Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been anticipated by comic book fans ever since the studio confirmed they would be adapting one of the most influential “Captain America” storylines in recent years for the big-screen sequel. And as the action-packed trailers have been promising spectacle for casual audiences, the momentum has only been building.
Now the Super Bowl trailer for Captain America 2 has blown prior footage out of the water, and given some of the first detailed looks at the heroes and villains of the sequel.
We’re taking a closer look at what’s been shown, alluded to, foreshadowed, or hinted at in the trailer. Potential spoilers for all readers from here on out (if our analysis is correct). You have been warned.
When the first set photos appeared of Cap (Chris Evans) sporting a shield lacking his signature red-white-and blue paint scheme, eyebrows were raised. Was the shield a stand-in, battle-scarred, or a separate one entirely?
The additional footage of Cap and Widow (Scarlett Johansson) parachuting into combat confirms that the blue and grey shield is a variant used for stealth operations – like Cap’s new costume as a whole. And going by the photos of Cap’s fight with Batroc the Leaper – played by UFC champ Georges St-Pierre – it would seem that Captain America encounters the athletic villain on board this same ship.
Given just how much the directors of The Winter Soldier have talked about the film as a political thriller, and a spy story more than a superhero one, it’s no surprise to see a locked bunker filled with armed mean. But a closer look reveals that it is S.H.I.E.L.D. officers locking the room.
Prior promotional photos and trailers have hinted that Steve Rogers will be exploring some of the oldest parts of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, and this room seems to be among them, since The Avengers showed that the group has progressed far beyond metal locks and underground bunkers.
What could the government agency be keeping so hush-hush? The trailer may also provide the answer.
That’s right, fans: the same S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker looks to be housing the restrained (and shirtless) operative known as ‘The Winter Soldier.’ The man beside the former Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) even appears to be the same man seen in the previous slide image, so there’s little doubt that S.H.I.E.L.D. has Barnes in custody, eager to find out what’s making him tick.
The most obvious question when faced with this fact is just how strong those restraints must be. The trailer goes on to show that Barnes and Rogers are at least of comparable strength and speed, so it’s odd that the agency wouldn’t have Cap on-hand to help contain their prisoner.
Is it possible that, like Loki in The Avengers, Barnes has allowed himself to be captured? And if so, to what end?
One of the most startling reveals of the first Winter Soldier trailer was the appearance of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on an operating table, with Cap and Widow looking distraught. Such a tease seems like one that the directors would not make if Fury was actually going to die at the hands of the Winter Soldier, and the most recent footage seems to confirm those assumptions.
The Super Bowl teaser and the international trailer released alongside it seem to imply that it is Fury’s vehicle which tumbles end over end past the steel-armed villain, but his appearance later sporting a number of cuts and bruises (and seated) suggests that the fight may have left him injured, but nonetheless recovering.
We’ll get to what questions that raises in a moment….
While Agent 13 does not appear in her signature costume, there is plenty to draw from her encounter with Steve Rogers. To begin with, the lack of recognition between the two supports the notion that for time being, neither Nick Fury nor S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) have informed Rogers that she is the daughter of his lost love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).
Given what’s been rumored about Redford’s role, Carter being seen with him can make her seem similarly suspicious, or position her as someone Steve can trust going forward, if she questions S.H.I.E.L.D.’s motives as he does.
It made sense to feature the launch of a Helicarrier in the first trailer for Captain America 2, since S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters featuring an underground hangar was an impressive sight. But as the studio continues to feature the launch so centrally, we can’t help thinking there’s something we’re missing.
For starters, the footage of the Helicarrier launching seems to lack any presence of actual S.H.I.E.L.D. employees (guards, technicians, or deck crew). Combine that with the capture of the film’s villain, and there is a chance – however slight – that we’re witnessing a theft, not a sanctioned launch? Perhaps of a specially-equipped Helicarrier?
That’s serious speculation on our part, but make note of the number on the Helicarrier’s side…
Once the trailer confirmed that Captain America would have enemies within S.H.I.E.L.D. itself, it was unsurprising to see one of the agency’s jets open fire on Cap’s motorcycle. But a close look at the plane’s markings may reveal more.
Presumably, the ’42’ markings on the jet imply that it has originated from the same Helicarrier seen leaving S.H.I.E.L.D.’s base earlier (assuming that the production designers or special effects team haven’t chosen numbers at random).
The question soon becomes: has the agency itself turned its back on Cap, or simply a small cell within it – a cell tied to the emergence of the Winter Soldier, intending to hijack a Helicarrier for their own purposes? Either answer has serious ramifications.
Much of the action featured in the Super Bowl trailer centers on what looks to be an aerial battle fought between multiple Helicarriers – another reason we’re inclined to think the Winter Soldier’s forces commandeer one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fleet. It appears to be on the winning end, which also supports our theory that the Helicarrier marked ’42’ may be far deadlier than those around it.
It’s safe to assume that this airborne battle will be the film’s climax, and the rest of the action and fight scenes seem to fit into that assumption quite well.
We’re not worried about spoiling the fun by saying it, though, since the action itself looks guaranteed to thrill.
The decision to update Captain America’s costume for The Winter Soldier was a logical one; the costumes used during World War II were designed to inspire by boasting the colors of the American flag, and the version seen in The Avengers was claimed to do the same.
But as a realistic government operative, the new costume makes far more sense. Why, then, would recent photos feature Cap battling modern soldiers in his old duds? The trailer shows Cap wearing his classic costume alongside Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in what looks to be the same climactic battle set in the skies over Washington.
Is the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s base what makes Steve dig his old costume out of a museum exhibit, or is the choice a symbolic one? Only time will tell.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier may have narrowly avoided a fall from the sky in The Avengers, but it seems they won’t be as lucky this time around. Unfortunately, little context is offered for this catastrophic crash, crippling the ship and the agency’s headquarters in the process.
We can say that the ship lacks the ’42’ markings of the attacking Helicarrier, so it doesn’t appear to be the villain-controlled ship (SPOILER: the first trailer already showed that Helicarrier crashing into a body of water). The trailer seems to suggest that the crash takes place before the final aerial battle, explaining Widow’s absence from it, and why Falcon is not yet suited up as he flees the wreckage.
Either way, S.H.I.E.L.D. will be in need of serious renovations before The Avengers 3.
As any superhero will tell you, it pays to have friends that fly. With Iron Man and Thor busy elsewhere, it looks like Cap can still rely on Falcon to pull his feet out of the fire when he trips over them while fighting thousands of feet above the Earth.
The brief rescue is just one of what looks to be dozens of epic action moments featuring Falcon taking on missiles, jets, and everything in between. Marvel set the bar fairly high with the free-fall rescue scene in Iron Man 3, so here’s hoping that the Russo brothers have concocted something similarly thrilling.
Immense robotic wings or not, it seems that the Falcon is no match for the Winter Soldier, who is seen snagging him before pulling him violently to the deck. The ensuing fight isn’t shown in the trailer, but we can’t say that Falcon has strong chances.
Anthon Mackie has previously hinted that Falcon would share a similar supersoldier origin to Cap’s, but there has been little to confirm that to be the case. If it’s true, he may give the steel-armed villain a run for his money.
However, Mackie has also revealed that at some point in the film, his character is injured quite seriously, so we might be witnessing the beginning of his end – in the film’s final fight, at least.
The moments of the trailer that comic book fans will be most thrilled by is the final showdown between Cap and the Winter Soldier. The setting appears to be the underside of a Helicarrier, but the set has not been seen in the Marvel universe thus far. Could this simply be an unexplored corner of the ship, or part of some mysterious new weapons system?
Since we doubt Marvel would show all of their cards at this point, it’s likely there’s an element of the plot that is being kept under wraps. Either way, this seems the most likely scene to feature an explanation for exactly why Bucky has taken the path he has, and what the real threat of the film will be.
No guess how the fight will go, since the films have differed from the comics in a number of ways.
We now arrive at the shot featuring Widow and Cap standing over a covered body, as Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) looks on. The earlier glimpses of Nick Fury in surgery will lead many to assume it’s his corpse, but we’ve already explained why that doesn’t seem to be the case.
If not Fury, then who? Could the fight between the Falcon and Winter Soldier go even worse than we fear? Anthony Mackie is signed to multiple films, but actors have been known to leak misinformation before. Could Barnes offer Cap no choice, and force him to end his life? Widow and he had history in the comics, which would explain her emotion.
Or is this yet another Marvel character death fake-out, and this is all a ruse to help Barnes be assigned a new identity and mission within S.H.I.E.L.D.? We welcome any theories, since your guess is as good as ours.
Those are the brief clips and questions from the newest trailer that most stood out to us, But only time will tell how accurate our speculation turns out to be.
Do you think our theories are right on target, or are you hoping they’re off the mark? Be sure to share your own insights or theories in the comments.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier releases April 4, 2014.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.