Exploring The Relationship Between Sam and Bucky

To say that Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes didn’t start off on the best foot is an understatement. The two first met when the latter was trying to kill the former in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. By the end of that movie, Bucky had gone into hiding. Sam decided to stand by his new friend, Steve Rogers/Captain America’s side and track down his best friend. After two years, the three were finally reunited and the two best friends of Steve Rogers were now in his life.

We saw in Captain America: The First Avenger, that Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes were best friends and more like brothers. Both growing up poor in Brooklyn and Bucky being there for Steve whenever he got into it with bullies. Eventually World War 2 tore them apart from one another with Steve unable to go due to his physical limitations. The war brought them back together with Steve being transformed into Captain America and their bond continued with some power shifts but still strong. Eventually Bucky fell to his “death” and Steve was frozen only to awaken decades later.
After the events of The Avengers, Steve Rogers was a man out of time and without a purpose. He was willing to die for his mission in World War 2 and immediately being thrust into being a superhero and also a government enforcer. Needless to say, other than combat he had nothing else going for him. Enter: Sam Wilson. A counselor at the local VA who helped soldiers with PTSD and other psychological ailments. is clear that Steve suffers from issues. This is outright said in Avengers: Age of Ultron by Ultron and Steve’s “nightmare” where he struggles with being a soldier without something to fight.So when Steve Rogers has no one to turn to in The Winter Soldier, he turns to a complete stranger and their bond is immediate. How often can you say that you would jump from a flying aircraft with no parachute with only a slight chance that your new friend will catch you.

The big issue here is when the two encounter Bucky Barnes who is the eponymous Winter Soldier. Bucky was captured by HYDRA and experimented on. Now with a bionic arm and mind wiped, Bucky is no longer the same man. Just an efficient killing machine who is frozen when he is not needed. That all changes when he meets Steve again and his memories slowly start to come back to him. Culminating in him saving his old friend’s life before disappearing once again to sort of his memories.

Sam Wilson briefly appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron where it’s established that they have been looking for Bucky for over a year. Also that he is aware how Steve continues to duck and doge having a normal life. By the end of that movie, the two are part of the new Avengers team and that continues in Ant-Man. Finally culminating in Captain America: Civil War where the three lives are connected once again.

It’s never given too much attention to but it’s clear that Sam Wilson as The Falcon is Cap’s guy. They have their own set of team up moves together. When Peggy Carter finally dies, Sam is there with Steve at the funeral. When Steve is about to go on the run, Sam wants to know why because he is going to go on the run with him. The bond between the two is established and one of the most natural feeling of the MCU. So when they finally do corner Bucky, it is Sam and Steve. Steve always there to be more cautious around Bucky because he knows what he can do and Steve has a certain blindspot for his old friend.

They aren’t given much screen time together but the two best friends of Steve Rogers quickly have their own bond. Bucky is mostly quiet and aloof with the members of “Team Cap” but not with Sam. They bicker in the car with one another about the seating arrangement. They both silently tease/cheer Sam on after he kisses Sharon Carter. In the airport battle, they are the two paired up with one another. In fact they are the first heroes to encounter new superhero Spider-Man and while both would probably lose against the web slinger one on one, they are able to hold their own against him for longer than you would think. In fact, Bucky takes a hit from Spider-Man to protect Sam.

By the end of that movie, both men are fugitives. Bucky is in fact frozen once again until he can get the last traces of the Winter Soldier programming out of his system. Smart guess would say that there next appearance will be Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 (working title). Since both those movies will be directed by The Russo Brothers, it’s fiar to say we have not seen the last of Cap’s two best friends working together. Hopefully their bond will continue and they will lose the “vitriolic” part of “vitriolic best buds”.

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Top 10 Thursday: Favorite Superhero Movies


10. X-Men: First Class

9. Captain America: The First Avenger

8. Avengers: Age of Ultron


7. Man of Steel


6. The Avengers


5. Batman Begins


4. X-Men: Days of Future Past

3. Captain America: Civil War

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

1. The Dark Knight 

Spider-Man: Homecoming Is Getting Me Excited for Spider-Man Again

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Spider-Man was one of the best parts in Captain America: Civil War. Despite his character having a relatively small but pivotal role in the movie, he did manage to be a bright star whenever he appeared. During the post credits of that scene, the tagline “SPIDER-MAN WILL RETURN” one couldn’t help but say, “Duh” as that was pretty much a given. Since Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures are now sharing the cinematic rights to the character, you knew they were not going to waste any time getting a movie made about Spider-Man in the billion dollar franchise that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Castings were announced and the film soon began filming. Though the movie was filming, no one knew exactly what the movie was about. The only thing known is that this would be about Peter Parker/Spider-Man as a high school sophomore and balancing his personal life and his newfound superhero life. Only one other movie out of the previous five Spider-Man movies really featured the superhero in high school but it seemed more of an afterthought. You probably could have made him a rocket scientists and nothing really would have changed. This film seems to want to return Spider-Man to his roots.

The plot of the film is still under wraps. When the film was brought out at San Diego Comic Con 2016, it was finally confirmed that The Vulture would be the villain of the movie. It is rumored that there might be more than one villain but The Vulture is definitely one of them. Michael Keaton, the former Batman, is in the cast and is rumored to be playing The Vulture but that is still unconfirmed. If the rumors are true, it is a good choice as Keaton is on a career resurgence and nothing wrong with adding talent to the movie.

Another important element is Peter’s high school life. Peter Parker lives in Queens, one of the more diverse parts of probably the most diverse city in the world. The comics were created in the 1960’s and thus reflected the times. Now Queens is a much different place. There are no longer just white Americans but people of a variety of ethnicities. This is reflected in Peter’s classmates. Probably the biggest divergence is Flash Thompson who has traditionally been a blonde haired, blue eyed football player. Now he is played by Tony Revolori, an Indian actor.

Last there is the connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. What was revealed during SDCC, Spider-Man is now a more household name due to his actions in Civil War. Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his role as Tony Stark and the relationship between he and Parker will continue. Who knows how it will develop after the events of that movie. There wasn’t much attention paid to it but the filmmakers even admitted that Stark manipulated the young boy to carry out his agenda. Will it sour? Also look close close to the wings of The Vulture. Those wings look very similar to the wings of the Helicarriers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I had soured on Spider-Man in movies for a while now. That spark that had me excited or his movies had been missing since Spider-Man 3. What the creators did in his limited role in Civil War, has reinvigorated my excitement for the character. Now that Spider-Man is firmly integrated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he will no doubt be a major player going forward. He is Marvel’s most popular character and since Robert Downey Jr. is on his way out as Tony Stark/Iron Man, the franchise needs a new marquee character.

Ranking The 12 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies

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12. Thor: The Dark World

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My biggest issue with this movie is a lack of clear direction. The tones of this movie are all over the place as there will be a very serious moment and then a sudden burst of comedy that mostly falls flat. Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman are certainly phoning in their performances. The villain is forgettable. The only saving grace is the relationship between Thor and Loki.

11. Iron Man 2

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The sequel to the unexpected hit that was Iron Man but instead of hitting the ground running with this one, it hits the ground stumbling. The movie was rushed into production as returning director Jon Favreau wanted more time and one can tell. The film has to serve too many masters and it is the films undoing. On one hand it has to be a sequel to Iron Man which it fails with but also has to set up the concept of the Avengers which it also fails at. Tony Stark is also very unlikable in the film as he has gotten worse from his first appearance and there is little character development.

10. Iron Man 3

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There is definitely nothing wrong with this film. It is certainly an improvement over Iron Man 2. However that is faint praise. It is the first film to happen post Avengers and supposedly throughout the film Tony Stark is suffering from some sort of PTSD. However, besides a few panic attacks, it is treated mostly as an afterthought and it is seemingly cured from a few words from a child. Once again the villain is lackluster as there are twists to the villain that think it’s more clever than it actually is. What is probably a bigger problem is that the film could have been wrapped up within the first 40 minutes.

9. Ant-Man

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This film is good but not great. It is a solid film. The film is basically a retread of the first Iron Man film which is a detriment. The main thing that elevates it though is its main character played by Paul Rudd. Rudd’s excitement of being in the movie carries over which helps cover its basic plot and once again another lackluster villain. There are interesting action scenes which come with the fact that the main character has the ability to shrink. The best thing about the movie is the potential for more as you can see where they can go with a sequel.

8. Thor

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The first Thor film had the biggest challenge of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film at that point. It had to introduce the Asgardians who are some sort of alien gods and link them to the rest of the MCU. It is backed by a likable lead of Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor as a somewhat spoiled and ego driven prince who has to learn humility. He is backed by the Tom Hiddleston as his conniving brother Loki who has very understandable but twisted reasons for his actions. The rest of the supporting cast is all likable and there is a sense of wonder that comes with Asgard and exploring other worlds.

7. The Incredible Hulk

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THE INCREDIBLE HULK, 2008, (c) Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

The redheaded stepchild of the MCU. Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk in this film which was the second MCU film. It has a unique tone as it is very much a ‘Fugitive’ type of film. Banner is on the run as he thinks of himself as a monster and with good reason but he is being pursued by people who are bigger monsters than he will ever be. This film would certainly rank higher as it does leave something to be desired. There are many deleted scenes which if weren’t cut would have fleshed out the movie more. It is unfortunate Norton did not continue to play the character but the show must go on.

6. Iron Man

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The first film in the MCU that set the tone for the films to come. Robert Downey Jr. shines as Tony Stark/Iron Man. The director Jon Favreau does an impressive job with a character that was obscure and launched the character and the universes into the stratosphere. The supporting cast is also excellent. The biggest issue with the film is the sudden shift in the third act where the villain goes from subtle to complete insane with no clear plan and an underwhelming final action scene. However, the strong first two acts more than make up for the faults.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

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Arguably the biggest risk of the MCU. This film took a property that was even unfamiliar to most comic book fans. That is probably where the film prospers the most as it works from a blank slate, more or less. A common reoccurring issue is the villain are lackluster and Ronan the Accuser is no exception. However the stellar cast and chemistry help smooth over some of the rougher edges in the movie. It is also very subtly a very important factor in setting up the MCU mythology.

4. Captain America: The First Avenger

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The film that introduces Captain America to the MCU takes a step back into the past of World War 2. The main thing with this film is introducing the future leader of the Avengers and explaining as to why he will be. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers shines as he goes from a sickly underdeveloped man to the peak of human perfection but that is not what makes him special. How small beginnings helped shape a hero and though he may come from a “simpler”time, there is nothing simple about him. Special mention goes to Hugh Weaving as The Red Skull who is probably one of the only standout villains that is not named Loki.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron

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The sequel to the first Avengers film is a solid film. The biggest thing that keeps it from being up to par with the first film is that it is more of the same. The action is better than the first but there are certain things that hamper the film. The humor in the film is very off as so many characters are filled with quips as no character really has a distinct voice. The main villain Ultron is filled with potential but comes off as all over the place and never really scary or intimidating. One of the highlights is The Vision played by Paul Bettany. There is an interesting conversation between the character and Ultron towards the end of the film that is very poignant and unexpected in a summer blockbuster.

2. The Avengers

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The conclusion to the unprecedented buildup in the MCU. After five solo films; Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow come together under Nick Fury to form The Avengers. It also features the return of Loki who is the main villain but there is a bigger bad in the background with huge implications for the films following this one. What makes this film work is putting all of the characters who have never met one another and seeing how they mix and don’t mix together. The plot is thin but one thing that keeps the film going is how fun it is. Nothing will ever top the feeling of seeing all of these heroes together for the first time.

  1. Captain America: The Winter Solider

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Arguably the best movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film firmly solidifies Captain America as the focal point within the universe. Showing that a character who many consider to be a “goody two shoes” and “out of time” still has plenty to say and do within the modern era. This film has had the biggest repercussions within the MCU but even though it is an action film, it is still all about the characters. Chris Evans shines and carries the film and finds his footing as Steve Rogers. It is worthy to note that the legendary Robert Redford plays the a major role in the film which only helps to solidify that this is not just some superhero film. This is one of the true triumphs within the superhero genre.

 

Team Captain America or Bust

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With Captain America: Civil War being released in a few weeks, there are battle lines being drawn between the assorted heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are the heroes who are on the side of Iron Man. There are the heroes who are on the side of Captain America. The marketing for the movie asks the question as to whose side are you on? Ever since this movie has been announced, I know for sure that I am on Team Captain America. I’ve never hidden the fact that Captain America is my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so I’ll skip over him and dig into the others.

Hawkeye – I’ll admit that Hawkeye is probably my least favorite hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character is fairly different from most portrayals of the character. This may be because he’s appeared the least and the audiences only really learned about his character in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hopefully the character gets more fleshed out in this movie as it is curious as to what brings him into the conflict. He seemingly retired at the end of his previous appearance so what exactly brings him out of that?

Scarlet Witch – The most fresh faced in the lineup as she only became a hero at the end of her initial appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She is probably the biggest enigma as her powers are ambiguous at best and she was defined by her relationship with her brother who sacrificed his life. That mystery surrounding her leaves her character intriguing and she is probably the biggest wild card with her unknown personality and ambiguous power set.

Ant-Man – Scott Lang is also an enigma as to why he is brought into this movie. The only thing known is that it has something to do with The Falcon who he had encounter with. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Ant-Man movie itself but I did like Scott Lang the character. So it will be interesting to see how he fits into the movie and what he brings to it. He was established as being anti establishment in his movie so it is easy to see why he would join with Captain America’s movie.

The Falcon – Captain America’s OTHER best friend. This was a character that I loved instantly in his first appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He was established as a kindred spirit to Cap himself and an immediate bond was formed as it was clear that both cared for one another and would probably die for one another if it ultimately came to that. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the bond between Bucky and Cap as he has helped his best friend find his other best friend.

The Winter Soldier – Now this is the big one. Bucky Barnes who who was once Captain America’s best friend from childhood and spent years as a brainwashed assassin. He started to regain his former self at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier but the damage has been done. So it will be interesting to see how he is from now on. He is no longer the warm best friend to Steve Rogers nor is he the deadly killing machine that almost killed Captain America. So who is Bucky Barnes going to be from now on and what does he bring to the table as he only has a connection to Steve Rogers himself.

So I’m Team Captain America but who knows how I will feel when watching the movie? I might switch to Team Iron Man. I doubt it but you never know. We will find out on May 5th.

Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies

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As of today, there is only a few more weeks to go until “Captain America: Civil War” is released into theaters. It is also the official kick off to “Phase 3”. So before the movie drops, I figured it would be best to rank my favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Overall the MCU is a solid one. I only feel that there is only one film that is so-so and two that are bad. So here is the ranking:

  1. Captain America: The Winter Solider
  2. The Avengers
  3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  4. Captain America: The First Avenger
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. Iron Man
  7. The Incredible Hulk
  8. Thor
  9. Ant-Man
  10. Iron Man 2
  11. Iron Man 3
  12. Thor: The Dark World

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Is My Favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe Film

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As of this writing, “Captain America: Civil War” is a little less than two months away. It will be the third film starring the title character of Captain America. The new trailer got me thinking about the movie proceeding it and that is “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. The entire reason that I am anticipating this film more than “The Avengers” or “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is becaus of The Winter soldier. It is arguably my favorite film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise.

The film picks up about a year after the events of The Avengers and so Steve Rogers/Captain America has been in modern times for about that time and he has adjusted well enough but he is still a man out of time and without a figurative home. He works for S.H.I.E.L.D. but he is not comfortable with all the secrets that goes with espionage. He seemingly has no social life as he always “busy” and the times we see him during his free time, he stays to the past. Something I felt was lacking in the MCU films was character.

There are plenty of characters but if they are not the main character, it can get somewhat iffy. We see through Sam Wilson, a random jogger who just happens to be ex military, connect with Steve and relate to his disconnect with society. We later learn that Sam works at the VA and helps military personnel with PTSD. It’s not overt but it is clear that Steve Rogers suffers when he is not in a combat situation. Black Widow, Steve’s Avengers teammate and seemingly his field partner in S.H.I.E.L.D. missions, constantly asks him about his dating life and is trying to get him out there. Steve also visits an elederly and Alzheimer’s afflicted Peggy Carter as she was the one who got away and she lived a life while he never got to and seemingly does not know how to. His personal life never dominates the screen but it is a constant theme throughout the movie. Can this man find semblance of stability?

Blending into this is Steve’s job as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. He is no longer in a clear “good guy vs. bad guy” type of war. He does not know who he has to fight. S.H.I.E.L.D. is also implementing a new program where they can figure out who the enemy is first and strike before. Steve struggles with this as he does believe in protect first, strike after. The constant fighting in the shadows is starting to drag on him.

Things only pick up for the titular hero when an old enemy, HYDRA, returns and also an old friend, Bucky Barnes, but Bucky is no longer as he remembers him. Instead he has become the brainwashed and near unstoppable assassin Winter Soldier. The return of these things from his past and giving him some sort of purpose reinvigorates Captain America and he brings along Black Widow and new friend turned battle buddy Sam Wilson aka The Falcon along on the ride.

Chris Evans completely sells the idea that he is Steve Rogers/Captain America. He is a man out of time and a man without purpose. There are shades of the character that he was in “The First Avenger” but from the war to being thrust into the future, he has evolved into something more. The one thing that remains are his scruples and that is what carries the film. Captain America has a moral code and strict rules and nothing will change that. While it may be frustrating to others and can come off as one dimensional, the movie shows that the world needs people like that.

I love movies based on comic books and particularly superhero movies. That being said, I can only say that I truly think “The Dark Knight” is arguably one of the greatest films of all time. That was until April 2014. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a masterpiece of a film.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

First and foremost, I loved this movie. Thought it was absolutely incredible. I definitely feel that it was the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only was it a faithful if somewhat loose adaptation of my favorite Captain America storyline but it was just a great movie in general.

 

The story was super tight. It never really dragged. It definitely captured the nuance of Steve Rogers and the world that he lives in. While I’m still not a fan of hers, Scarlet Johanson as Black Widow, she does definitely step it up and make me like her much more. Still think she’s pointless but whatever. I was absolutely in love with The Falcon in this movie. Every time that guy was on screen, I had a big smile on my face. You finally get to see Nick Fury kick ass on screen and be an actual character.

One thing that has bugged me of the Marvel movies lately is all the unnecessary humor. Thor: The Dark World suffered majorly because of this. This movie was definitely a course correction. It does have it humor but usually just to add levity. These characters were in serious situations and treated it as such and that was definitely appreciated.
One of the only knocks I have against it, is that the CGI is a bit wonky especially towards the end. But it never really took me out of it but it did make me notice. Also even though he is in the title, The Winter Soldier is not really in the movie all the much but he is enough of a presence. But you can tell there is much more to come.

Score: 5/5