Today we will be taking a look at the villains of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and their future in the MCU. Hail Hydra! As always, SPOILERS.
While most films that feature more than a couple of villains are usually criticized for overcrowding, Captain America: The Winter Soldier managed to include a number of villains fluently without bogging down the film, and even set up a few as big players in future Cap films, which we will explore today.
Batroc the Leaper
Anyone following the development of Cap 2 was aware that UFC legend Georges St-Pierre would be matching up on screen against Chris Evans, but it was still a great moment to start the film off that genuinely caused some excitement in the theaters. GSP played Georges Batroc, who is more commonly known in the comics as Batroc the Leaper. master of savate.
His appearance and character was thankfully altered for the big screen, moving away from the clownish and usually ridiculous mannerisms and costume of the character for a more realistic threat to Captain America. GSP filled the role perfectly, and made for a nice opening battle that only added to the overall story while showcasing Cap’s unique power set and fighting style. The script could have easily used a random pirate mercenary, but chose instead to slide in a fun nod to Cap’s rogues gallery which we can definitely approve of.
Chances of Batroc reappearing in future films is pretty slim, so it might be best to just enjoy his moment in The Winter Soldier.
Brock Rumlow/ Crossbones
Frank Grillo brought the character of Brock Rumlow to life in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike team working closely with Captain America. One of the first Hydra betrayals in the film comes at the hands of Rumlow, during the action-packed fight scene between Captain America and Rumlow’s Strike squad at the Triskelion.
In the comics, Rumlow becomes the mercenary known as Crossbones, and eventually allies himself with the Red Skull, placing him against Captain America numerous times. The movie made the connection between Rumlow and Steve Rogers far more personal than it started in the comics, which only added to the potential rise of the character we know as Crossbones.
Crossbones will definitely be showing up again in the Cap franchise, as his evolution from Hydra double agent to full blown super-villain was only beginning at the close of The Winter Soldier.
We first saw the evil scientist Arnim Zola in Captain America: The First Avenger, played by Toby Jones. Zola, who worked under the Red Skull as a member of Hydra, was responsible for tapping the energy source known as the Tesseract, which we saw reappear in The Avengers. Zola was captured by Captain America and the Howling Commandoes in World War II, during the mission that cost Bucky Barnes his life… as far as we knew.
Jones reprised his role as Zola (in a way) for the sequel, which saw the revelation that Zola, along with some other fellow scientists brought to the states during operation: paperclip, had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. since its inception. We also discover that Zola has in fact transferred his brain patterns into a series of computer banks, effectively gaining immortality in the digital world, something his comic counterpart also achieved.
There’s always a chance that Zola may show up again in future sequels, and hopefully we will one day get to see the robotic version we know and love from the comics.
Alexander Pierce/ Hydra
When Captain America: The Winter Soldier began assembling its cast, one name sparked a number of fan discussions, Robert Redford. Obviously most were excited to see Redford in a Marvel Studios movie, especially one that was touted as a political-thriller. Conjecture began over the role Alexander Pierce would play in the film, and no one was really too surprised to see Pierce revealed as the ultimate Hydra double agent.
Of course, Hydra runs much deeper than one key member of the organization, and we see a number of MCU characters revealed as Hydra members, including Jasper Sitwell (played by Maximiliano Hernandez), Iron Man 2‘s Senator Sterns (played by Garry Shandling), and of course, a good chunk of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD also dealt with the threat of Hydra in the tie-in episode, which saw a couple serious betrayals there as well.
Will we see Hydra again? Absolutely, especially considering the mid-credits scene that teased a few of the new faces to Avengers: Age of Ultron, including Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, the modern leader of Hydra following the death/disappearance of Red Skull.
Bucky Barnes/ The Winter Soldier
Finally, we make it to the villain of the piece that featured so many villains. Sebastian Stan reprised his role as James “Bucky” Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier. One of Captain America’s first real missions was a rescue for Bucky and his unit, which would eventually become known as the Howling Commandoes. During his captivity, Bucky was experimented on by Zola before being rescued by Captain America, which would have interesting repercussions later on.
We previously saw Bucky perish during the mission to capture Arnim Zola, as he fell to his death from a speeding train. This was a traumatic loss for Steve Rogers, who was still relatively new to his role as Captain America. As we discover during the events of The Winter Soldier, Zola’s experiments on Bucky allowed him to survive the fall, and he was recaptured by Hydra, who attached a bionic arm and brainwashed him to be their elite assassin, although by the end of the film we finally start to see the true Bucky shine through.
The Winter Soldier will have a very large role to play in the developing MCU, so expect to see more of Sebastian Stan, who has a 9-picture deal with Marvel Studios.
We will be talking more about the Winter Soldier and some of these villains on Friday, when we take a look at the as yet untitled Captain America 3. Tomorrow we are going to take a look at what affect the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier will have on the finale of Marvel’s Phase Two, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Images: Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics