The newest (and possibly the best) installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is here. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is shaping up to be the most direct follow-up to 2012’s “The Avengers” so far. That means it’s time to catch up on where this highly connected world left off.
We’ve compiled a handy guide of all the information you might need before buying a ticket to see “Captain America: The Winter Soldier" this weekend.
(WARNING POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW)
Where are The Avengers?
Tony Stark: When last we saw Stark, he had found a way to remove the arc reactor from his body. He didn't explicitly say he’ll never be Ironman again, but he certainly implied it. After all, he blew up his small army of suits after his battle with Aldrich Killian. Odds are he won't retire from the hero game altogether, but he's certainly taking a break.
Thor: The god of thunder returned to Earth after saving the planet from the Dark Elves. He, once again, refused the crown of Asgard. In doing so, he unknowingly yielded control of his home world to his devious brother Loki. Thor was last seen kissing Jane Foster back on Midgard (what you would call Earth). It’s unclear if he remained on Earth or currently resides somewhere else.
Bruce Banner: The Hulk was given a pass after the infamous Battle of New York. After he demonstrated he can control the monster within him, Banner was allowed to go free. He was last seen doing his best to stay awake through Tony Stark’s impromptu therapy session, presumably in the United States.
Hawkeye: He was last seen in Central Park bidding Loki goodbye. He will make an appearance in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” but hasn’t been seen in the MCU since.
Phil Coulson: Coulson ended up being a major part of the MCU. His death at the hands of Loki was the catalyst in bringing the Earth’s mightiest heroes together to stop the Chitauri invasion. Following that, he somehow came back to life to be the head of ABC’s spinoff TV series Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” So far it looks like only Nick Fury knows he is still alive.
Steve Rogers: The Captain rode off into the sunset on his motorcycle after the first Avengers film. He now resides in Washington, D.C., working for Nick Fury as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent alongside Natasha Romanoff, better known as The Black Widow.
Now that we're caught up with that, let's move on to some little known facts about the upcoming film.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Fun Facts
The villain in the film is a mysterious assassin known only as The Winter Soldier. However, he might not be that mysterious. The role is played by Sebastian Stan, who also played Bucky Barnes from the first film, “Captain America: The First Avenger.” You may remember Bucky as Steve Rogers’ best friend who fell from the train into the ice just before the final assault against The Red Skull.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” introduces the iconic hero Falcon from the comic books. Here's a little known fact about Falcon and his alter ego, Sam Wilson: Introduced in 1969, he was the first African-American super hero in the Marvel comics. (The Black Panther was introduced before then, breaking the race barrier, but he is not specifically African-American.) In addition, Falcon is arguably one of the first black super heroes in the MCU.
Two villains from the comics are being brought to life in the MCU for "The Winter Soldier." Batroc the Leaper will be played by UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre, and Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones, will be played by Frank Grillo. Both characters have popped up in the source material in various ways, but there’s no telling how religiously the films will stick to their characters.
This is the first time we’ve seen the Captain really deal with being a man removed from his own time. According to the MCU timeline, the hero had only been thawed out of ice for two weeks before taking up arms with The Avengers in New York City. The Captain from “The Winter Soldier” will be a very different man -- a little more adjusted, yet still adjusting.
OK, you may see the movie now.
Photo credit: Marvel Studios