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Monday, March 31, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: A primer on Marvel's latest

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Comic book movie season has begun, and it's up to the star-clad Captain America to kick things off. For those who haven't been keeping up with Cap's comics in recent years, there are several questions that come out of the trailers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Who is that titular villain we see in the trailers? Why does that guy have wings? Check out a preview for yourself below.

Thankfully, Comic Afterthoughts is here to give you a primer on the second movie in the franchise focusing on the Star-Spangled Avenger. We're going to take a look at all of the primary characters for this film, and we'll use the previous Marvel films and Ed Brubaker's fantastic "Winter Soldier" comic arc in consideration. It only seems natural to begin with Steve Rogers himself. And hey, we'll try our best to keep this spoiler-free.

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Captain America
Since Captain America: The First Avenger, there's only been one film to feature the character (that would be Marvel's The Avengers, the little art-house flick you may already know). Rogers is still a man out of time, and from the trailers, we get the impression that they're still leaning on the "things were a lot different in my day" gags. Even tragic events, like the death of sidekick Bucky in the 1940s, hang heavy over Cap's cowl.

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Black Widow
In the comic version of the Winter Soldier storyline, Sharon Carter was Cap's main counterpart, with the Falcon joining later in the story (and you can read about him further down). It makes sense that the writers of the film would choose a different counterpart in Natasha Romanov, a character fans of the Avengers film would already know and recognize as a S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliate. Carter will apparently also make an appearance in this film, setting up an eventual love interest, as she is in the comics. Expect more of the mystery of this character, only hinted in past films, to be unraveled.

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Winter Soldier
Without going into spoiler territory with comic references, here's what we know about this villain from the trailers: He looks like he smells bad, he walks away from explosions, and he has a neat metal arm that can catch a shield. That's as far as we'll take this entry.

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The Falcon
Sam Wilson is already a longtime friend by the time this storyline rolled around in the comics. But until now, there's been no room or time for the Falcon in the films. (After all, this is only two years after The Avengers.) Anthony Mackie's take on Falcon matches the youth of Chris Evans in the Cap duds. And the effects, at least from the trailer, look dazzling. For a grown man wearing wings, that's already an achievement. Hopefully, the classic team-up of Captain America/Falcon shines, as it does in the comics.

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Nick Fury
In 2012's big team movie, the seed of distrust between Cap and Fury was planted. We seem to be headed to a crossroads for the two. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s helicarriers are depicted among the destruction in this film, and the writers have said that we'll see more of Fury's political side. Fury seems like a person who's never quite telling the truth; but somehow, he always seems to be fighting for the right side. Expect some interesting twists for S.H.I.E.L.D. in this one.

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Alexander Pierce
Robert Redford was a surprise announcement for this cast. This high-ranking member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the World Security Council (the mysterious group of suits seen in The Avengers) adds to the political angle we seem to be in for in Winter Soldier. Of course, the trailers depict plenty of action, too. Where Pierce fits in is one of the more intriguing aspects to these previews.

Everyone else
The main players are enough to get us excited, but it wouldn't be a Marvel movie without some obscure additions to keep the fanboys happy. Among those making an appearance? Batroc the Leaper, Crossbones and the return of Arnim Zola. On the S.H.I.E.L.D. site, lets hope Maria Hill (played by Cobie Smulders) gets a little more screen time than she's been given in the past.

What aspects of Captain America: The Winter Soldier have you excited? Check back later this week for a Comic Afterthoughts review of the film.

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