It’s a Marvelous time to be a comic book movie fan right now. Thor: The Dark World is out on Wednesday in the UK, and Marvel are capitalising on the attendant buzz by releasing the first trailer for their next movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The second solo outing for Chris Evans’ supersoldier Steve Rogers, it’s a modern-day blend of political intrigue, assassins and paranoia – think Three Days Of The Condor with giant explosions and men in masks – and it looks simply cracking. Here, we single out 22 noteworthy things from the latest slice of Phase 2 madness, but be warned, spoiler-avoiders, there may be some details in here you may not want to know just yet...
He’s a man out of time, stranded in what we call the present, but what Steve Rogers, World War II hero, would almost certainly still consider the ‘future’. Yet there are signs that he’s coming to terms with his new surroundings. “Well, all the guys in my barbershop quartet are dead, so… no, not really,” he tells Black Widow. Yes, even Velvet-Voice McCreery. God, that guy had lungs that would turn a sperm whale green with envy.
Why is Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff so interested in Cap’s love life? Early on, she’s asking him if he has plans for Saturday night, then she’s suggesting colleagues he could go out with. Pap shots from the film’s shoot showed Chris Evans and Johansson sharing an intimate moment - in character, gossip fans - so could Black Widow be covering up feelings for Steve via the age-old “My mate fancies you” gambit? Sly.
As we saw in The Avengers, Steve Rogers likes to leap out of planes. This time, though, he doesn’t even bother with a parachute. Whaddaguy. (Mind you, he is landing on water, which is easier for a man with his particular set of skills.)
Here we can see Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow, the man who will later become deadly assassin Crossbones, one of a cadre of hitmen tasked with hunting down the Star Spangled Avenger. It’s intriguing to note that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU), Rumlow starts out as a fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. operative. Given that the movie is clearly about betrayal and loyalty and enemies within, it’s all starting to make sense.
Marvel are going all out to make each of their films feel different, tonally and visually. So, as Thor: The Dark World takes place in Asgard and London, so most of The Winter Soldier takes place in Washington, DC. An apt setting for a film about the struggle to control the nation.
Steve joining S.H.I.E.L.D. is somewhat surprising, considering their murky actions in The Avengers, but joined them he has, here telling Robert Redford's Alexander Pierce that he signed up to protect people. To which Pierce replies ominously, “To build a better world, sometimes means tearing the old one down… and that makes enemies.” Redford has said before that his S.H.I.E.L.D. bigwig may be somewhat shadowy, and it’s clear that he’s going to butt heads – ideologically and perhaps even literally – with Nick Fury about the direction of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
It’s also clear that he’s got Steve Rogers’ ear, which could be important if he turns out to be a bad ‘un…
Here’s our first look at Anthony Mackie as Samuel Wilson, Steve’s new bezzie mate, who becomes the winged Falcon. Wilson was the first African-American superhero in the Marvel universe, fact fans, and his and Rogers’ relationship has always been an important one over the years. You win a No Prize for guessing that The Falcon can fly like, well, a falcon, though in the comics Wilson also has the ability to bond with and control birds. We’re guessing that in this more quote-unquote realistic corner of the MCU, that aspect has been benched. Still, in the scene where he launches himself backwards off a building, guns blazing, and then unfolds his wings (actually a flight suit harness), he looks fantastic.
The Winter Soldier is clearly going to expand S.H.I.E.L.D.’s reach beyond anything previously glimpsed in The Avengers and the ongoing Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. So here we see Nick Fury introducing Rogers to what looks like the MCU version of the Triskelion, the organisation’s ground HQ. It appears big. Pretty big. Big-enough-to-house-a-whole-fleet-of-helicarriers big. In the comics, the Triskelion is also home to a prison for super-powered types. Could that be somewhere Marvel is going with this?
“You know how the game works,” Pierce tells someone (could be Rogers, could be Fury). “Disorder, war… all it takes is one step.” And as he says that line, we see someone lying on an operating table as a distressed Steve and Natasha look on. It’s hard to tell even in full-screen HD, but could this be Fury? Could Pierce’s ‘one step’ be to target Fury and hit S.H.I.E.L.D. where it really hurts? After all, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, but what happens in the land of the one-eyed man?
The movie also seems to be partially about Steve’s struggle to reconcile his all-American values with the increasingly murky state of the modern world, and his uneasiness with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s tactics. “We’re going to neutralise a lot of threats before they even happen,” says Fury, raising comparisons – again – between his company and US foreign policy. To which Rogers replies, “I thought punishment usually came after the crime.” “S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the world as it is, not how we would like it to be,” barks Fury. “This isn’t freedom, this is fear,” replies Steve, a man so idealistic it’s going to be hard to see how he can possibly stay within the purview of the government.
A lot of attention is given to helicarrier no. 42 in the trailer. Why? If we knew that, we’d have the answer to life, the universe and everything, wouldn’t we?
“You need to keep both eyes open,” Fury tells Rogers. And here we see why. In a scene that was shown in full at Comic-Con and D23, Steve gets into a lift with about a dozen heavy-set guys, who try to take him down. “Before we get started,” Steve tells the assembled assassins, “Does anybody want to get out?” Empire has seen the full thing, and it’s the best lift fight scene we can recall (yes, even better than Die Hard With A Vengeance). They’ll wish they’d heeded his advice.
Interestingly, we can see here that one of the would-be assassins is Brock Rumlow. Does having his bottom handed to him so effortlessly by Cap spur him down the road to becoming Crossbones?
At some point in The Winter Soldier, an attack will be launched on S.H.I.E.L.D.; an attack involving Natasha, seen looking panicked and anguished. Later they’ll target Cap and Widow directly, leading to this shot of an angry Rogers carrying someone out of a destroyed building. It’s hard to say for sure, but the red hair seems to be a dead giveaway. Has the Widow been squashed? (We’re saying unlikely; it would be a nice move for Marvel to finally do away with a MAJOR character, but we doubt that they’d reveal it in a trailer.)
The attack will be carried out by a group of armed mercenaries, but its leader is…
The Winter Soldier himself. A masked man of mystery with what seems to be a cyborg arm. And we can see here that he is targeting a convoy of S.H.I.E.L.D. cars, one of which is driven by Nick Fury. The Winter Soldier takes it out with a nifty targeted landmine-type-thing, flipping the vehicle Dark Knight-style. So, could it be Fury on that operating table after all?
The approach to The Winter Soldier is an interesting one here. Thanks to Ed Brubaker’s fantastic comic book arc, we know that The Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes, Cap’s presumed-dead WWII buddy, who gets souped up and supervillainised by those pesky Russkies. We’re sure his origin will differ slightly here, but what’s intriguing is that the trailer holds back on the big reveal. We know – or you should do if you’ve been following casting on this movie – that Sebastian Stan, who played Bucky in The First Avenger, is back. And we can vaguely tell that it’s him in just one shot, as The Winter Soldier strides through a cloud of smoke. Otherwise, though, the focus is elsewhere. Will Bucky get his day in the sun in the next trailer?
And he’s clearly a formidable foe, a cool customer who’s able to calmly step out of the path of a flipping SUV, and more than able to hold his own with Cap. An unarmed Cap, admittedly. In the last shot of the teaser, he also catches Cap’s shield as if it were a tennis ball. Advantage Winter Soldier.
“Gear up… it’s time,” Rogers tells Sam Wilson. And so it is, as the two go to war… with their own organisation? It’s notable that Wilson is firing at what looks like a S.H.I.E.L.D. jet. Have the enemies within taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. completely in the potential absence of Fury?
If so, it looks like Cap and The Falcon aren’t alone, as Black Widow gets to flip around, kick things and go full Chow Yun-fat with twin handguns.
Here, Cap rides towards a Quinjet that’s using him as target practice. Uh, Cap, we know you’re the absolute zenith of human perfection and all, but perhaps you’d be better off wearing the indestructible shield on your front, eh?
Much has been made of Cap’s new black duds (and don’t even get us started on Natasha’s new ‘do!), but it’s interesting to see that, for his assault on S.H.I.E.L.D., he goes back to a version of his old costume. Perhaps wrapping himself in the flag as he takes on traitors who want to take down America has a certain ring to it...
Here, we see what looks like a couple of helicarriers having a very bad day. Hope they’re insured. Marvel’s @AgentM tweeted that this scene only hints at the scale of destruction we can expect in The Winter Soldier. Hmm…