How Captain America: The Winter Soldier shapes the MCU

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Article contains spoilers of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

After seeing the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier unfold any fan can see the fractures that are going to effect certain aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cap2 presents a full dismantling of the SHIELD organization in the end. Where Agents of SHIELD goes next is probably the biggest question. While Hydra has been revealed as a cancer growing inside the SHIELD organization for a number decades what does all this mean for Coulson and his crew? At this point can we even have a SHIELD television show?

I am not a massive fan of the Agents of SHIELD and after watching Cap2 I thought to myself, “wow this is a perfect way to cancel that show and move on to the Netflix programs.” However, to be fair to Agents of SHIELD I went back and watched the last few episodes and was much more impressed with what is taking place. In the past, the show suffered from refusing to tightly connect itself to the MCU, instead it would barely mention MCU characters by name. Now, we get a full connected and realized set of characters. While I think it has a ways to go, it certainly kept my interest more than it did in the past. So how do you have a SHIELD show when there is no SHIELD? My theory is that the spy organization will be ground down into what it was in the beginning of the first Iron Man. A seemingly small government apparatus that worked to shape things in the background. I would love to see SHIELD head back to its covert roots and play more to events like the opening sequence on the ship in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

So at the end of Cap2 we find Captain America, Falcon, Black Widow, and Nick Fury all sort of going their separate ways after they basically put themselves out of a job. So what do we do with these folks that are so tied to the military wing of the MCU? Two words: Secret Avengers. With Avengers: Age of Ultron coming up soon we are getting more super powered characters joining the team, which makes less and less sense for non-powered ones to be there. Why do we need Black Widow and her two handguns when we are getting a telekinetic woman, her super fast running brother, and likely a fully sentient robot? The truth is you don’t. So how do we do this and make it logical. Split off some of these people and let them rebuild SHIELD in a new light.

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So Black Widow is easily the most “gray area” hero outside of Nick Fury in the MCU. She is incredibly loyal to Fury and is willing to do things that are out of bounds. She should lead the Secret Avenger team. Hawkeye is also a logical choice here and would be a great addition to a team whose goals are more militarily minded. His use of arrows makes him a silent but deadly asset. War Machine being a part of this team also makes an incredible large amount of sense. Allowing him to be established as his own man, and not just Tony Stark’s sidekick. Rhodey is another character bound by his duty as a soldier first. Last but certainly not least, is the best addition to this group. He is fast, strong, incredibly capable and he can be relentless in a fight; The Winter Soldier. Bucky Barnes comes to realize who he is by the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Its clear to any comic fan where things are potentially going. Barnes will get reformed and work for SHIELD in some capacity. Since Cap isn’t willing to work in the shadows anymore, The Winter Soldier is the perfect choice. He has the strength close to Steve Rogers and tons of experience in being a covert agent. Just this time around he is working for the good guys. So there you have it, another bad ass team that keeps SHIELD relevant, but small and manageable. They would take orders directly from Nick Fury and possibly Maria Hill. We can start to see proper agents make their way into both Agents of SHIELD and the MCU by rebuilding the spy organization.

There is such great potential in a Secret Avengers wing of SHIELD. This would keep the idea of 70s spy thriller action films alive in the MCU. Seeing The Winter Soldier, Black Widow, War Machine (Iron Patriot should be repainted back to the classic for covert colors), and Hawkeye in some more grounded action against Hydra and possibly AIM would be smart. The over the top heroics of space aliens and such should stay in the regular Avengers territory.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Do you see the MCU shaping up differently? If so, leave your ideas below as well.

What Do You Mean I Cant Be Superman?

lady_avengers__assemble__by_kathrynlillie-d52idse The year was 1991 and it was time for Halloween. I was all dressed up in my Superman costume...an anxious happy budding little fangirl at the age of 5 without a care in the world. I was walking with my mom in my elementary school when a teacher approached me and asked who I was supposed to be. I proudly held my head up high and stuck out my little chest as I declared, "I'm SUPERMAN!" The woman frowned at me and said, "Oh honey, you're a girl. You can't be Superman. You're Supergirl!" I instantly got visibly upset and confused. Enter the heroine of our little story: MY MOM. "Excuse me, but don't you ever tell my daughter who she can or can't be. She is not limited by her gender. If she says she's Superman then that's who the hell she is. My daughter can be whomever and whatever she chooses to be." (My mom is awesome.) Once again, my head was held up high and my little chest poked out. I'm Superman bitch...

I tell this amazing story because in the year 2013 I find it amazing that even now we are still trying to put a limit on young girls and women by telling them, "No. You can't do this because you're a GIRL!" We tell them "You must like pink because it's for girls, you can't play with action figures, you don't like sports and you can't possibly read comic books or like anything geek related." It amazes me that when I mention to some men that I enjoy a lot, if not almost everything that they like, they look at me like I'm an anomaly or with skepticism. IT'S A LIE! GIRLS DON'T LIKE THESE KINDS OF THINGS!!!!!!! Well you'd be surprised buddy. I know a very large number of (single, beautiful) women who are bigger geeks and sports fans than the men that I know.

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As mentioned by this week's TheNerdpocalypse Podcast, "No Penis, No Batman" (great episode by the way), Paul Dini claims that executives don't want girls watching their shows because apparently girls don't buy the toys. I just don't get the stupidity and laziness of this statement. Instead of trying to figure out what they can do to get more girls buying the toys or possibly making a product geared towards 51% of the population, executives choose to just shrug their shoulders and say, "Welp we're just going to IGNORE this demographic because we assume that they won't buy our product since they obviously can't like it due to their lack of a penis." Seriously? Do you not realize that the people who shop the most are of the female persuasion? Isn't that one of the stereotypes that comes with being a woman? That we like to shop?

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Shes a smart cookie...

This way of thinking is why we so rarely see a strong female lead in a superhero and/or action movie. These executives think that a movie with a strong female lead will not do well and no one will go see it. I mean they're correct right? Nobody wants to see a woman with a good head on her shoulders, quick witted and kicking ass right? Who wants to see that!? Oh look Hunger Games Catching Fire made over $700 MILLION Worldwide so far. And oh look! The main character is a strong, quick witted, ass kicking young lady! Oh and would ya look at that, according to recent reports there's an increase in young women doing archery because they were inspired by who? Katniss Everdeen the female lead of the Hunger Games! *gasp* Yeah, you executives need to get your head out of your asses and realize that the female gender makes up a large portion of your consumers, we kick ass and we want to see other women who kick ass on the big screen! Give Wonder Woman (the Queen of Badassness) a fair chance by casting a woman that pretty much embodies what it means to be an Amazon, not just another pretty face. Give many of the other popular and well liked female superheroes a shot by putting them into movies or giving them shows. Most importantly, give the little girls of the world a chance by giving them someone to look up to and aspire to be. Stop telling them that they can't do things because they lack a penis. You're missing out on a lot of money by ignoring them and plus its plain ole rude. I'm just saying...

Nerd Culture Critique: Nostalgia. Minds Blown!

Jackie Chan Minds Blown Seeing a movie for the first time can be a magical experience. We've all had a moment as a kid that seems like it can never be duplicated. To a large degree it can't be. Anticipation, information, and the sheer newness of an experience can render it unmatched by similar moments in the future. This isn't particularly debatable and if we aren't aware of this, we should be. The quote "cocaine is a hell of a drug" can be easily replaced with "nostalgia is a hell of a drug." We cling to nostalgia for a number of reasons, but the safety is the utmost one. Jumping out there with no life vest is scary. Why do I need to like new things, I have these old things that work just fine! Well sometimes the old stuff is better, and sometimes New Coke is better (in reality New Coke sucks). However, the larger point remains nostalgia can sometimes be a hindrance in how we view new properties, and more importantly, how we see our classics.

In the past few weeks I've seen many comments about the latest Spider-Man movie series, which I happen to enjoy and the budding Man of Steel series that Warner Bros is nursing into something great (so they hope). Statements like "the originals were way better" and "they can NEVER top what the previous ones did" are common battle cries in the war of superiority. Well some would say that's just people talking but I think it really pushes to the heart of the matter. If you make declarations like this early on than aren't you setting yourself up to already like the new property less? If a movie can never be topped in your opinion, can you really even bother giving another a fair chance? We touched on the pre-mature hate concept in a previous Nerd Culture Critique, here. However, this article focuses on one of the root causes, nostalgia.

Merriam-Webster defines nostalgia as 'pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.' Sounds like every moronic debate I've seen about new movies series versus the old ones. Let's take the new Spider-Man movie series as the pitch perfect example. Some love it and some hate it. For obvious reasons many do comparisons between the Marc Webb and Sam Raimi versions. Many love the Raimi films that began in 2002 and bemoan the new Marc Webb versions as 'soulless','too gritty', and/or 'emo' comparative to the originals. My issue here is not about liking one version over the other. Its rather the rose colored glasses by which you see the originals. If you can't see them for what they truly are is there no wonder you see the new movies negatively?

Take Sam Raimi's movies for a spin without those slick rose colored specs on. The 2002 Spider-Man series is a testament to the bizarre view of comic book movies at the time. The sub-genre was just really getting into gear and the people making them happen still thought only kids read comics. Even the film creators lived in the bubble of nostalgia while cranking these movies out. For a movie in 2002, Spider-Man feels very much like 1960s comic book Spider-Man. Practically brimming with Leave it to Beaver style characters who a would rather say darn and goosh! For the average movie goer who was a current comic reader at the time this wasn't the Spider-Man they knew. This was masked by the incredible special effects, and the modernization of some key character designs (The Green Goblin specifically). So it seemed so up to date, but yet it was vastly outdated. I, like many reading this article, was blown away by what I saw. My 22 year old brain was screaming in delight, and I thought it couldn't get any better than that. Of course I was wrong. Spider-Man 2 came out and it was better! Once again, my stupid lizard brain thought 'can't get any better than that' and then Spider-Man 3 came out...and my brain was right. I still look back at that series with a great deal of fondness. It has its ups and downs, but in the end it was a good ride. Like all good rides, things have to end and you have to try something else.

So the Raimi trilogy ends prematurely, and Sony gets back on the horse by rebooting the franchise. Many fans were angry, upset, and bewildered by the possibility that their Spider-Man was no more. Flash forward to the release of The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew "he's too emo" Garfield. I put that moniker there not because I believe it but because it was such a idiotic commonality in the arguments from upset fanboys. Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker was too emotional and just seemed out of place? I'll just leave this here:

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While I didn't think Tobey McGuire's performance was awful, he was hardly the funny/smartass Peter Parker we were use to, but those glasses are magical. Lets take a look at the trailer for Spider-Man 2. This just wreaks of cheesiness. I loved it, but come on. The character interactions and the set pieces are quite pathetic comparative to what we see today. The acting is incredibly wooden and stunted at best.

This isn't to say that the new Spider-Man movies are pure gold, as they have their issues. However, can you really look back on these movies and say it can never be any better than this? Really? These stories don't deserves another interpretation?

Age plays a pretty big part of the drug called nostalgia. When I asked someone recently what age they were when they saw the 2002 Spider-Man he replied that he was 7! I of course responded that the movie must have blown his mind, and he agreed. How could it not. A nerdy kid who loves comics sees Spider-Man come alive in front of his very eyes...seems obvious as to what happens next. So flash forward 10 years and the same person is less impressed with what they see now. The new one must be crap, right? Maybe, or maybe you aren't as enamored as you were upon the first viewing. I hear a lot of people say that The Amazing Spider-Man movie didn't WOW them or show them anything new and exciting compared to the 2002 Spider-Man movie. Well there's that drug again...nostalgia. Can you possibly recapture that shock and awe that you had 10 years ago. Likely your taste were simpler and less critical than they are now. Typical fanboys seeing these movies nowadays are about 25 years old. So when I hear them say the 2002 version is better I laugh. You were 15 then...everything was better. You didn't have bills, real responsibility, or the an actual life. This doesn't mean that you might not genuinely like the 2002 version more. It just means your perspective has changed considerably.

So when you look at these movies be aware of the nostalgia that might be affecting you view of these classics. Lastly, please don't pretend that Marc Webb should be chastised for changing Spider-Man's origin a bit and high five Sam Raimi for making Sandman kill Uncle Ben. That's argument is just completely moronic; be consistent. Both series have their issues, and more will pop up in Webb's as time goes on. Raimi's series and other series in the bubble of nostalgia should be looked at with a critical eye. The next time someone says: There will NEVER be able to top this. Chances are they are completely wrong. Take the glasses off.

Marvel Characters that should get a shot at Television

Marvel-logo With the recent news of Marvel Studios shopping around a 60 episode block to be shared between a reported 4 shows, the internet is abuzz with possiblities. Fans have been speculating what should be Marvel's next step, and many names are being thrown out there for consideration. Marvel's first television attempt, Agents of SHIELD, has enjoyed a level of success but fans seem to be craving more established heroes and villains on the small screen. Here are a few options that I thought could be cool to see on a weekly basis or on a video on demand service such as Netflix, which is rumored to be a consideration.

Daredevil

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We have talked about him many times as the most logical choice when it comes to bringing out some moderately big comic names to television. Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer by day, and an ass whooping blind vigilante by night. His show could be a cross between a crime procedural like Law and Order and Showtime's favorite murdering vigilante, Dexter. The similarities between Dexter and Daredevil are very clear. The main difference being that Daredevil is not out for murder, just justice. Due to his costume, special abilities, and distinct life outside of being a costume hero this show works perfectly as a serious adult oriented show that deals more with the criminal underbelly of the Marvel Universe. Also, it could pave the way for comedic cameos by She-Hulk who is also a lawyer.

Runaways

The Runaways

The Runaways were discussed as a Marvel film years ago, but once the Avengers initiative got going they got pushed to the side. Currently, Marvel has no teen or children heroes in their group. This is where you solve that problem. A group of teens who find out that their parents are actually super villains team up and discover they also have abilities. Teens versus parents, growing up issues, interconnected with their admiration for the other established universe heroes like The Avengers and you've got a fun series. The comedic elements of the comic series are well written and there is no reason for that not to continue on television. Something like Runaways hits the target demographic and allows for more Marvel universe insanity. For example, one girl in the group has a pet dinosaur, who becomes sort of like a mascot for the group. They ride around in the 'Leapfrog,' which is a frog like car/plane and fight smaller named villains. This is a perfect out of left field choice.

 Heroes for Hire

Heroes for Hire

Powerman and Iron Fist are two heroes who can really open up the Marvel universe. For their associations alone, they possess the unique ability to give the universe a little more color. Think of a Heroes for Hire show like a super power buddy cop show. They roll with a crew of hilarious badasses: Misty Knight, Shang-Chi, Moon Knight, Humbug, and many others. They probably have the most rotating roster of any superhero team next to The Avengers. I feel like the show could strike a perfect action/comedy balance like the Lethal Weapon movies did.

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Hawkeye

Let me just say this is NOT going to happen. However, it would great to see Matt Fraction's current run of Hawkeye on television. The character is explored when he isn't off fighting alien invasions, but rather just hanging in his neighborhood. From dealing with small scale thugs to people thinking his name is "Hawkguy" the potential series is there. Having the A-list hero running around on the rough streets as a regular guy would be absolutely hilarious. The way the comic is written even feels like serialized television featuring an Avenger on his weekends off.

The Punisher

The Punisher

Frank Castle is one of the easiest to understand yet the most frequently screwed up Marvel properties. He has no powers and he just uses guns. He is angry that his family was killed and now the criminal world must pay; simple enough. He is a brutal and violent sociopath who cares nothing for the rules of law. Where Daredevil cares to bring people to justice via the law, The Punisher wishes the same but through the barrel of a gun. This would be a show that was pushed to adult audiences only. If the last Punisher movie was any indication the violence will need to be extreme for fans to approve. This ain't your regular broadcast tv material. So Netflix or some video on demand service would be likely.

Big Hero 6

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This is going to be the least obvious one to most reading this. The odd ragtag team of Japanese heroes are in fact apart of the Marvel Universe. The story follows the smartest boy in Japan named Hiro and his teammates Go-Go Tamago, Wasabi No-Ginger, Honey Lemon, Baymax, and Fred as they fight the forces of villainy in Japan and abroad. Its a weird mesh of Japanese Anime and Marvel storytelling. The popular run in 2008 was even written by Chris Claremont. The adolescent humor coupled with the wackiness of anime makes for an interesting read. The show could expand the current fan base into anime nerds as well. Its a long shot, but you never know.

What are some other properties that you would like to see tried out on the small screen? Let us know in the comments.