Repercussions of Captain America: Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier has been called one of their best movies to date and definitely did more to change the landscape of the Marvel movies than any of their other films. Let’s have a spoiler filled talk about what happened and also how this affects the universe at large. If you haven’t seen Captain America Winter Soldier yet then don’t read any further unless you want key plot points revealed to you.
The major change that has happened is that the world peace keeping force that has been in the movies since the first Iron Man movie, SHIELD, has now been disbanded. During the course of the film Captain America and Black Widow found out that Hydra was still active and that they were active inside SHIELD since it was first founded. Cap put his foot down and made sure to stop it all and get rid of SHIELD. So now the organisation will not be able to help or intervene in any future movie. They have been in a supporting role for most of the movies and now that’s gone.
They were the ones keeping tabs on all the weird stuff happening in the Marvel movie universe, all the superheroes and would-be villains. Even if we didn’t see them doing a whole lot for most of their appearances it still seemed like they were the constant factor in all of the movies. They cleaned up Stark’s messes in Iron Man 1 & 2, were the government opposing force in Thor investigating the alien nature of it all, pulled Steve Rogers out of the ice in Captain America, and brought all the Avengers together. Without them the movies will either have someone else looking into the craziness, or things are going to get a lot more independent in the individual movies.
The biggest impact will be on the TV series, they can’t really be Agents of SHIELD if there’s no SHIELD. Maybe the show will finally become a decent series, but I doubt it. It does now seem like the series was spinning its wheels waiting to actually deal with the fallout of Winter Soldier. Slow, meandering, plots with little payoff and an ongoing story utterly bland and lifeless. Now they get to do something big and eventful that’ll hopefully have some real consequences for once; it’s just that it’s not from the show’s initiative but following on from the movies. They can’t do anything meaningful without picking up the ball from the latest movie. Chances are their version of the Hydra/SHIELD takeover won’t even be half as interesting as the movie. If the show had any guts one of the main cast would turn out to be a Hydra agent; if it was smart it’ll be one of the blander, more annoying, cast members so they can be gotten rid of and also made actually interesting in the process. If the series gets a second season, which is very doubtful at this point, I’d bet the team will be more of an A-Team derivative. Hiding out as they go across America solving otherworldly mysteries, like a less competent Scooby Doo gang, calling themselves the ‘last bastion of SHIELD’ so they can still keep the name.
In hindsight the setting of Agents of SHIELD does make a little more sense now. Agent Colson and his scrappy band of wacky SHIELD agents travelling the world taking on their own missions and generally being as far apart from the regular SHIELD operations as possible. It’s to make the transition to the Post-Winter Soldier status quo as easy as possible. Season 2 can be pretty much the same as season 1 except there will be moaning that they don’t have the resources they used to now that SHIELD is gone. No need for a massive show upheaval when you can have the setting already be that way from the start. It is in keeping with the show’s lazy method of writing.
Getting away form that horrible show the world, and most of the intellegance community, now thinks Nick Fury is dead. He has faked his death and is now doing spy stuff behind the scenes, looking for more Hydra remnants it seems. He’ll probably show up in Avengers Age of Ultron then disappear again. Keeping track of the Marvel universe behind the scenes like he does in the comics. Some have suggested he might try to found another version of SHIELD, this time more covert and free of Hydra agents. I hope it doesn’t go that way as it would rob the Winter Soldier of its impact if it was a quick fix to keep SHIELD around to do the same things for the movies they’ve always done.
Black Widow is out on her own now. Trying to establish new cover IDs and figure out her way in the world again. She’s been trying to atone for the past by working for SHIELD so this revelation of what SHIELD really was must have hurt her. She was still working for unsavoury men and helping to do the same sort of things she didn’t want to do anymore. So she’s probably not eager to join up with anyone else at the moment. Maybe trying to get the red out of her ledger another way. Her role has slowly been growing in these movies; hopefully it’ll lead to get getting her own movie rather than needing to get her spotlight from other people’s movies.
The internet now has all of SHIELD’s secrets on it, or a lot of them at least since they didn’t mention if any of the information would be endangering someone’s life. Like undercover operatives, informants, or the people with superpowers in hiding that was on “The Index” mentioned in Agents of SHIELD. We do know all of Widow’s past was on there as it was a big deal for her to be the one releasing it and all the nasty things she’s done. At the very least it means the Avengers know Colson is alive and now could show up in movies again, though that might hurt things with the audience since its saying “this guy was dead, but now he’s not because of shit happening off screen, no big deal” leading to dramatic deaths having less of an impact. Or at least a “why do we have to watch a crappy TV show to understand a movie?” comment. On the funny side of things it makes Skye’s character in Agents of SHIELD entirely pointless since she joined the SHIELD party bus on the show to get access to their database, and all she had to do was wait a year and it would’ve come to her.
Hydra is still around, now officially existing in groups working on their own things. We see Baron Strucker in charge of one such group at the end of Winter Soldier, and doing things that will impact Age of Ultron. It means that movies can have them show up if they need a recognisable bad guy group, or be the cause of the problem in some movie. Like creating a monster for the Hulk to fight. They can be the universal bad guys for whatever movie needs them. More importantly the revelation that Hydra was always a part of SHIELD colours any past action we’ve seen from SHIELD. We have to wonder if their inaction in the other movies was due to Hydra trying to push their own agenda forward. Such as SHIELD trying to replicate Hydra weapons in the first Avengers movie, or the senator from Iron Man 2 trying to get Stark to hand over his armour specs. It also means Hydra has had access to all the captured supervillains such as the Abomination from The Incredible Hulk. They could have secured them away somewhere to use them against the Avengers at some point. It would be a way to bring some villains back into the fray as easy as possible.
A lot of things could be changing now, lots of possibilities and potential plots can come from this. SHIELD was a bit of a burden to the films anyway, since they were portrayed as a competent organisation involved in a lot of things, yet never around to really helping resolve a movie plot. They weren’t allowed to do much since they can’t take over someone else’s film and stop act three from happening. So it was a case of them being there, but never really doing much. Or in the case of Iron Man 3 being absent from a plot that involved terrorist attacks and kidnapping the president, which made little sense. So the movies now don’t have that hanging plot thread of “where was SHIELD in all of this?” That’s definitely a good place to move forward from. Now if only idiot fans would stop asking where Iron Man was at the end of every movie, that’d be much appreciated.