Thursday, 12 January 2017

Narrative and Character: Captain America: the Winter Soldier (2014)

Image 1: Threatrical Poster of Captain America the Winter Solider 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier was made in 2014 and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. It is ninth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following Steve Rodgers' story following the events that unfolded from Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and The Avengers (2012) he is thrown into conflict about the organisation, SHIELD, and the new threat of the Winter Soldier.

Steve Rodgers relationship with Winter Soldier had already been established in the first film, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), when he was known as James Bucky Barnes. The two were childhood friends on opposite ends of the scale both in personality and physicality. Steve was an sickly awkward boy who had a strong sense of justice while Bucky was an able-bodied ladies man. This changed when Steve received the serum to enhance his body to human perfection and led his friend along with the rest of his troops to fight HYDRA and Red Skull. The results of this mission led to Bucky's supposed death on a train in the German Mountain side and Captain America being frozen in ice only to be freed by the organisation SHIELD in modern day.
At the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve is the leader of a troop infiltrating a tanker, he leads the operation, being the front of the troop and going in first. By contrast later on in the film in the chase scene with Nick Fury and HYDRA officers which introduces the Winter Soldier for the first time. Instead of being front and centre, he is used as a last resort to completely stop Fury in his tracks. While Captain America is assertive and definitely leader material, the Winter Soldier, while being a silent and foreboding figure is more docile and willing to follow instructions over doing things by himself.

Fig 2: The first meeting of Captain America and the Winter Soldier

Captain America world view in this film is shown by his willingness to leave SHIELD, and to gain a sense of independence and freedom from the organisation that is beginning to show signs of corruption, after the death of Nick Fury. All the while the Winter Soldier is stuck following orders set by HYDRA but his sense of free will starts to be regained over the course of the movie. The two organisations in the film also have duality in their world views, with SHIELD that openly wanted to protect and defend the innocent from the super humans, aliens and other forces that could harmful civilians, while HYDRA, is a hidden organisation dealing in terrorist activities and secret assassination missions, not caring for the lives of the innocent that could be harmed along the way. The combination of their opposing personalities and the organisations they work for also is reflected in their fight styles, Steve is defensive, using his iconic shield to defect blows from enemies. While the Winter Soldier is more offensive, using guns and knives to attack to kill like the assassin he was trained to be.
Fig 3: Fight Scene with Steve and the Winter Soldier

Throughout the film, after discovering that the Winter Soldier is Bucky, Steve goes out of his way to get him out of his mind controlled state. He wants his old friend back, while Bucky is stuck in this turmoil of following HYDRA's orders or letting himself listen to Steve and regain his own individuality that he had before his capture. However due to Bucky's unwillingness to co-operate it isn't until the climax where he fully has a grasp of who he is. Steve by contrast is too willing to co-operate with people which leads to his distrust of Natalia and Nick Fury due to them going behind his back in the tanker mission and of SHIELD itself for the helicarriers and of the hidden agendas of HYDRA and how they infiltrated SHIELD's ranks.

Fig 4: The final fight scene between Captain America and The Winter Soldier as Steve tries to get through to Bucky who he is.

By the end of the film and because of Bucky recusing Steve from the wreckage of the fallen helicarrier, Steve has lost his loyalty to the organisation who revived him from the ice, his only hope now is to grasp at a chance to join up with the people from or related to his past. While Bucky is trying to figure himself out now that he abandoned HYDRA and figure out a new path for himself in the modern day


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