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TV

How The Inhumans Should’ve Started

The first three episodes of The Inhumans have aired (the fourth is tonight), and they are…not great.  I’m no pessimist, and I’ll probably keep watching, but I have a LOT of thoughts on what went wrong, and how it could’ve been fixed.

Why Inhumans couldn’t be a movie

I actually agree with Marvel that The Inhumans shouldn’t be a movie.  They already caught lightning in a bottle with Guardians of the Galaxy.  Taking a group nobody knows and making them a huge hit may not have worked again.  Plus, you’ve already introduced the idea of Inhumans on TV via Agents of SHIELD.  Why give up that synergy?  It’s one place where Marvel could look to DC for inspiration.  A lot of the fun with the DC TV universe right now is how they can intermingle at will.  Wally West can pop in on Legends of Tomorrow, Felicity can slide into The Flash.  Use that.

Rushed it

“…”  -Black Bolt’s best line of the series

It seems clear to me that the background strive between Marvel’s TV and movie arm had a huge negative effect on The Inhumans.  What we ended up with was a movie-length story stretched to fit 8 TV episodes.  We have no reason to care about the Royal Family.  You can’t even tell whether or not Maximus is in the wrong.  That might work as an action movie where you just keep up a breakneck pace, but for 8 TV hours, nope.

Should’ve been SHIELD

If it were me, I would’ve gone ahead and made this part of Agents of SHIELD.  They had some great success with story arcs last season, and that could’ve worked well here.  You can even start building things the same way.  Triton comes to Earth to rescue an Inhuman, but instead of finding some babe in the woods, it’s Daisy.  I mean, it’s unclear how many times Black Bolt has sent people to Earth to rescue Nuhumans.  Has he really never encountered someone aware of the whole Inhuman society that happened?  How did he find out about Nuhumans, period? Those things break down the more you think about them.  If you bring SHIELD into the mix, you can build from a stronger base.  Maybe the Royal Family team with Coulson/Daisy to help the Nuhumans escape from a shadowy organization that’s hunting them.  You can then build Maximus’s betrayal out over the whole episode arc.  It would also give you time to show just WHY Black Bolt’s rule is a good one.  Because brutal caste systems aren’t usually something we’re supposed to root for.

Marvel missed big with The Inhumans.  On the plus side, the characters exist now in the MCU (albeit the TV branch).  Even if their show is cancelled, there’s no reason they can’t appear further.  In the mean time, read Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward’s Black Bolt series.

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Review TV

Pilot Season – The Inhumans

I’ve watched the two episodes of Marvel’s new show, The Inhumans, and I’m reminded very strongly of season one of Agents of SHIELD.  With a little of the lackluster parts of Iron Fist thrown in for good measure.  It’s not great, but there is the tiniest of hope in me still that it can get there.

The Basics

Inhumans, in case you aren’t a comics fan or caught up on Agents of SHIELD, are humans who are descended from ancestors who were experimented on by the Kree long ago.  When exposed to a material called Terrigen, they mutat–*Fox kicks in the door*–er, transform in some way.  Some gain cool powers, some might just get a minor change, like a tail or cat ears.  The Inhuman royal family lives on the moon in the city of Attilan, where a rigid caste system somehow keeps the population limited…?  It’s honestly a bit unclear.

The Family

You have Black Bolt, the silent King, who has a voice that can shatter mountains, and Queen Medusa, whose can control her long super-strong hair.  Medusa’s sister, Crystal, can control the four classical elements (earth, fire, water, air).  Gorgon has hooves.  Karnak sees the flaw in all things – he’s one of my favorite Inhumans.  Triton is the acquatic member of the family.  Maximus is Black Bolt’s brother, and seems so far to have no powers from his Terrigenesis (though if they follow the comics that may not be the case).  He thinks the Inhumans belong on Earth.

What Works

They do the best they can with the costumes.  Like most shows, they don’t like covering the heads of anyone expected to emote, and that’s going to be double for Black Bolt, who can’t speak without destroying people.  I’m curious about where they are going with this, which is enough to get me watching the next episode.  I like Ken Leung as Karnak, and Iwan Rheon is good as Maximus.

What Doesn’t

The CGI is lacking for sure.  They seem to have improved Medusa’s hair somewhat, but then they work around that anyway.  Lockjaw is cute but never seems to inhabit the scene, and he’s sidelined too.  A lot of the rest of the acting is subpar, though the dialogue given to them doesn’t help.  My hope is that it improves as you get past the pilot but it’s a Scott Buck show.  There was a lot of exposition to get through, but it’s done as just static infodumps.  Even those would be okay, but the dialogue is clunky.

Where We Go From Here

I was able to make it through the early bits of Agents of SHIELD because I liked some of the characters, and was curious about the mystery of Coulson’s return.  There’s less of an “in” here because you haven’t met any of these people before.  It’s a short season so I’m probably in for the rest (especially with a Kevin Tanchareon-directed episode coming up) but I wouldn’t blame anybody who bailed.

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Comics TV

Help Me Fix Agents of SHIELD

This is mostly in response to the article over at Heroic Hollywood, Is Marvel’s ‘Agents of SHIELD’ Really Any Good? so maybe check that first.

There was no one more excited by the concept of Agents of SHIELD than me, when it was first announced.  A Whedon-adjacent look at the more mundane aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, led by everyone’s favorite dead SHIELD agent?  Let’s roll!  The reality of the show has been, at times, middling however.  As Jon Negroni points out in the article above, rather than the show being must-see TV for Marvel movie fans, it’s mostly an afterthought.  The episode that tied in to Thor: The Dark World is the perfect metaphor for AoS, as the team were literally picking up the scraps left behind by one of the MCU’s movies.

Not that there hasn’t been some great stuff to enjoy along the way, but beyond the direct link to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, all that’s great about Agents of SHIELD is of their own making.  Brett Dalton’s Grant Ward bored us all to tears as generic SHIELD agent guy…until the HYDRA twist turned our understanding of him on it’s head.  The action directing has been a highlight also.  Really, the only thing that holds AoS back from being spoken of in the same breath as The Flash is the MCU.  The focus (more from the fans than anyone at ABC/Disney/Marvel) is on just how the show will tie-in to the upcoming movies.  “Hey look, Inhumans!” which is particularly rough since the Inhumans movie is now off the schedule, or Lorelei/Sif which is fun but not exactly something that’s going to grab the attention of the movie-goers or the casual TV viewer who sees the promos.

No, the biggest thing Agents of SHIELD could do to increase its quality is…stop worrying about the MCU!  There are signs of that this year, with the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider being a focus, but they need to really lean in to it.  There are plenty of characters that will never get a movie or a TV show, and you already HAVE a show that needs to fill 20+ hours a year.  And has a tendency to have some filler episodes of questionable quality.  Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of sifting through the rubble of the next MCU movie, Coulson and May went on an adventure with Jimmy Woo and Ken Hale?  Or, instead of holding out hope we see another Kree, we see Fitz and Simmons have to figure out how to help defeat the Wrecking Crew?  The Hood.  Shang-Chi.  Moon Knight.  Tombstone.  The Grim Reaper.  Taskmaster.  Most of these characters wouldn’t carry a series on their own (okay, maaaybe Moon Knight) but would work great as a 3-8 episode arc on AoS.

There are signs that AoS may be going down this path this year, with Ghost Rider and some of the other mystical stuff.  The real trick is getting the audience back that may have lost interest.  Is there anyone you’d like to see on the show, or any TV-friendly storylines you’d like them to tackle?

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Review TV

Agents of SHIELD Recap – S03E06 Among Us Hide…

This show, man.  It gets you turned around.  It became clear that Lash wasn’t just some random person – Andrew was a possibility to be the killer Inhuman, but I dismissed him.  But there you are.  And this reveal leaves me with a ton of questions.  Is he one of the recent Inhumans created by the fish oil?  It seems like they want us to think that but he sure does seem to have a handle on it better than the other newbs.  Does he remember everything he does as Lash?  The change appears voluntary so I imagine so.  Why wouldn’t he kill Daisy?  The best thing that came from this is seeing Agent May’s veneer crack – this discovery is devastating to her.

Coulson gets to see the ATCU facility, and it turns out that they are basically freezing Inhumans in carbonite until Rosalind can find a ‘cure’ for them.  It looks bad though, especially to Mack and Daisy who are seeing (but not hearing) what’s going on.  They found there way there thanks to Hunter, who everyone is freaking pissed at over the whole ‘almost got Andrew killed’ thing.  Just wait until he finds out Andrew is Lash!  Hunter is a delight, basically blundering his way through the episode and mucking things up in exactly the right way.  He manages to ice Rosalind’s second in command WHILE Coulson is with her, and may have planted seeds of doubt about Will in Fitz’s head.  Get this guy a costume.

The May/Mockingbird team-up is everything we hoped for from this show, and I can’t wait for next week.  Is Andrew/Lash truly evil?  Agents of SHIELD messes with those expectations a lot (see Hyde) so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

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Review TV

Agents of SHIELD Recap – S03E05 4,722 Hours

This will be quick as I’m very late getting this out.  AoS wastes little time in showing us just what happened to Agent Simmons on the blue-tinged planet.  It starts out as you expect, with Simmons falling back on her training for survival – at first staying near the portal exit in case it can be reopened, then eventually setting off for food and water.  Jemma shows both her resourcefulness (“You’re dinner, biatch!”) and the stress from being stuck on a planet that seems to have near-permanent night.

The surprising twist comes when Simmons is captured…by another human!  “Will” seems nuts at first, not believing Jemma is even real, but turns out to be a decent sort.  Turns out he was the muscle on a NASA mission sent through the portal with hopes that they’d be able to return in a year…14 years ago.  Oops.  Simmons begins working with Will on a plan to get home, with her relentless positivity becoming infections.  It’s all for naught however, when they miss their window to get through the portal, and their message in a bottle backup plan fails as well.  Though it’s quite possible the near-miss may be what knocked the alien dust back through the portal that Fitz found.

Fast-forward to the 4,722nd hour, and Jemma and Will are living a life together on the planet now, as a couple.  They are awaiting the once a generation sunrise…when Fitz’s flare is spotted.  They make a run for it, but the strange dust storms come and in it, Jemma spots a strange figure – one of the other astronaut suits, covered in strange vines or webbing…the ‘death’ that Will warned her about.  He tells her to go while he fights it off with his one remaining bullet.  You’ve seen the rest from the other side, with Simmons pulled through at the last moment, but now you know why she wants to go back so badly.

Poor Fitz is immediately supportive of the task, despite the heartbreak he must be feeling at the reveal about Will and Simmons and the relationship.  It seems likely that at some point in the season, we will be back on the planet, as the end scene showed Will still alive.  But will he still be sane after losing Jemma?

Random thoughts:

  • So NASA had the monolith and knew it was a portal.  Will said the information about how they knew a planet was on the other side was “classified…above my pay grade” but it’s an interesting question.  Did someone make it back?
  • The prevailing theories about what that planet is are fun.  Ego, the living planet?  I doubt it, but the fact that it is heated internally means I can’t immediately discount the idea.  Still, I think something Kree/Inhuman related makes more sense.
  • What the heck was the ‘Death’ on the planet?  Can’t be a coincidence that the word Death appeared frequently around the monolith in the places it was hidden.  Makes the idea that someone came back twisted by whatever it is on the planet a bit more likely.
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Random

Agents of SHIELD Recap – S03E03 A Wanted (Inhu)man

Agents of SHIELD continues to spin multiple plates each episode, but all of the storylines are still interesting.  This time around, the ATCU outs Lincoln as an alien threat on TV, and Daisy and Mack try to go to the rescue.  Lincoln reaches out to his AA sponsor for help, and it seems to go okay until the guy turns on his TV.  Oops.  Lincoln gives him a little zap to knock him out…but it gives his buddy a heart attack.  He’s unable to save him, and it leaves our blandest Inhuman standing over a dead body when the ATCU and SHIELD arrive.  While this is happening, Coulson meets up with Rosalind, and after a humorous moment where Phil’s caught ogling…her car (get your mind out of the gutter), they get down to brass tacks – Rosalind has pictures of Daisy at the hospital too, but hasn’t released them yet.  This leads to some tense moments where Lincoln almost gets handed over to the ATCU, and when that fails, they nearly take off with Daisy.  In the end, Coulson trades away something potentially more valuable to Rosalind – his knowledge.  This morally gray dealing is a solid build-up to Civil War, and very reminiscent of the SHIELD from the comics.

The next spinning plate is the May and Hunter show.  Hunter’s got a buddy with an in to HYDRA, but Lance has to fight in a no-holds-barred fighting tournament.  All well and good until his opponent is revealed to be that buddy.  Hunter and ‘Spud’ beat each other to a bloody pulp, and Lance is about to lose until he slips on some brass knuckles and unloads on Spud.  In a parallel to Lincoln’s story, Spud ends up dead.  This apparently is enough to get Hunter an audience with Ward’s second in command.  And don’t worry about May, she got to beat the snot out of three guys who tried to corner her to assault her.

The final spinning plate is the Fitz/Simmons saga.  Simmons is back but is still jumpy as hell, every bright light and noise setting her on edge.  Six months on an alien planet being hunted will do that to you.  Fitz tries to get her back to work – after all, that helped him – but comes to realize after a chat with Mockingbird that maybe Simmons needs something different.  They go to a nice dinner, and bond over a good cry.  So it’s a surprise when Bobbi finds Simmons in the lab, poking and prodding the remnants of the monolith.  But Simmons doesn’t want to hear it’s inert – she WANTS to go back!

  • Obviously the big questions is, why does Simmons want to go back to the alien world?  Is someone else there?  Some other discovery?  An important artifact?  BRUCE BANNER?
  • Lincoln still being in the wind is a surprise too – I think most of us assumed he’d be the first ‘Secret Warrior’ recruited.
  • I definitely get an Abigail Brand vibe from Rosalind – I’m not sure if she’s available to the MCU since she was created in an X-comic but that’s who I think of when she’s on screen (or the comic version of Maria Hill).

Next week brings back Lash, and sees at least one more new Inhuman appearing.

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Review TV

Agents of SHIELD Recap – S03E02 Purpose in the Machine

Episode 2, Purpose in the Machine kicks off right where the premiere left off, and keeps up the breakneck pace.  After an open that shows old English dudes sending some poor sap into a room…with our monolith.  Mostly so one of them can tell us “no one ever returns!”.  But we know our Simmons is still out there!  Back at SHIELD HQ, there’s some talk to get everyone up to date on the state of the Secret Warriors and team SHIELD itself which is to say numbers are down.  Amazing that these new Inhumans are all pretty freaked out.  Or dead.  That talk stops when they notice Fitz freaking out on the monolith.  They pull him away and slam the case shut just in time for the thing to go liquid again…reacting to Daisy.

We also see Ward rebuilding HYDRA, cutting away the weak and soft heads so stronger ones can take their places.  He hunts down a young man…who turns out to be Werner von Strucker!  I didn’t see that coming, and I’m interested to see what they do with it.  He gets placed in Dr. Garner’s Psych class by Ward.  Garner, for his part, is helping Daisy and Mack evaluate the Inhumans after May went to ground.  Garner gets Daisy to open up just a bit, about how she wants to build a home for her people.

Fitz discovers proof that the monolith is a portal through space, when it leaves behind alien sand after going liquid.  Coulson recruits “Professor Randolph”, the Asgardian the team encountered in Season one to help them open the portal.  Peter MacNicol is hilarious as the unassuming but powerful deserter, who studied portals like this as he’s afraid of getting snatched back through one.  He’s able to give the team a location where the monolith must’ve been, and they find a room designed to vibrate it open.  How convenient that they have a team member who can vibrate stuff when the machinery breaks, eh?  Daisy opens the portal, and Fitz dives through (of COURSE, did no one there see this coming, really??).  Simmons has thankfully headed towards the portal site thanks to a flare they shot through the first time, and Fitz spots her.  It gets intense as Fitz tries to reach her and hold her while they pull him back in.  The monolith shatters, we see Fitz under the shredded remains…and then Simmons!  I was shocked they got her back this early in the season, but it was a great moment.

The remaining plot (boy, they are spinning a lot of plates) involves the missing May joining Hunter on his mission to kill Ward.  Unremarkable except for the interplay between May and her dad, played by the always wonderful James Hong (Po’s dad in the Kung Fu Panda movies, pretty much everywhere else they need an older male Asian actor with humor chops).

The high entertainment value continued this week, but there are still plenty of questions left to answer despite Simmons’ return.

  • What planet was she on?  Hala?  It looked more like a moon to me, and her getting stranded there reminded me a bit of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes episode where the Avengers get stuck on Hala and are attacked by strange creatures.
  • Werner’s giant H belt buckle is just great.
  • As is the team noting the SHIELD logo being plastered on everything may have not been the best idea.  Heh.
  • In the comics, Strucker had other children, Andrea and Andreas the Fenris twins.  They had powers but I doubt they want to bring them in right now.  This episode seems to be bringing the team slowly back together, but they preview for next week seems to show a ‘betrayal’ as Daisy tries to help Lincoln, on the run after being outed as an ‘alien’ in last week’s episode.
  • With a manhunt episode and the return of the ATCU, I don’t see things slowing down.  On to Civil War!
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Review TV

Agents of SHIELD Recap – S03E01 Laws of Nature

I’ve got a bit of free time on my hands, so I am going to try and write more – and I thought I’d start recapping some of my favorite shows.  First up, Agents of SHIELD!

AoS season two dealt with the Inhumans, and the fact that Skye (now known by her real name, Daisy Johnson), was one of them.  It ended with Jemma Simmons sucked into a Kree monolith, Coulson with his arm chopped off, Ward looking to take over HYDRA, and May taking off.  And oh yeah, Terrigen seeping into the oceans, potentially setting off Terrigenesis in every potential Inhuman.

In fact, Season 3 kicks off with a scene of a normal dude fresh from his Terrigenesis – Joey (gotta be a version of The Melter, right?) is turning metal to liquid all over the place, but he doesn’t mean to.  He’s terrified, and it doesn’t help when a black-ops team rolls up.  Daisy, Mack, and Hunter show up to extract Joey however, and we get to see the full power of ‘Quake’.  Though she isn’t yet called that.  This show needs Cisco from the Flash to pop by to give everybody their names.  Coulson is on hand (ha!) to snap a picture of the leader of the opposing team so they can identify her.

This leads to two separate scenes that dovetail together nicely – Mack and Daisy are sent to get Lincoln back to help deal with Joey’s transition (they kind of stink at it), while Coulson and Hunter attempt to capture the shadowy lady in charge of the black ops team.  Coulson and Hunter get the tables turned on them, but it’s okay as Rosalind (as she is calling herself this time around) is talking, not shooting.  As they flirt/banter, both Coulson and Rosalind figure out the the other is NOT, in fact, the one killing Inhumans…and Lincoln, Daisy and Mack meet who is:Lash

This is Lash, a fairly recent addition to the comics.  I chose this panel specifically as I am fairly certain Lash’s motivations in the comics will match up with his AoS version – that all of the new Inhumans popping up are not worthy of Terrigenesis.  The three heroes barely escape Lash after Daisy cleverly uses her powers to drop him through the floor, while Coulson and Hunter engineer their escape when Rosalind is distracted.

There’s also a running story with Fitz, travelling the world looking for clues on getting Jemma back from the monolith.  He’s got little to lose, and risks his life to get a scroll from arms dealers, only for it to turn out to be less than helpful.  When he finally gets back to SHIELD, he breaks down, busting in to the sealed room where the monolith is, and has an epic freakout.  For a lot of other guys, it would come off as corny or over the top, but Iain De Caestecker as Fitz pulls it off.  The show ends with Simmons running from her life on what appears to be an alien moon.  She’s cut, and she smears mud on it quickly which seems to indicate an animal is chasing her?  And is she in orbit of Hala, perhaps?

It was a great start to the season, and I’m dying to get more on what is happening with Simmons.  And May.  And Ward.  And the “ATCU” (HAMMER?  SWORD?).

Random thoughts:

  • A shotgun-axe sounds like the lamest Final Fantasy weapon
  • Lincoln shares a last name with one of the names Coulson and the team found ‘Rosalind’ under – her real name, and her son is Lincoln?  Or a red herring?
  • The laws of nature getting broken came up a lot, and all I could think of was this:

Darren Cross 2

Now, I don’t think Cross survived his trip to the microverse, so it’s mostly just coincidental, but it was fun to ponder.  On to next week!

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Movies Review

Movie Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I’ve been a Marvel guy since I first read my brother’s few remaining comics (the ones my Mom hadn’t tossed, that old story), but Captain America never appealed to me.  The costume seemed like a bit much, and he just didn’t seem to be as much fun as Iron Man or Spidey, and didn’t have the way-out nutso stuff that was happening in the pages of the Silver Surfer.  I’ve come to enjoy Cap as an adult, devouring Ed Brubaker’s run on the Captain America book, including the story adapted loosely in the latest movie, The Winter Soldier.  There will be spoilers from here on out, so for those of you not continuing on, I loved this movie a TON.

WinterSoldierFinishedThe movie starts with a ‘Meet Bro’ scene between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson, an Iraq vet.  They bond over stories of too-soft beds and lost friends.  Cap gets called away on a mission, where Batroc the Leaper (ze LEAPER!) has taken a SHIELD ship used as a satellite launch platform.  It’s a great action scene, I absolutely loved how acrobatic yet powerful Cap was.  GSP could actually do some ‘leaping’ and actually got a few shots in on our hero.  But why was the ship out there?  Why was Agent Sitwell on it?  And what intel was the Black Widow taking from it?  Cap has those questions, and Nick Fury isn’t answering.  He has trust issues, moreso after he can’t decrypt the data stolen, despite it apparently being locked down…by him.  He heads out to meet Maria Hill, but is ambushed by assassins on the way.  His car gets blown up by the Winter Soldier, but he escapes.  Fury goes to Steve’s apartment, broken and bleeding, and gives him the flash drive with the encrypted data.  He gets shot by a sniper – the Winter Soldier! – and Steve takes off after him, with Agent 13 being revealed as Steve’s neighbor.  The Winter Soldier escapes, after the shield-slinging scene all over the trailers.  Fury is taken to the hospital, where he succumbs to his injuries. (right)

SHIELD exec Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) asks Steve about why Fury was in his apartment, and what he told him.  When he declines, he has his strike team attempt to capture Rogers – which goes as well as you’d expect.  That’s the elevator fight.  Cap meets up with Natasha and they go to a location they found when trying to decrypt the flash drive – Camp Lehigh, where Rogers was training when he became Captain America.  There is a hidden SHIELD base hidden under it now, and within it, old computers.  It’s all very strange until they fire up and you see…Dr. Zola!  He, along with other German scientists, were enlisted to help SHIELD after the war was over (much like what happened in real life), but Zola was secretly still working against them from the inside, placing agents loyal to HYDRA in key places.  When he knew he was going to die, he had his consciousness transferred to a computer to live on.  No crazy robot body, but they may have wanted to avoid that with Ultron being the next Avengers villain.  SHIELD (the bad ones) try to blow up the bunker with a missile but Steve and Nat survive.

Not knowing who else to trust, they head to Sam Wilson’s house, and he wants to help Cap figure out what’s going on.  After grabbing Sam’s Falcon wings, they find Jasper Sitwell, and he spills it after getting thrown off the roof – Zola created a program to sift all of your personal data to determine if you are going to be a threat to HYDRA’s version of order, and will use satellite guided munitions from three new heavily armed helicarriers to blast potential troublemakers (like Tony Stark and Dr, Strange) to bits.  It’s a terrifying vision of the future.  They head out to the Triskellion (SHIELD HQ) but are taken out by the Winter Soldier on the way.  Cap and the Winter Soldier fight, and Steve is horrified when he knocks the Winter Soldier’s mask off…and sees Bucky’s face.  Buck doesn’t recognize him, and they are captured by HYDRA/SHIELD.

But Maria Hill to the rescue!  She’s disguised as one of the SHIELD agents that puts them in a truck, and they slip out when it stops.  They head to another secret hideout, and discover NICK FURY IS ALIVE??? and planning how to stop Pierce’s plan.  They namecheck Bruce Banner as having developed a drug to try and slow his metabolism down as what Fury used, which was a neat reference.  The team has to hit each of the three helicarriers and swap in a device that will decouple them from the satellites (which are targeting hundreds of thousands of people on the ground).  Two carriers get switched, but on the third is the Winter Soldier.  Steve tries to refresh his memory, but it seems to be for naught.  Meanwhile, Natasha snuck in to SHIELD HQ disguised as a member of the Security Council, and they put all of SHIELD/HYDRA’s secrets online.  There’s a struggle, and Fury shoots Pierce, who gets out a final ‘Hail HYDRA’ before dying.  A badly hurt Captain America gets the third helicarrier under their control, and Hill uses the weapons on each one to blast the others out of the sky.  He falls into the Potomac…but Bucky drags him out before leaving.

There’s more, but seriously, that should be enough to get you off the couch.  I loved everything about the movie.  The fight scenes were dynamic, with great use of the shield by Cap.  Natasha’s gadgets come into play, and Anthony Mackie is just so darn likable as the Falcon that I want to see him in every movie Captain America is in.  I wish more could’ve been done with Agent 13, but something probably had to be kept out to keep it under 2.5 hours.  Robert Redford was a bit understated as Pierce, but it kind of worked – he was Fury’s nemesis at the end, not Steve’s.  The Zola reveal was fantastic.  Sebastian Stan was suitably frightening as the Winter Soldier, and looked great.  The final post-credits scene shows Barnes checking out his exhibit at the Smithsonian, remembering, perhaps, something of his past life.

There’s a lot of serious stuff to think on here – even though the Russos stated the NSA scandal wasn’t blowing up until after production had started, this movie says a lot about freedom versus privacy.  HYDRA was playing a slow game, sowing chaos in the world, so that when they came to ‘secure’ the world, no one would stand up to them.  It’s pretty chilling.  There are a lot of Easter eggs for movie and comics fans, such as Garry Shandling’s senator reappearing, and Dr. Strange getting mentioned again.  We meet Baron von Strucker mid-credits, along with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.  They have Loki’s scepter, so you know nothing good is coming (though what that’s going to have to do with Ultron will be interesting to see).  I’m dying to see the rest of Agents of SHIELD now – are any of our team the HYDRA plants?  Will Fury contact them?  It makes sense now why they were set loose to operate more or less on their own.  The movie worked well on so many levels.  Just a blast, and I’m going to have to find my way to it again.