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12 May 2014 @ 02:15 pm
Meme (I Fail At Brevity)  
Taken from fannish5:

Five canon moments that turned a casual fandom into a hardcore fandom for you.

I went with Captain America: The Winter Soldier on this one and sort of...expanded what "canon moments" meant. It basically turned into top 5 reasons why the movie was awesome. Warning: it's kind of long.

1. Ship of the Friendship Kind: I award this movie all the points for giving us multiple relationships with nary a romance in sight. I know I sound like some crabby person but most romances I see on screen rarely work for me as characterization tends to take a fall in service of having two people hook up. So I obviously loved how both Sam and Natasha served the purpose of what I think many writers do use romantic relationships for when it comes to the hero of the story and yet did not make either a romantic interest. In a typical film, the hero meets someone (the Romantic Interest) whom he instantly connects with in a meet-cute who then somewhat speedily shares a bunch of personal information, offering empathy and support to the hero's own struggles. This is pretty much what Sam does during his first half of the film. Romantic Interest tries to encourage hero's personal growth through light advice and again, support. This is what Natasha does (amongst several other things, obviously) during the quieter moments with Steve. Ultimately, the hero heals fully or mostly when he and Romantic Interest hook up. What this film has done is give us all the emotional exchanges without the actual romance which is rare and I really, really enjoyed it. I don't know if the lack of actual romance follow through is what made it happen but never did I feel like Sam and Natasha's characters were getting compromised in the service of their relationship with Steve. If anything, everything just got enhanced. Sam and Natasha could have easily been lost in the cracks of this story but their characterizations were some of the best I've seen. Of the two, I'd say Natasha got the better treatment which is sadly also rare for female characters, particularly in a superhero movie. But I adored how smart and capable she was but still also a human with human contradictions. As much as I loved her genuinely caring about those around her, I sort of raised an eyebrow when she was encouraging Steve to make up stories if that would help him connect with someone. That's some really good spy talk and some truly bad being in a real relationship talk. But that's rather fitting of Natasha who doesn't always have to be right. As she put it, "I only act like I know everything."

2. Manpain vs. "a Man In Legitimate Emotional Pain": Hello, Tailor expresses what I was thinking related to this much more eloquently than I ever could in this entry. Having a male character being in emotional pain seems strangely tricky for media to depict. A lot of it can go over the top and be simultaneously superficial just because of the excess of torture a guy gets heaped on him (*cough*SUPERNATURAL*cough*). One thing I liked about this film was its rather subtle background portrayal of showing someone with PTSD. Steve isn't overtly self-destructive and certainly isn't acting out. But he's a man who has lost not only people he cares about but years of his life and hasn't really had much chance (not that we've seen anyway) being able to process it. Everyone he's known is either dead or on their way and he's left with painful memories. Meanwhile, everyone around him is telling him that those memories are to be celebrated as he's a hero (there's an entire exhibit dedicated to him and his missions) but he's almost completely disconnected from the meaningfulness of being Captain America.

3. "Even when I had nothing I had Bucky" : Soon after the reveal of who the Winter Soldier is, Steve says this. Initially the line made me think that yes, the two of them grew up with very little and eventually Bucky became Steve's only family after Steve's parents died so the line made sense. However, during my second viewing, I realized that it can also refer to Steve's memories of Bucky since waking up in 2013. Bucky died but he held a very particular place in Steve's mind where they were everything to each other and if he could trust one thing it was that Bucky would always have his back no matter what. He'd always have HIM. Now after the Winter Soldier even that's been taken away. So what I'm saying is that the second viewing added just another layer of sadness to this Cake of Tragedy with Tears Frosting. Anyway, this line and Steve's one scene with Sam at the VA where he says he doesn't know what he'd do if he actually left active duty and couldn't come up with anything that makes him happy are really all the set ups you need to make his more or less passive suicide attempt toward the end of the film make sense and hit you in the solar plexus. Which brings me to...

4. Captain America : The Winter Soldier: The title of this film for me was very clever and rather meaningful. When you first read it (and you have zero clue about the comics), you automatically set it up as "Captain America vs. the Winter Soldier." But you watch the movie and it's more "Captain America As Well As The Winter Soldier." They're not each other's enemies. If the movie wanted to go the enemies route, it should have been titled "S.H.I.E.L.D vs. HYDRA." Steve and Bucky are more just the individual pawns in a war between two organizations that are basically funhouse mirror versions of each other. To that extent, Steve and Bucky are now funhouse mirror versions of each other only with less the "fun" and more the "awful hellscape of pain." I've already written a bit about the bank vault scene so I won't get into it again (AUGH SOMEONE HELP HIM!!) but will only add that it was nice that the film exercised the "less is more" principle by having very few scenes with the Winter Soldier not in his gear but making each of those moments really count. Sadly for Bucky, unlike Steve he's not even at a place where he can even have PTSD. That's actually where he needs to get to first before all the rest. I've read a lot of different fics that have handled his rehabilitation in various ways. The best ones have been the stories that have started on the premise that Bucky will never be himself again even if he were to regain some of his memories or even all. That would make sense since Steve is never going to go back to being just that skinny, idealistic kid from Brooklyn and he has all his faculties. Being in war and suffering losses changed him as it should. I'm pretty sure being brainwashed and frozen/defrosted over several decades to be a killing machine is going to leave a mark.

5. The Action Sequences: Just to lighten up the mood a little, I flat out loved all the action sequences in this film. Never have I had so many moments in the theater where I wanted to slow clap at just the amazing sheer spectacle of some of the stunts, in particular that of the Winter Soldier's. I thought it was kind of amazing when he broke his fall/stopped his slide across the freeway using his metal arm. However, that was nothing compared to when he flat out leaped onto the car's hood and used his arm to rip the steering wheel straight out so Sam couldn't drive anymore. But in the end I think his most "YIKES" move was literally kicking a man so that his body flew into the engine of a plane that promptly blew up into a fiery blaze upon contact. Michael Bay is taking notes somewhere.

Also, for an excellently funny and accurate recap of the movie, check out Sam H's write up on Hey Don't Judge Me. She's also the one who used to do those marvelous Hannibal recaps.
aelfgyfu_mead: Natashaaelfgyfu_mead on May 12th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
I loved Sam H's writeup—I just relived the whole movie again (as I did with Hello, Tailor).

YES TO EVERYTHING. Especially #4 and "Cake of Tragedy with Tears Frosting."
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on May 12th, 2014 11:13 pm (UTC)
I loved Sam H's writeup—I just relived the whole movie again (as I did with Hello, Tailor).

One of the best parts was her giving a short list of all the things Steve Rogers would be good at. Mainly because I immediately pictured Chris Evans doing every single one. I want to see Captain American hugging doomed cows.
aelfgyfu_mead: Falconaelfgyfu_mead on May 12th, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
I also loved her run-down of things Steve did on the Internet. I made BH come to see that, and he laughed loudly at Fury's "YES I CAN."
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on May 12th, 2014 11:55 pm (UTC)
I'm sure since Captain America is aces at tactical he can operate an iphone. But I still amuse myself at the thought that he's constantly confused by what all the buttons do and what Siri is.