Description of first footage screened at CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER panel

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Following on from the awesomeness that is Tom Hiddleston as a scenery chewing Loki is no easy task, but that’s exactly what was asked of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier panel after it followed the thunderous one for Thor: The Dark World.

And for those few lucky enough (and determined/batsh!t crazy enough to stand in a queue for more than 12 hours) to be there when the focus shifted on to the star-spangled Avenger’s second outing, they got treated to the very first footage from the film. And it sounds superb! 

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On the panel were co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo and Marvel Studios Exec Kevin Feige, joined on stage by star Chris Evans (Steve Rogers aka Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow), Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson aka Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Colbie Smulders (Maria Hill), Frank Grillo (Crossbones) and Emily Van Camp who was officially confirmed as Sharon Carter aka Agent 13 for the first time.

The panel kicked off with a Q&A with the cast, during which Evans revealed that he was very happy that the Marvel movies are turning out so good, as “it turns out Marvel knows what they’re doing, so every time you put the suit back on, you get really excited and can’t wait to see what they’re going to do.”

He also spoke about how Steve Rogers, a product of a much more straight-cut time in the 1940’s,  is having difficulty finding his place in this modern world of moral grey areas.

“He’s getting there. It’s not so much about his shock with tech — ooh, internet! It’s more about the societal differences. He’s gone from the ’40s to today; he comes from a world where people were a little more trusting, the threats not as deep. Now, it’s harder to tell who’s right and wrong. Actions you take to protect people from threats could compromise liberties and privacy. That’s tough for Steve to swallow.”

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Johansson revealed that Black Widow plays an integral part in the story, and that while there wasn’t much interaction between them in The Avengers, she and Steve Rogers were now partners, performing missions together for Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., and that they had subsequently built a good working relationship between them.

Fury, though, as Jackson explains, often tries to use those relationships to his advantage.

“They’re co-workers, subordinates in a sense, instruments of justice… tools. They’re people that he cares about. He has a very different relationship with everybody. He and steve have a vocabulary, because they’re both warriors. But Rogers has this black and white thing with respect to enemies. Now, some enemies may be comrades. He doesn’t know how that works. But that’s what SHIELD and Natasha live in. Almost everything that comes out of Nick Fury’s mouth is a lie in some sense. He has to ask, is he even lying to himself, too? He has a very good idea of what’s going on but his paranoia keeps him from believing some of it.”

Stan indicated that he was very happy and surprised when he found out that they would be doing the Winter Soldier story and that he would get to come back, with Feige adding that the film is set to follow Ed Brubaker’s original comic book story very closely, saying that “It’s not meant to surprise the audience, but it will surprise Cap”.

Mackie though had the best lines of the panel when he explained the appeal of his character, Falcon.

“I have wings and guns. That’s all you need, right? When you go to the grocery store, isn’t that what you want? Wings and guns? That’s what I got!”

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Feige then informed the audience that he could tell them why he picked the Russo brothers – whose biggest claim to fame is directing a number of episodes of the critically acclaimed meta comedy show, Community – to helm, or he could just show them. And thus the lights dimmed and up came the first footage from the film, described as more akin to a 70’s espionage thriller than a comic-book movie. Here’s Slashfilm’s blow-by-blow of the footage:

It begins with a slow build of a scene in which Cap steps into an elevator, followed by Frank Grillo and some other guys. Soon the elevator is full of men, and it’s clear something is about to happen. “Before we do this,” Cap says, “does anyone want to get out?” The fight that breaks out is all hand-to-hand, intense and crunching close combat. Very different from what we saw in the first film or The Avengers. This is Cap fighting in the modern day-to-day, and just taking guys out as quickly as possible.

Cut to Cap taking a meeting with a figure played by Robert Redford, with discussion of the grey zone morality that has taken over politics and security. He’s not OK with it. “This isn’t freedom, this is fear,” he says. Indeed, these scene fragments have a gloomy air of paranoia. Nick Fury warns Cap, “you need to keep your eyes open.”

That unease boils over, and the action begins in earnest. We saw Anthony Mackie’s Falcon unfurling his wings and flying in a couple of great shots. Black Widow takes some guys out with guns, and finally the Helicarrier takes a big hit. The movie looks as big as The Avengers in many ways, and the footage felt very different from the look of the first film. It really does feel like a thriller — not quite ’70s, not quite Bourne. It’s definitely a Marvel movie, but not one we’ve seen before.

But there wasn’t much from the Winter Soldier, until the very end. The kicker shot sees Cap’s shield in the street, as a metal hand reaches down to pick it up. Pan up to the Winter Soldier, visually realized just as he was in the pages of the comics, who straps the shield onto his arm.

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Seemingly everybody who’s seen the footage remarks on how really well put together the elevator scene is, from the tense build-up to the actual fight itself, which Collider says is “cut together in a way that we move with the momentum of the fight rather than just trying to keep up with it.”

This certainly boasts well for the skills of the Russos, who were the big unknown in this movie up until now. If the rest of the movie can play out with the same level of polish as described here, and they stay true to the more espionage action thriller vibe, then this will be a winner.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be beating up people to muzak on April 4, 2014.

[Sources: Slashfilm, Collider]

Last Updated: July 22, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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