Everyone is sweating bullets about Thor: The Dark World’s box office, but really, they ought to be worried about Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Captain America is, as the joke goes, nobody’s favorite. He’s one of the oldest characters in Marvel’s cannon (the oldest? Help me out nerds) and you have to have him around but…well he’s boring for all the reasons Thor and Superman are boring. He’s always going to do the right thing, there’s never any question about his motivations.
The first trailer for The Winter Soldier has come out and it’s solid, if a little generic. The crashing Helicarrier feels like a repeat of Tony Stark’s house collapsing into the Pacific from Iron Man 3’s trailer. But the Cap 2 footage at Comic Con—which is mostly visible here—was swift, nice action with a good look at Anthony Mackie as Agent Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon (aka Hawkeye’s Redundancy), Scarlett Johansson returning as Natasha Romanoff, and a bit of the humor that Cap desperately needs more of (“all the guys in my barbershop quartet are dead”).
The best bit, though, is largely truncated—Cap throwing down in the elevator was some sweet-ass sh*t. I hope that comes up in a later trailer or clip. That was what got me most excited for this movie, but for one thing: the new and improved Bucky Barnes. In the first Captain America, Bucky wasn’t a throwaway character, but he didn’t make much of a mark. That’s not on Sebastian Stan, who is a way better actor than Gossip Girl ever let on (see also: Political Animals), but more that Bucky only existed to die at a pivotal moment. There wasn’t a lot invested in making him interesting. But Bucky 2.0, when he comes back as legendary Russian badass the Winter Soldier? Comic book nerd-girls (and probably a fair number of dudes) have been entertaining Winter Soldier crushes for a long time. This is a character a lot of people have been waiting to see on screen, more so than Cap himself for sure.
We only get to see a little bit of the Winter Soldier in action in this trailer. Undoubtedly, they’re saving the best stuff for closer to the movie’s April 2014 release. But that little bit is GOOD. Bucky catching the shield? Closest thing to a chill this trailer produces. Natasha’s face when she sees him? Awesome. Their backstory is sad and messy and ought to go a long way to fleshing out the Black Widow as a person. Captain America is boring (like Thor is boring) but the Winter Soldier is a f*cking cool character who looks like he’s going to translate really well on film (just like Loki did). If you already have a Sebastian Stan situation, be prepared for it become a full blown problem. Tom Hiddleston is about to get some serious competition in the “everyone’s favorite Marvel bad boy” category.