute neighbor (Emily Van Camp) in the hallway as she’s taking a load of laundry down to the machines. She finishes up her phone call, and Steve offers to let her use his machines, because they’re probably cheaper. She smiles and asks how much they cost, and he says “A cup of coffee?”
She turns him down cutely, saying she’s already got a load in and her scrubs are probably covered in infectious diseases anyway. I would also be willing to infect everyone else who uses the laundromat before taking the risk of hurting best beloved Steve Rogers.
“I’ll keep my distance.” he says.
“Hopefully not too far.” she answers. Steve’s like, yay. She tells him she thinks he left his stereo on all day, and he thanks her, suspiciously heading into his music-filled apartment when she heads downstairs.
He finds Fury sitting in the dark in his living room. He says he never gave him a key, and Fury’s like “LOL please.” He says his wife kicked him out, and Steve turns on the light, sees Fury’s busted-up face, and is probably thinking oh god i think i saw some brochures about this somewhere i should have kept them just in case, but Fury turns the light off and shows Steve his phone, while holding up the conversation. EARS EVERYWHERE. SHIELD COMPROMISED. Steve asks who else knows about his wife, and Fury types YOU AND ME, saying “Only my friends.”
HE THEN GETS THREE SLUGS IN THE CHEST THROUGH THE WINDOW OH MY GOD. He goes down and gives Steve the USB drive, warning him not to trust anyone. Somebody kicks their way into the apartment, and Steve’s like WHAT when Kate the nurse introduces herself as Agent 13, SHIELD Special Service, and says that Fury had assigned her to protect Steve. She calls in the shooting on a radio, and Steve takes off in pursuit of the Winter Soldier. He runs through no less than 800 walls and doors and windows before finally catching up to him on a rooftop. He throws his shield; the Winter Soldier catches it like a Frisbee and hurls it back, giving himself enough time to disappear.
I’m glad to finally have some context for the sheer amount of smudgy eyeliner they slapped onto his face (he can’t wear the goggles at night), but there was a scene in the trailer where he had it on in the daylight that I don’t think shows up in the actual film. There’s no reason for that, except probably that Sebastian Stan looks cute in makeup.
SECRET HOSPITAL FOR SECRET WOUNDS
Natasha pulls up as the doctors work on Fury behind glass. She asks what Steve saw of the shooter (fast, strong, metal arm) and then asks Maria Hill for ballistics when Hill shows up (three slugs, no rifling, a confirmation that they’re Soviet-made).
“Don’t do this to me, Nick.” Natasha whispers, and Fury dies. The doctors declare his time of death as 1:03AM. Natasha and Hill are both crying. I really hope one of the things that gets elaborated on in the Black Widow movie is Fury and Natasha’s relationship.
She’s given a few moments alone with Fury, but Hill has to take him away. She gently touches his head and goes out into the hallway, Steve following her. She rounds on him, and asks why he was in Steve’s apartment. Steve says he doesn’t know. Before Natasha can violate the Geneva Convention on him to find out more, Rumlow demands Steve’s presence at SHIELD.
“You’re a terrible liar.” Natasha says before whirling away. Steve, confused and annoyed, decides to stash the USB drive inside a vending machine that’s currently being restocked. He puts it sort of behind two packages of Bubblicious and expects it to still be there when it comes back. Good job, Steve.
It’s daylight and Steve’s in his uniform while Pierce tells him about some of his history with Fury, how some stuff went wrong during negotiations in Bogota and Fury disobeyed direct orders and rescued Pierce’s daughter and a bunch of other hostages. Pierce asks Steve again why Fury was in his apartment, and Steve has been practicing his lying when he repeats that he doesn’t know.
Pierce asks if Steve knew his apartment was bugged. Steve did not, until Fury told him, and Pierce tells him Fury was also the one who bugged it. He shows Steve an allegedly live feed of Batroc being interrogated. Batroc isn’t giving them anything, but they’ve discovered enough forensic accounting evidence that imply Fury hired Batroc to take over the ship in order to get the information off of it for sale purposes.
Steve barely hesitates before telling Pierce “If you really knew Nick Fury, you know that’s not true.”
“Why do you think we’re talking?” Pierce asks. He tells Steve that Fury is the reason he took a seat on the council, because they were both realists. “We know that despite all the diplomacy and the handshaking and the rhetoric, to build a really better world…sometimes means having to tear the old one down. That makes enemies. Those people that call you dirty, because you’ve got the guts to stick your hands in the mud and try to build something better, and the idea that those people could be happy today? Makes me really, really angry.”
(It’s cute that they got Robert Redford to play this role. My second biggest film memory of him, after Sundance, is Bob Woodward.)
Steve ends the conversation by telling Pierce that Fury warned him not to trust anybody. SMOOTH MOVE, CAP. You can take a boy to a covert intelligence operation, but you can’t make him figure out how to spy good. Pierce unnecessarily tells him that he’ll fuck up anybody who gets in his way.
Rumlow steps on after Steve, accompanied by another guy. Rumlow offers his half-assed condolences about Fury, and says forensics found some fibers on the roof, and does Steve want to mobilize a team? Steve says to hold off on it. Yeah, they can probably find some hair, since nobody in this movie understands that people with long hair and sensitive or combat-adjacent jobs do not let their long hair flow in the wind. I work retail and I can’t leave my hair down all day, but the Winter Soldier and Natasha are out here doing backflips with it flying everywhere. Ridiculous. It gets in your eyes and you shed evidence.
Some more guys get on a few floors down. Steve is not suspicious until there are 11,692 armed men standing on the elevator with him, and when he finally figures out that they’re there to kick his ass, he says “Before we get started, does anybody want to get out?”
They try putting a huge magnetic cuff on him and sticking his arm to the wall. It works with one arm but not the other, and he STILL manages to easily destroy everybody with one arm. Rumlow is the last one standing, and tries to cattle-prod him into submission, but ends up beat down, too. Steve is thwarted in his escape by Jasper Sitwell calling tactical teams onto, like, every floor, so that Steve has to bodily hurl himself through the wall of the glass elevator and onto the concrete below. He survives by landing on his shield but it’s painful.
He steals a motorcycle and escapes out onto the bridge, where a goddamn fighter plane orders him to stand down. Steve…blows up the whole fucking plane with his shield. NOT EVEN AN AIRPLANE IS A WORTHY OPPONENT TO CAPTAIN AMERICA.
THE TRISKELION, SOME OTHER FLOOR
Sitwell orders all the downstairs nerd agents to have the department of transportation turn every traffic light in the district to red, shut down the runways, and have all surveillance systems hacking phones and shit to find Steve. “If someone tweets about this guy, I want to know about it.”
Do you really though, Sitwell? I’m on twitter. I know what it would be like.
gonna get wendys for lunch if this red light ever changes
HOLY SHIT #CAPTAINAMERICA JUST RAN BY
i should have gotten out to ask if he was in the market for a vagina to annihilate
he seemed busy though. looked super hot so now i feel guilty about wendys. gonna go for a jog instead.
nvm. #baconator. this one’s for u cap.
what are all these shield dudes doing here
Agent 13 asks why in the whole fuck are they in a manhunt for Captain America? AKA AMERICA??? Before Sitwell can answer, Pierce comes in and says that Steve has information about Fury’s death that he refused to share, and now he’s a fugitive from SHIELD.
SECRET HOSPITAL FOR SECRET WOUNDS
Wait it appears to just be a regular hospital. THE SECRET HOSPITAL COMES LATER.
Steve, wearing a hoodie, goes to his vending machine. Both the packs of gum and the drive are gone. Natasha appears in the reflection behind him, blowing a bubble. WHY IS SHE EVEN THERE STILL IT’S BEEN LIKE 14 HOURS SINCE FURY WAS CARTED AWAY.
Steve grabs her and backs her into an empty room, demanding to know where the drive is. She says it’s safe.
“Do better.” Steve snaps. Natasha, in turn, asks where he got it. Steve doesn’t tell her, but she guesses that Fury gave it to him.
“What’s on it?”
“I don’t know.” she says.
“I only ACT like I know everything, Rogers.” HAHA. I love her so much.
Steve confronts her with the idea that Fury hired Batroc, and she agrees that it would make sense, since Fury would need a way onto the boat. Steve gets even angrier. She tells him about the Winter Soldier. “He’s credited with over two dozen assassinations in the last fifty years.”
“So he’s a ghost story.”
“Five years ago I was escorting a nuclear engineer out of Iran. Somebody shot out my tires near Odessa. We lost control, went straight over a cliff. I pulled us out, but the Winter Soldier was there. I was covering my engineer, so he shot him, straight through me.” She lifts up her shirt to show the scar on her hip. “Soviet slug, no rifling. Bye bye bikinis.”
“Yeah, I bet you look terrible in them now.” Steve jokes.
“Going after him’s a dead end–I know, I’ve tried.” She gives him the drive. “Like you said, he’s a ghost story.”
“Let’s find out what the ghost wants.”
PIERCE’S OFFICE, SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING
All of the security people are complaining about how Fury’s a traitor, and Pierce is defending Fury. He asks if they’re calling for his resignation, and they totally are, but they want Project Insight back up and running ASAP. I hate them so much wow.
A MALL/THE APPLE STORE
“First rule of going on the run is don’t run, walk.” Natasha mutters to Steve, who is looking around really sketchily. He’s wearing a hat and glasses, and Natasha has on a hoodie, but they’re basically the worst disguises ever. Steve’s hoodie is the same color as his uniform, even.
“If I run in these shoes, they’re gonna fall off.”
(If you’re interested, Natasha’s shoes are the Nike Dunk Sky Hi wedge sneakers, which are sold out in the adorable solid black but not in the color I’d want, if I had an extra $225 hanging around. BUY THEM AND TELL ME HOW CUTE YOU LOOK.)
Inside the Apple store, Natasha puts the drive into one of the computers and warns Steve that they’ll have about nine minutes before SHIELD pinpoints their location. She explains that the AI program protecting the information keeps rewriting itself to counter her commands.
“The person who developed this is slightly smarter than me.” she says, annoyed. “Slightly.” Outside, Rumlow and the STRIKE team arrive, loaded for bear.
Natasha says that if they can’t read the files on the device, she can figure out where it came from. One of the Apple guys comes up and asks if they need help, and Natasha grins and says that they’re just figuring out honeymoon destinations. The guy asks where they’re thinking about going, and the location is pinpointed on the screen.
“New Jersey.” Steve says. Apple guy then stares at Steve like he recognizes him, but just says he’s got the exact same glasses.
“Wow, you two are practically twins.” Natasha mutters, busy typing.
“I wish. Specimen.” the guy answers. DUDE RIGHT? He says that if they need anything, “I’ve been Aaron.” and leaves them alone. Natasha pinpoints the location to Wheaton, NJ, which Steve recognizes.
They head toward the exits as the strike team fans out to find them. Steve tries to tell Natasha to escape while he engages, but she just says “Put your arm around me and laugh at something I said.” He does, an they pass an agent without incident. They come down opposite escalators from Rumlow, and Natasha tells Steve to kiss her, because public displays of affection make people very uncomfortable. Steve’s like “YES, THEY DO” but lets her kiss him anyway. Rumlow doesn’t look uncomfortable, just like he kind of wants to join in. I do not blame him.
They kiss so thoroughly that somehow Natasha’s hood falls off when they cut away. “You still uncomfortable?” she asks as they head out.
“That’s not the word I would use.” Steve snits, and they run off to steal a CHEVY truck CHEVROLET CHEVY SILVERADO GOOD FOR HAULING TRAILERS AND BALES OF HAY AND SUPER SOLDIERS AND SUPER SPIES CHEVROLET!!! and head to New Jersey.
BIENVENIDOS A NUEVO JERSEY
“Where did Captain America learn how to steal a car?” Natasha asks.
“Nazi Germany. And we’re borrowing, take your feet off the dash.” But…how are you gonna make sure it gets back to the owner, Steven.
“All right, I have a question for you. Which you do not have to answer. I feel like if you don’t answer it though, you’re kind of answering it, you know–”
“Was that your first kiss since 1945?”
STEVE ROGERS: TERRIBLE KISSER is the only thing that matters. Natasha tries to ease his pain at being a bad kisser, and Steve only makes it worse by saying that it was NOT his first kiss since 1945, and that he’s 95, not dead. So he has inflicted his kissing on some other unsuspecting individual.
Natasha asks if he’s got anybody at all, and Steve laughs a little derisively. “Believe it or not, it’s kinda hard to find someone with shared life experience.”
have i got news for you, buddy.
“That’s all right, just make something up.”
“Oh, like you?”
Natasha shrugs. “I don’t know. Truth is a matter of circumstance. It’s not all things to all people all the time. And neither am I.”
“That’s a tough way to live.”
“It’s a good way not to die, though.” Natasha answers thoughtfully.
“You know, it’s kind of hard to trust someone when you don’t know who that person is.” Steve tells her.
“Yeah.” she agrees, then: “Who do you want me to be?”
“How about a friend?”
Natasha laughs, a little less derisively than Steve did. “Well there’s a chance you might be in the wrong business, Rogers.”
NO BOO HE JUST SEES YOU FOR WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE AND HE WANTS TO BE FRIENDS WITH WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE. I love the whole conversation, that it started about him but ended up about her, revealing way more about her than anything that’s happened so far in any movie.
They arrive at the abandoned husk of Camp Lehigh. Natasha tells him that the drive came from these coordinates. “So did I.” Steve answers. “This camp is where I was trained.”
They go inside and look around. Steve has a vision of soldiers taking a run. He sees his tiny self stop and make eye contact before running off again. Natasha says it’s a dead end, that she’s not picking up anything in terms of heat signatures or even radio waves. Steve notices that a munitions bunker is too close to the barracks, so they discover that it is a lie and it actually has an SHIELD insignia on the wall, pictures of Howard Stark and Peggy Carter hanging up, and also an elevator that takes them down into a room full of supercomputer. (“If you already work in a secret office, why do you need to hide the elevator?” Steve asks. PROBABLY THAT’S THE FIRST TIPOFF THAT YOU SHOULDN’T GO DOWN THERE.)
INITIATE SYSTEM? the main monitor of the computer asks as all the lights come on. “Y-E-S.” Natasha says as she types. She smiles, drops her voice, and says “Shall we play a game?” She turns back to Steve. “It’s from a movie that–”
“I know. I saw it.” Steve interrupts. HAHA, of course he did. He was probably interested because the title was WarGames and then really disappointed to find out it’s about some dork.
A creepy green face appears on the monitor and says (in Toby Jones’s voice) “Rogers, Steven. Born 1918. Romanoff, Natalia Alianovna. Born 1984.”
“It’s some kind of recording.” Natasha says.
“I am not a recording, fraulein.” IT IS NOW TIME TO LEAVE THE ROOM. PLEASE JUST GO.
The computer is the uploaded mind of Arnim Zola, who died in the 70s but is now a computer. Steve asks WTF he’s doing with SHIELD, Natasha says that it was a SHIELD initiative to recruit Nazi scientists with “strategic value.” It was also a real thing, spearheaded by the OSS. You know you’re sketchy as shit when you have to change your plan around to give a bunch of war criminals new identities and security clearance and free reign over, like, all of science. USA! USA!
Zola explains HYDRA’s infiltration of SHIELD (cut off one head, two more emerge), how HYDRA realized that people would fight blatant attempts to control them, that HYDRA needed to figure out how to make them surrender their freedom willingly.
“For 70 years, HYDRA has been secretly feeding crises, reaping war, and when history did not cooperate, history was changed.” BY THE WINTER SOLDIER.
“That’s impossible. SHIELD would have stopped you.” Natasha says.
“Accidents will happen.” Zola answers, showing the newspaper report of Howard and Maria Stark’s death. Which was BY THE WINTER SOLDIER TOO APPARENTLY. “HYDRA created a world so chaotic that humanity is finally ready to sacrifice its freedom to gain its security.”
“HE WHO SACRIFICES FREEDOM FOR SECURITY DESERVES NEITHER MOTHERFUCKER” –notorious colonial hussy Benjamin Skanklin.
“Once the purification process is complete, HYDRA’s new world order will arise. We won, Captain. Your death amounts to the same as your life. A zero sum.” Disturbingly, flashes of magazines with headlines about Steve’s death show up on the screen.
Steve punches the monitor, but Zola’s face just appears in another one. Steve demands to know what’s on the drive, and Zola says he’s written an algorithm, but that Steve and Natasha won’t be around to learn what it does. The doors shut and Natasha sees on her phone that there’s a missile 30 seconds out from their location.
“Who fired it?” Steve asks.
“SHIELD.” she answers.
Steve pulls up a grate in the floor and they jump down into it as everything explodes, Steve trying his best to cover them both with his shield as the building collapses over them. When the debris finally stops falling, Steve picks up the not-super-conscious Natasha and emerges from the rubble, running away as Rumlow’s team and a bunch of searching aircraft approach.
“Call in the asset.” Rumlow orders.
ALEXANDER PIERCE’S SWEET HOUSE
Pierce goes into his kitchen for a small sip of milk and is startled to see the Winter Soldier lurking in the darkness, a gun on the table in front of him. I just can’t identify with Pierce at all as a character. Partially because we are ideologically at opposite ends of the galaxy, but also because he drinks milk, and most of all because he did not immediately leap out of his pajams and into the Winter Soldier’s lap in a caveman frenzy. There’s no realism here.
Pierce sends his maid off when she asks if he needs anything else from the other room, and when she’s gone, he offers the Winter Soldier some milk. The Winter Soldier appears to be not a fan of milk, and says nothing. Pierce pours himself the tiniest amount of milk possible that would legally count as drinking milk and tells the Winter Soldier that “the timetable has been moved up,” and he has two targets (presumably Steve and Natasha). Pierce wants confirmed kills in ten hours.
The maid, Renata, unfortunately chooses that moment to step into the kitchen, looking for her phone. She sees the Winter Soldier and ALSO doesn’t leap on him in a caveman frenzy. Whaaaaaaat’s in the milk in DC? “Oh, Renata. I wish you would have knocked.” Pierce non-laments, picks up the gun, and shoots her to death.
Do not clean house for rich white guys who live alone. This is what happens.
SAM WILSON’S HOUSE
Sam gets back from a run, and just as he’s about to have some orange juice (straight out of the bottle, none of this bitch ass glass nonsense) (don’t ever come to my house in need of a drink because my roommates and I don’t share groceries and thus I drink out of all my bottles) (which is the way it should be done), there’s a knock at his door. He finds Steve and Natasha looking worse for the wear on his porch. Before he can mentally start composing the hottest DEAR PENTHOUSE FORUM letter in history, Steve apologizes and says they need a place to lay low.
“Everyone we know is trying to kill us.” Natasha adds grouchily.
“Not everyone.” Sam says, letting them in. SAM WILSON: BEST OF EVERYONE ALIVE.
Later, Steve rinses his hands in the bathroom as Natasha sits on the bed, drying her hair. Steve comes out and notices her pensive face, and asks if she’s okay. She lies and says yes, so Steve asks what’s wrong.
“When I joined SHIELD, I thought I was going straight.” she answers, soft and bitter. “I guess I just traded in the KGB for HYDRA. I thought I knew whose lies I was telling, but I guess I can’t tell the difference anymore.” Her hair is wavy and wet and a little fluffy.
“There’s a chance you might be in the wrong business.” Steve says. Natasha’s startled into a small smile.
“I owe you.” she says. Steve brushes it off, but she continues. “If it was the other way around, and it was down to me to save your life…be honest with me. Would you trust me to do it?”
“I would now.” he tells her. Her scared, wide-open face crushes my heart into a little ball. “And I’m always honest.”
SUCH A GOOD SCENE. SUCH GOOD FRIENDS. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT. VERY IMPORTANT. This is how you write buddies.
She smiles at him. “Well, you seem pretty chipper for someone who just found out they died for nothing.”
“Well,” Steve says, leaning back. “I guess I just like to know who I’m fighting.”
Sam appears in the doorway, announcing that he’s made breakfast. “If you guys…eat that sort of thing.”
SOMEHOW NATASHA’S APPARENTLY NATURALLY WAVY HAIR (I…really hate this wig, like so much. Iron Man 2 was Black Widow’s peak hair, IMO) JUST GOT PERFECTLY FLATIRONED BETWEEN THIS SCENE AND THE LAST. They determine that Pierce was likely the one to authorize the missile strike, and also put it together that since the algorithm was on the same ship as Jasper Sitwell, Sitwell must be in with HYDRA, too.
Steve wonders how they’re going to kidnap Sitwell in broad daylight, and Sam assures them that they don’t have to. He gives them a photo of himself and his partner Riley, and then a super secret folder he is probably not supposed to have, labelled EXO-7 FALCON. “I thought you said you were a pilot.” Steve says, FLIRTING AGAIN. Jesus. Natasha can control herself, Rogers, so can you.
“I never said pilot.” Sam answers.
Steve says he can’t ask Sam to do this, reminding him that he got out for a good reason, but Sam just goes “Dude, Captain America needs my help. There’s no better reason to get back in.”
Sam tells them that the last set of wings is at Fort Meade, behind three guarded gates and a 12-inch steel wall. Steve looks at Natasha, who shrugs. NBD.
WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE OCCIDENTAL GRILL & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, WASHINGTON DC
Sitwell and that annoying-ass senator dude who keeps hassling Iron Man step out. The senator is talking about adulterating with a 23 year old wannabe reporter or something, oh my god I hate him so much. I hope she writes a really mean expose of his wiener. He admires Sitwell’s pin and hugs him, whispering “Hail HYDRA” really creepily into his ear. Sitwell smiles.
The Sitwell part is the one thing about this movie that gives me serious pause and irritation. I haven’t read the comics, I don’t know if this is a plotline there, but I do know that this version of Sitwell is played by a Latino, and HYDRA is explicitly a Nazi organization. There’s only one way this could have been done without being as sketchy as it is now, and that’s if Sitwell had infiltrated HYDRA, instead of joining them outright as he seems to have. Despite the really welcome presence of Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, this is still an incredibly white movie, in an incredibly white franchise. If you make one of your few characters with an immediate and obvious reason to resist HYDRA suddenly become complicit with actual Nazis, it’s really disconcerting to me. To my knowledge, Sitwell gave no indication of being any less noble than the rest of the featured SHIELD agents in his other appearances in the franchise, so this comes way out of left field. And then he dies! It bothers me because I really love this movie with little reservation otherwise. Maybe in Age of Ultron, they can visit him in the hospital and he can be like “AND AS I WAS GONNA SAY BEFORE THAT HALF-ROBOT PUNK BITCH THREW ME INTO A SPEEDING FUCKING TRUCK, I AM NOT ACTUALLY A NAZI, I AM JUST VERY GOOD AT THE COVERT OPS. FUCK THOSE FASCISTS, FOR REAL.”
Sitwell gets a call from Alexander Pierce, but actually it’s Sam.
“Who is this?” Sitwell asks.
“The good-looking guy in the sunglasses at your ten o’ clock.” Sitwell looks around. “Your other ten o’clock.” THAT JOKE ALWAYS MAKES ME CHUCKLE NO MATTER HOW MANY VERSIONS OF IT I HEAR. Sam tells him he’s going to go get in a car and take a ride with him.
Sitwell’s like, you are indeed foxy as hell, but why would I do that? Why he would do that is that there’s a sniper beam on his tie.
SOME ROOFTOP, WASHINGTON DC
Steve throws Sitwell across the roof and orders him to spill about Zola’s algorithm. Sitwell calls Steve’s bluff, saying it’s “really not your style, Rogers” to toss him off a roof.
Steve agrees. “You’re right. It’s not. It’s hers.” Natasha kicks Sitwell off the roof, and he falls, screaming.
“Oh, wait, what about that girl from Accounting?” she asks. “Laura…?”
“Lilian! Lip piercing, right?” Steve corrects.
“Yeah! She’s cute.”
“Yeah.” Steve says. “I’m not ready for that.” HAHA.
Sitwell is hauled, still screaming, back up to the roof by SAM WILSON, THE FALCON, WITH HIS AWESOME WINGS/JETPACK EXOSKELETON THING.
Sitwell blabs about everything. Zola’s algorithm is a program that analyzes data history to predict people’s futures, and figure out who’s a threat to HYDRA.
“What then?” Steve grits.
“Then the Insight helicarriers scratch people off the list. A few million at a time.”
DRIVING DOWN AN OVERPASS NEAR WASHINGTON DC
Sitwell complains (about how Pierce is going to totally murder him) in the backseat next to Natasha. Natasha warns Steve that the helicarriers are going to launch in 16 hours, and they’re cutting it pretty close. Sitwell starts to complain some more, but is cut off by a thud on the roof of the car, and a metal-ass arm dragging him out through the window and tossing him into traffic.
The Winter Soldier starts firing through the roof and into the backseat, causing Natasha to jump into Steve’s lap in the front. Steve pulls the e-brake and knocks the Winter Soldier off the roof, sending him into a badass three-point landing skid, kicking up sparks from his metal fingers.
He jumps back onto Sam’s car, ripping the steering wheel directly through the windshield. An armored truck smashes into the back end, and hits them repeatedly until the car (A CHEVROLET BTW) flips up against the barrier. Steve yells for them to hold on, gathers both Natasha and Sam unto his bountiful bosoms, and drops the three of them out onto the road, huddled together on his shield.
They land hard, but the shield takes the brunt of it. Sam rolls off before they come to a stop. The Winter Soldier ends up with a grenade launcher, and Steve pushes Natasha away before it hits his shield, knocking him clean off the bridge and into a bus windshield, like that one video of the deer jumping through the bus windshield and running out through the door. Except Steve doesn’t get out through the door, and the bus gets hit by a truck and turned over.
Natasha fires at the Winter Soldier and his team while Sam takes cover behind a car. The Winter Soldier sends another grenade her way, but she dodges it by jumping over the median, and then dodges the third by leaping off of he bridge and grappling-hooking herself down to the street at a dead run. She spots the Winter Soldier’s shadow as he scans the area for her, and manages to shoot him in the goggle from his blind spot. He sits down, and pulls the broken eyewear off.
The Winter Soldier is PISSED, and starts firing relatively indiscriminately until Natasha’s forced to run. “I have her.” he says in Russian, jumping off of the bridge and landing on a car before chasing her down at a
slow-ass sensual-ass Terminator walk. Shortly after he leaves, Sam, with a small knife and a lot of chutzpah, manages to kick a dude off the bridge and steal his gun. Steve, meanwhile, is kind of boned on the bus (there are people helping the wounded out right behind him, aaw). Unfortunately, the HYDRA guys open fire on the bus with mainly a handheld M134 machine gun (dog bless those crazy kids at the Internet Movie Firearm Database for giving me the gun nerd info I love without forcing me to interact with mall ninjas. Besos.).
Steve crouches behind his shield. Sam is taking out every dude around Steve, except for the guy with the machine gun, who is literally both the biggest threat and the easiest target to pick off from the bridge. BUT WHATEVER I’M NOT THE MILITARY DUDE. Steve rushes him and flips him over the car. Sam tells him to go, he’s got the area covered.
The Winter Soldier stalks around hotly, looking for Natasha. He hears her voice from the other side of the street, and rolls a little silver explosion ball under the car where her voice is coming from. It’s a recording on her phone, and while the Winter Soldier is distracted by the ball blowing up, she jumps onto him from behind and tries to get a garotte around his throat. He blocks it with his hand, but she’s riding his shoulders like the world’s loneliest and driest and most homicidal game of pool chicken.
He manages to hurl her off of him and into a windshield, and prepares to shoot her, but she flips a quarter-sized metal circle that attaches to his arm and knocks it offline with an electrical pulse. He’s like WTF WAS THAT as she runs away, and peels it off of himself, jerking his arm back to life.
Natasha shouts for everyone to get to safety (or, at least, out of the way–the same thing went down in The Avengers where people were just kind of standing around outside as shit was blowing up. I might not be as fancy or as into book-learnin’ as these city folk, but the second an explosion goes off within my designated comfort boundaries of 800 miles in any direction, I’m slithering down a fucking storm drain and learning how to survive in the sewers until everything calms down) as she runs. Glass explodes and a bullet nails her in the shoulder when the Winter Soldier shoots her through a goddamn car, and she drops down to the street, gasping. He jumps onto the car to finish the job, but Steve comes running in like a bolt of furious lightning.
The Winter Soldier punches his shield with the metal arm, and it’s goddamn ON. This is one of my favorite fight scenes in recent memory (mainly because I saw a behind the scenes bit of it on youtube, and Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan were both so fast in real life that the entire world narrowed down to them both and I could not stop myself from gently touching the computer screen, briefly becoming entirely heterosexual for a moment. It got weird). It’s fluid and mean, really up close and dirty and evenly matched. The Winter Soldier even starts things off by kicking Steve so hard that Steve goes flying and he himself falls down, but he gets back up to get back after Steve.
The Winter Soldier ends up without his gun but with the shield. He throws it into the back doors of a van and they continue fighting, trading blows pretty evenly. I don’t think either of them ever get more than two or three on each other in a row, even with Steve mostly just trying to keep his defense up. The Winter Soldier brings a knife into the mix, doing neat stuff like flipping it around to get it into position and cutting a huge slit down the side of the van. How do you even explain that to your insurance company. “Well, there was some highly erotic mortal combat happening in the area. NO LET ME FINISH.”
Steve suplexes the Winter Soldier, grabs his shield, snatches his metal arm, and brings the edge of the shield up hard into the Winter Soldier’s face before tossing him down the street. His mask, busted by the shield, does not go with him when he stands up. He looks back at Steve, who’s flabbergasted.
“Bucky?” he asks quietly.
“Who the hell is Bucky?” Bucky Barnes asks, annoyed. He starts to stalk back toward Steve, but is kicked down from midair by Sam Wilson, who found his wings and lands unsteadily on the street.
He goes to shoot Steve again, but Natasha shoots a grenade at him. He disappears in the smoke and dust as sirens start up and a shitload of vehicles surround them. Steve has completely checked out as Rumlow’s team cuff him and load Sam and Natasha into their transport vans. A news helicopter shows up overhead, and Rumlow orders his fellow guy to put the gun down. “Not here.”
INSIDE THE TRANSPORT VAN
“It was him.” Steve says dejectedly. “He looked right at me. He didn’t even know me.”
Sam asks how that’s possible; Steve explains about him finding Bucky after Zola had experimented on him, and whatever he did must have helped Bucky survive the fall. “They must have found him, and…”
“None of that’s your fault, Steve.” Natasha reminds him.
Steve sighs. “Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky.”
Natasha is in serious pain from the gunshot wound, and Sam notices. “We need to get a doctor here. We don’t put pressure on that wound, she’s gonna bleed out–” he says firmly, but is cut off when one of the helmeted HYDRAs pulls out one of those cattle prods. After a tense moment, the baton ends up basically inside the other HYDRA and his head gets smashed against the window, and after pulling off her helmet, Maria Hill says “Ugh. That thing was squeezing my brain.” She looks at Sam. “Who’s this guy?”
TUNNEL OF DEATH
“Three holes, start digging.” Rumlow orders, but when he goes to retrieve the prisoners, there’s a laser hole in the bottom of the van and all of them are gone. I don’t totally understand how they could have gotten out, but Maria Hill is magic, probably.
FINALLY, THE TRUE SECRET HOSPITAL FOR SECRET WOUNDS
Maria leads them into a secret base, announcing that Natasha has a gunshot wound. A doctor tries to take her, but Maria says “She’ll want to see him first.”
They end up just outside one of the rooms. “About damn time.” Nick Fury says.
Later, the doctor is patching Natasha up in the room while Fury gives his litany of terrible secret wounds. “Lacerated spinal column, cracked sternum, fractured collarbone, perforated liver, and one hell of a headache.”
“Don’t forget your collapsed lung.” the doctor offers.
“Let’s not forget that. Otherwise, I’m good.”
Natasha points out that, uh, he was cut open and his heart stopped. Fury explains that he used a compound developed by Bruce Banner to control the Hulk (it didn’t work) that slows the heart to one beat a minute.
Steve asks why Fury didn’t tell them. Maria says that the attempt on his life had to look successful. “Can’t kill you if you’re already dead.” Fury adds. “Besides, I didn’t know who to trust.” Natasha looks a little hurt by that.
Bucky (I don’t feel like typing the Winter Soldier anymore, now that he has a face) sits in one of the underground vaults with a technician working on his arm. He flashes back to being dragged through the snow, arm gone, and modified by Zola and HYDRA. Back in the present, he knocks the technician across the room, and everyone else points their guns at him. He doesn’t move until Pierce arrives. Pierce ignores the warnings that he’s unstable and erratic, and orders a report from the nearly catatonic Bucky.
When Bucky doesn’t answer a second time, he backhands him across the face. Bucky doesn’t flinch, just looks at Pierce and says “That man on the bridge. Who was he?”
“You met him earlier this week on another assignment.” Pierce lies.
“I knew him.” Bucky says, with a sad finality.
Pierce pulls up a stool and sits in front of him. He tells him his work has been a “gift” to mankind, that he’s shaped the century. “Society’s at a tipping point between order and chaos. Tomorrow morning, we’re gonna give it a push. But, if you don’t do your part, I can’t do mine.” Bucky’s not looking at him. “And HYDRA can’t give the world the freedom it deserves.” (Oh, man, they were totally gonna kill him once Project Insight got off the ground. Why would they need him anymore?)
Bucky barely makes eye contact now. “But I knew him.” he says softly.
This scene/the details of Bucky’s complete victimization (he’s not a villain, or even an antagonist, not any more than the guns HYDRA uses are antagonists. They’ve turned his mind to nothing and his body into a weapon) hits half the points on my list of Yikes (medical horror, compromised bodily integrity, compromised bodily autonomy, brainwashing, and then just a healthy slather of good old-fashioned physical abuse by authority), and it’s effective even if you don’t have this specific set of hangups. Even further, the visual of Bucky half-naked in a roomful of men in suits or tactical gear is important and very creepy, if you’re coming at it from the right direction. He could kill all of them, but Sebastian Stan has put no threat of that whatsoever into Bucky’s face or his body. His shoulders are slumped in and he’s dead behind the eyes. When you have thoroughly fucked someone out of knowing their own power, you are a Master Fucker and deserve a prize, like a new car falling on you from a great height or an all-expenses paid trip to the inside of an active volcano.
Pierce, annoyed, gets up and says “Prep him.” One of the techs warns that Bucky’s been out of cryostasis for too long, and Pierce just orders them to “Wipe him, and start over.” I imagine he does most of his healing when in cryostasis, so Pierce is such a monster that he’s having Bucky take his recently-beaten and tortured ass back out to fight again. It’s probably like when I sometimes get out of work at midnight and have to be back in at 6 am.
This process involves strapping him down into the chair he’s in and shoving a bite guard into his mouth, which he just accepts, despite clearly hating it. So he remembers this happening every time, but not what gets taken out of him? That’s the worst. He only starts really reacting to things now, and it’s not anger or defiance–it’s terrified helplessness, to the point where he squeezes his eyes shut like a child before two halves of a machine come down on either side of his head to secure themselves. The machine kicks up, and he’s howling in agony through the bite guard as Pierce leaves the room.
Even Rumlow watches this whole scene like “That was fucked up. That fucked me up.”
SECRET MEETING CHAMBER FOR SECRET MEETINGS
“This man declined a Nobel Peace Prize,” Fury says, looking down at a picture of Pierce. “He said peace wasn’t an achievement, it was a responsibility. See, it’s stuff like this that gives me trust issues.” HA. NICK FURY FOR PRESIDENT.
“We have to stop the launch.” Natasha says.
“I don’t think the council is accepting my calls anymore.” Fury says, opening his briefcase to reveal three computer chips. Maria explains that the helicarriers work by triangulating with satellites. Fury elaborates that they need to breach the carriers and replace HYDRA’s targets (citizens) with their own targets (the other helicarriers). Maria finishes by saying that all three carriers need to get chipped, or whatever remains will still carry out the algorithm and kill everybody.
Fury mentions the idea that they can save some part of SHIELD, but Steve, angrily, interrupts him with “We’re not salvaging anything. We’re not just taking down the carriers, Nick, we’re taking down SHIELD.”
“SHIELD had nothing to do with this.” Fury shoots back.
“You gave me this mission.” Steve says. They’re going to do it his way. “SHIELD’s been compromised. HYDRA grew right under your nose and nobody noticed.”
“Why do you think we’re meeting in this cave? I noticed.”
Steve asks how many people got hurt before he did, and Fury immediately knows it’s about Bucky. It was about Bucky the first time Steve killed HYDRA, too. He says he didn’t know, and Steve asks if he would have told him if he did, or if he’d just compartmentalize that, too.
“He’s right.” Maria says. Fury looks at her, and she gives him a small nod. (It is important to me that the two people Fury trusts most are Maria and Natasha.) Fury also looks at Natasha, who sits back, and then Sam.
“Don’t look at me. I do what he does, just slower.” Sam says. MY SWEET DOVE.
Fury, outvoted but probably not that invested in saving something that’s rotted from the inside under his watch, acquiesces. “Well. Looks like you’re giving the orders now, Captain.” he says.
Steve does Hero Face.
ON A BRIDGE OUTSIDE THE SUPER SECRET COMPOUND
Steve stands on the bridge, looking out, deep in thought.
We looked for you after. My folks wanted to give you a ride to the cemetery. Bucky says as Steve’s flashback starts. Steve is little, Bucky’s in a suit with his hair slicked back, and they’re coming from Steve’s mom’s funeral. Steve apologizes, says he just wanted to be alone.
Bucky asks how it was, and Steve just says that his parents are back together again. Bucky says “I was gonna ask–”
“I know what you’re gonna say, Buck, it’s just…”
“We can put the couch cushions on the floor, like when we were kids. It’ll be fun. All you gotta do is maybe shine my shoes, take out the trash.”
Steve pats around for his key, and Bucky kicks a brick aside to hand him the spare. “Come on.” he says.
“Thank you, Buck. But I can get by on my own.”
“Thing is…you don’t have to.” He puts a strong, reassuring hand on Steve’s shoulder. “I’m with you to the end of the line, pal.” Steve gives him a tiny, resigned smile.
Back in the present day, Sam approaches Steve on the bridge. “He’s gonna be there, you know?” Sam says.
“Whoever he used to be, the guy he is now…I don’t think he’s the kind of guy you save. He’s the kind you stop.”
“I don’t know if I can do that.”
“Well he might not give you a choice.” Oh, no. There’s always a choice. Steve Rogers is just gonna make the sadder one. “He doesn’t know you.” Sam continues.
“He will. Gear up. It’s time.”
Sam very politely does not say that knowing what somebody’s face looks like when it has been punched inside out is not the same as knowing them.
“You gonna wear that?” Sam asks.
“No. You gonna fight a war, you gotta wear a uniform.”
Stan Lee, Museum Guard, comes across the Captain America exhibit and sees that the mannequin is now nude, and says “Oh, man. I am so fired.”
I KNOW HE PROBABLY COULDN’T GET HIS HOT NEW UNIFORM BACK FROM SHIELD, BUT I FEEL LIKE PART OF HIS REASONING FOR TAKING HIS OLD ONE IS THE TINY HOPE THAT BUCKY MIGHT RECOGNIZE IT.
Pierce greets the four members of the council, and gives them little things to clip onto their collars for SHIELD’s “biometrics.” The lady councillor says that the flight was nice but the drive from the airport wasn’t, and Pierce says that SHIELD can’t control everything.
“Including Captain America.” says one of the other councillors. Pierce looks at him like are you fucking kidding me. get off my nuts.
SOME KIND OF MONITORING ROOM
Two techs are working on something, and one of them is DANNY PUDI. A feedback shriek comes through their headphones, and he goes to check it out, meeting Steve, Maria, and Sam at the door. With very little prompting, he steps aside.
Pierce gives a small speech about how it’s been a long ride and they would have liked to kick him out of the car but finally they’ve arrived at Grandma’s house and have a week’s worth of weird soup from dusty unlabeled WW2-era cans and Grampa’s hacking throat noises coming from the bathroom at 4am to look forward to.
He’s interrupted in his champagne toast by a voice coming over the loudspeakers. “ATTENTION SHIELD AGENTS: THIS IS STEVE ROGERS. CAPTAIN AMERICA. MARIA I DON’T THINK ANYONE CAN HEAR ME. WHAT DOES THE BLINKING MEAN. STOP LAUGHING AT ME, SAM.”
Almost everyone at SHIELD stops what they’re doing.
“You’ve heard a lot about me over the last few days. Some of you were even ordered to hunt me down. But I think it’s time you know the truth. SHIELD is not what we thought it was. It’s been taken over by HYDRA. Alexander Pierce is their leader. STRIKE and Insight crew are HYDRA as well. I don’t know how many more, but I know they’re in the building. They could be standing right next to you. They almost have what they want–absolute control. They shot Nick Fury, and it won’t end there. If you launch those helicarriers today, HYDRA will be able to kill anyone who stands in their way. Unless we stop them. I know I’m asking a lot, but the price of freedom is high. It always has been. But it’s a price I’m willing to pay. And if I’m the only one, then so be it. But I’m willing to bet I’m not.”
It’s a good speech, but more importantly: Steve Rogers just mom-guilted the entirety of SHIELD into helping him take down the organization they work for. MOTHER LEVEL: 3000
“Did you write that down first? Or was it off the top of your head?” Sam asks, smiling.
PIERCE’S OFFICE/NERD OFFICE
STRIKE team members come in and pull guns on the security council. “I guess I’ve got the floor.” Pierce says calmly.
Downstairs, Rumlow and crew stomp into the computery place. Rumlow orders one of the nerds to start the launch. The guy hesitates, and tells Rumlow he’s not gonna launch the ships. “Captain’s orders.”
Rumlow pulls a gun on him, and Agent 13 pulls a gun on Rumlow. “You picked the wrong side.” he growls.
“Depends on where you’re standing.” she snaps.
He puts his gun down, but pulls the knife off of his thigh and slashes her gun arm. He catches it before it falls and goes to shoot the computer guy, but Agent 13 kicks his chair and knocks him out of the way. AGENT 13!! Rumlow activates the launch codes as 13 crawls around, finds another gun, and fires at him, but he escapes.
Outside, the helicarriers start to rise out of the river.
A man runs through the hangar, yelling for the control booth to close the bay doors, but both he and the operator are shot by STRIKE guys. The helicarriers lift off; Maria tells the others that they’re initiating launch.
Steve and Sam run toward the helicarriers. “How do I know which ones are the bad guys?” Sam asks. I like that he’s not willing to just blindly go in and start killing non-HYDRAs.
“If they’re shooting at you, they’re bad.” Sam pops his wings out and flies off the building, and Steve jumps down to the level below, taking out a few dudes with a grenade. Sam flies around, drawing fire from the helicarrier.
Steve asks if he’s okay. “Not dead yet.” Sam answers.
Pierce offers one of the councillors a champagne flute. “Let me ask you a question. What if Pakistan marched into Mumbai tomorrow, and you knew that they were going to drag your daughters into a soccer stadium for execution…and you could just stop it, with the flick of a switch. Wouldn’t you stop it? Wouldn’t you all? ” Oh, great, the I’m Desperate Trash With No Ground To Stand On So I’m Gonna Conjure Up Imagery Of Women You Love Being Harmed (Or, If I Am Speaking To A Woman–LOL Though This Is Politics, Why Would I Be Speaking To A Woman?–Ask Her If Being The Victim Of Sexual Violence Scares Her) rhetoric. MY FAVORITE THING! (I was once arguing with an older man I sort of knew about gun control, and he said, to my FACE, “So if I broke into your house to rape and kill you, you wouldn’t want a gun in your nightstand?” I am someone who likes guns AND stringent gun control–I walk a lonely road–and I can promise that if you say shit like that, about the person you’re talking to or their loved ones, no matter how strongly they feel about the issue they have shut down completely to anything you have to say. Because you are a fucking creep.)
“Not if it was your switch.” the councillor says, throwing the champagne flute down. Pierce, disappointed, takes a gun from one of the STRIKE dudes and points it at the councillor. Suddenly, the female member kicks him out of the way, and beats the shit out of all the other armed guys in the room. She pulls a gun on Pierce, whose gasts are flabbered, and says “I’m sorry–did I step on your moment?” She pulls a thin membrane of some kind off her face and drops the wig, revealing that she is Natasha! BOOM.
Maria asks Sam for a status report, and he answers that he’s engaging. That mostly involves getting shot at five million times, but he’s a pro.
He lands on the deck of the helicarrier and tells Steve he’s in, but a plane comes after his ass and he’s like NEVERMIND.
Natasha does a bunch of junk on the computer. Pierce asks what she’s doing, and one of the councillors answers that she’s dumping a shitload of top secret information onto the internet. “Including HYDRA’s.” she tells them.
“And SHIELD’s. If you do this, none of your past is gonna remain hidden. Are you sure you’re ready for the world to see you as you really are?” Pierce taunts.
Natasha stops, briefly. “Are you?” THAT’S MY FUCKING GIRL.
Steve manages to get into one of the helicarriers and plant his chip. “Alpha locked,” he tells Maria, who asks where Sam is.
“Had to take a detour.” Sam says. He’s currently being run down by missiles, but he manages to dive and dart around the helicarrier close enough that the missiles pepper its hull. He gets in, drops his chip, and disengages the second helicarrier. Holy shit, how bad do you think he was freaking out at that point? Up in the air with all the missiles? Because, like: he watched Riley die that way. :(
On the first carrier, some pilots walk out onto the deck. The leader orders all SHIELD pilots to scramble. “We’re the only air support Captain Rogers has got–” he begins, but the plane next to him gets shot out of the air by the Winter Soldier and his grenade launcher. He systematically kills or blows up nearly everything he comes across, including murdering a plane by kicking a man’s body into the engine.
He steals another plane and flies up to the third helicarrier.
“Disabling the encryption is an executive order. It takes two alpha-level members.” Pierce tells Natasha.
“Don’t worry. Company’s coming.” she says nonchalantly as chopper blades whir overhead. The helicopter lands on the pad outside, and out steps Nick Fury, looking super badass even with his arm in a sling.
Even Pierce is like, shit, that’s kinda hot.
“Did you get my flowers?” Pierce asks.
Fury asks why the fuck Pierce made him the head of SHIELD, and Pierce answers that it’s because he was the most ruthless, willing to get the job done without asking. “You know where I learned that? Bogota.” Pierce tells him. He says that they have the same enemies–disorder and war–and that he’s willing to save 7 billion people by killing 20 million.
“It’s the next step, Nick. If you’ve got the courage to take it.”
“I have the courage not to.” Fury says, walking him over to the retinal scanner. YES.
Pierce reminds him that they got rid of his clearance, and Fury’s all motherfucker do you think i don’t know that? “If you wanna stay ahead of me, Mr. Secretary–” Fury says, lifting his eyepatch to reveal a scarred and cloudy, but intact, eyeball. BIGGEST PLOT TWIST IN HISTORY. “You need to keep both eyes open.”
The retinal scan works. There are only so many times one man can have his gasts flabbered in one day, and Pierce is approaching the upper limit.
Elsewhere in the building, Maria sees on the monitor that two HYDRAs are coming into her workstation, and gets up briefly to shoot them before warning Steve that they’ve got six minutes to lock the final carrier.
Steve calls Sam over the comms. “I need a ride!”
“Roger! Let me know when you’re ready!” Sam says back.
“I JUST FUCKING DID! ‘I NEED A RIDE’ IS THE PRESENT TENSE OF ‘I NEED A RIDE,’ IS IT NOT.” Steve does not say as he out jumps an explosion and free-falls off the edge of the carrier. Sam flies in like a guardian angel and grabs him, yelling until they land safely on the carrier.
“You’re a lot heavier than you look.” he says.
“I had a big breakfast.” My kingdom for a deleted scene of the five of them in a Denny’s at 4:18 in the morning, determinedly eating about 30 pancakes between them for strength but also comfort.
As soon as he says this, the Winter Soldier dives out from behind a stack of boxes and pushes Steve off the edge of the helicarrier. TACTICS!! Sam shouts “Steve!” and goes after him, but the Winter Soldier grabs one of his wings and flings him back onto the carrier. Sam tries to shoot him and fly away again, but one of his wings is grappling hooked off and he’s kicked off the edge. He manages to disengage his other useless wing and deploy his parachute before he goes splat, thankfully.
He tells Steve apologetically that he’s been grounded. Steve says “Don’t worry, I’ve got it.”
Rumlow finds out about Natasha being in the council room, and heads up. Maria tells Sam about it, and Sam goes after Rumlow.
ON THE HELICARRIER
Steve comes to a stop on the gangplank. Standing in front of the computer he needs to get to is Bucky. “People are gonna die, Buck. I can’t let that happen.” Steve says desperately. “Please don’t make me do this.” Bucky doesn’t say anything, and interestingly, he also doesn’t move until Steve attacks first by throwing his shield. I wonder what would have happened if Steve had just stood there? 20 million people would have died, obviously, but would Bucky have just kinda…stared forever?
Steve is mainly trying to get to the computer, and Bucky is mainly trying to murder Steve. He grazes him with a bullet, and they end up falling over a railing together, chip out of Steve’s possession.
“Done!” Natasha says as the transfer completes. “And it’s trending.”
At that moment, Pierce hits a button on his phone that activates all the little alleged biometrics sensors except Natasha’s, killing the other three councillors.
“Unless you want a 2-inch hole in your sternum, put the gun down.” Pierce warns Natasha. “That was armed the minute you pinned it on.”
Natasha, reluctantly, puts the gun down.
Steve runs to get the chip from where it fell, but Bucky nails him in the back with his own shield. They fight a little more, and Bucky stabs Steve in the shoulder. It is now his Winter Shoulder, DO NOT ARGUE WITH ME. Bucky grabs the chip and Steve grabs Bucky, lifting him by the throat and slamming him back down in an armlock. Steve dislocates the human arm pretty gruesomely at the shoulder, shouting for Bucky to drop the chip. Bucky doesn’t, not until Steve gets him on his back in a chokehold. instead of going whole hog and just choking him fully out, Steve lets go when he drops the chip.
Rumlow enters a room, saying he’s on the 41st floor, and Sam bashes him in the face from his hiding spot. TACTICS!!!!! They trade a few blows–good, solid, red-blooded American blows instead of all this graceful acrobatic European stuff Natasha and Bucky and even occasionally Steve are into, and then Rumlow pops his tactical vest off VERY hotly.
“This is gonna hurt.” he tells Sam where he’s gently bleeding on the floor. “There are no prisoners with HYDRA. Just order. And order only comes with pain. You ready for yours?”
“Man, shut the hell up.” FUUUCK OH MY GOD SAM WILSON IS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THIS FRANCHISE.
Upstairs, Pierce gives the order to fire.
Steve flips back up over the railing and goes to put the chip in, but Bucky, miraculously not incapacitated from a very loving choke out, shoots Steve right in his ass. Or like, up on his thigh maybe, but a case could be made for ass. Bucky shoots him twice more as he tries to get the chip in, and the last shot puts him down hard.
In the other helicarrier, the pilots prepare to fire on all 700,000+ targets (including the president), but Steve manages to get the chip in at the last second and shut it down. Maria replaces the human targets with the helicarriers themselves, and warns Steve to get the fuck out of there. But Steve just yells at her to fire immediately, despite her protests, so she does. The helicarriers start blasting each other out of the sky.
Pierce laments “What a waste,” and orders Natasha to fly him out of there.
Fury says “You know, there was a time I would have taken a bullet for you.”
“You already did!” Pierce says, like a total dick. The momentary distraction gives Natasha enough time to hit one of the little quarters she used to disable the Winter Soldier’s arm, and it knocks her out but fries Pierce’s little collar thing in the meantime. Before he can reboot it, Fury puts two in his chest and runs to Natasha, frantically saying her name until she wakes up.
“Ow. That really stings.” she grumbles.
Outside, two of the helicarriers crash into each other and then down to earth in a sequence of glorious destructoporn.
“Hail HYDRA.” Pierce says as he dies.
Sam and Rumlow continue fighting a few floors down. Rumlow throws Sam through a glass partition and jumps up–again, HOTLY, Frank Grillo is fiiiiine–on a table. “You’re outta your depth, kid.” he growls at Sam, who notices the one remaining helicarrier about to decapitate the Triskelion and hauls ass the fuck out of there. Rumlow follows as the carrier smashes into the windows behind him.
“PLEASE TELL ME YOU’VE GOT THAT CHOPPER IN THE AIR” Sam yells into the comms. Natasha asks where he is, and when he tells her, she asks him to stay where he is.
“NOT AN OPTION” he yells, jumping through the window. Fury turns the helicopter so he doesn’t land on the blades, and Natasha hauls him inside when he hits the door. He shouts that it was the 41st floor, and Fury yells back that they don’t put the numbers on the outside. MAYBE THEY SHOULD.
I’M SO SAD, WHAT THE HELL-ICARRIER
A huge metal beam has fallen on Bucky. Steve and his three new bullet friends drop down next to him, and lift the beam off just enough that Bucky can pull himself out. Steve’s uniform has a white star in a red circle on the left arm, like Bucky’s red star on his robot arm. I’m upset.
“You know me.” Steve says once Bucky’s out.
“No I don’t!” Bucky practically shrieks, punching Steve in the face. Steve stands back up.
“Bucky. You’ve known me your whole life.” Bucky just backhands him. Steve gets up again. “Your name…is James Buchanan Barnes.” Bucky tells him to shut up and hits him again. Steve just keeps coming back for it as Bucky gets more and more distressed. He pulls his mask off, drops his shield through an opening in the floor, and says “I’m not gonna fight you.”
STEVE, NO. FIGHT HIM, MAKE HIM UNCONSCIOUS, BRING HIM HOME, GIVE HIM SOUP.
“You’re my friend.” Steve says, exhausted down to his bones.
Bucky tackles him. “You are my mission!” he growls in Steve’s face, and starts fucking whaling on him, repeating it with every punch. He stops when he’s snapped Steve’s cheekbone and fucked up his eye.
“Then finish it. Because I’m with you, to the end of the line.” he says.
Bucky can’t do anything but stare in mute horror. The structure of the carrier beneath them gives way; Steve falls as Bucky watches, hanging onto a jut of metal (Bucky couldn’t have caught him if he wanted to, and I think he wanted to). Steve falls into the river below, surrounded by flaming wreckage, and sinks. A hand comes down and pulls his bleeding body back up.
Bucky drags Steve to the bank of the river (a girl in the theater down in front of me went “Aaw” and I was like I FEEL YOU GIRL), looks down at him like he might be confused forever, and walks off into the trees as Steve starts to regain consciousness.
“I love you enough to pull out out of a river, but not enough to do like first aid or make sure you survive longer than 45 seconds” pretty much sums up my relationship with my people, too.
A HOSPITAL ROOM
Steve wakes up groggily with Sam sleeping over a magazine in the chair next to him and Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” (I come up hard, baby) playing out of his phone.
“On your left.” Steve says, waking Sam up. Sam smiles at him. VERY ROMANTIC.
Trouble Man plays over a montage of Agent 13 firing at a range, wearing a CIA shirt; Maria smiling during a polygraph at Stark Industries’ human resources office; the gross senator being arrested; and Rumlow’s burned and busted ass in the hospital.
Fury goes to a storage unit and ditches his eyepatch for sunglasses and LIGHTS EVERYTHING IN IT ON FIRE. Meanwhile, Natasha defends herself and Steve at a hearing on Capitol Hill. They’re pissed that she and Steve destroyed what they feel was their most reliable source of national security; she maintains that they were selling lies, not security.
They bring up her service record, “both for and against this country,” and say that some people on the committee feel she “Should be in a penitentiary, not mouthing off on Capitol Hill.”
Natasha is…not interested in being disrespected. “You’re not gonna put me in prison. You’re not gonna put any of us in prison. Because you need us. Yes, the world is vulnerable place, because we all make it that way. But we’re also the ones best qualified to defend it. So if you want to arrest me, arrest me. You’ll know where to find me.”
She then power-walks out of there, just in case they do, y’know, wanna arrest her. God, she’s so great. After SHIELD went down, she could have run–probably should have run–but she stayed, and she went to fucking Capitol Hill to speak for herself, with everyone knowing every single awful thing she’s ever done. That’s badass. I couldn’t have done it. I’d have gone into the sewers, found myself a CHUD bride, and never emerged again.
Fury meets Steve and Sam at his own gravestone, which is complete with a great Pulp Fiction reference.
“So, you’ve experienced this sort of thing before.” he says.
“You get used to it.” Steve answers.
Fury tells Steve that they’ve been datamining HYDRA’s files, and “a lot of rats didn’t go down with the ship. I’m headed to Europe tonight. Wanted to ask if you’d come.”
“There’s something I gotta do, first.” Steve says. Kiss Bucky tenderly in the moonlight is what I’m gonna go ahead and guess.
Fury then extends the offer to Sam, saying he could use a man with his abilities. “I’m more of a soldier than a spy.” Sam answers.
“All right, then.” They all shake hands. “Anybody asks for me, you can tell ’em they can find me right here.” Fury says as he walks away.
“You should be honored. That’s about as close as he gets to a thank you.” Natasha says as she appears. She’s not going with Fury. She blew all her covers and has to come up with a new one.
“That could take a long time.” Steve says.
“I’m counting on it.” she answers. DON’T LIE, NATASHA, YOU’RE GONNA GO TO CLINT BARTON’S HOUSE AND WATCH EVERY EPISODE OF TEN DIFFERENT SHOWS AND NOT STRAIGHTEN YOUR HAIR FOR SIX MONTHS.
She gives Steve a file he requested. It’s in Cyrillic. “Do me a favor? Call that nurse.”
“She’s not a nurse.”
“And you’re not a SHIELD agent.” Natasha tells Steve her name is Sharon Carter. “She’s nice.”
She gives him a gentle kiss on the cheek, and warns him to be careful. “You might not want to pull on that thread.” she says, nodding toward the file as she walks away.
Steve opens the file. The first picture is of Bucky in cryostasis, with a picture of him in his army uniform at the bottom. “You’re going after him.” Sam says.
“You don’t have to come with me.”
“I know.” Then: “When do we start?”
BOOM, THE END
The credits scenes are some boring shit I don’t care about with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to tease Age of Ultron, and the FAR SUPERIOR one of Bucky, with a few weeks of beard growth, a haunted expression, and a baseball cap standing in front of the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian and wondering.
Waiting patiently for the 8-hour miniseries of Steve and Sam: ROAD TRIP EXTRAVAGANZA, wherein they don’t even really go on a road trip (because Bucky does not seem to have left DC), they just go to parks and museums and libraries and coffee houses to creep on Bucky as Bucky, like, reads history books and tries to get right with his body again. IT’LL BE GREAT.