Marvel Studios via Everett Collection
When Captain America returns to the big screen in The Winter Soldier, he won’t be facing off against any power-hungry aliens, super serum-enhanced evil geniuses, or Asgardian gods who weren’t hugged enough as children in order to protect the world. Instead, his primary adversary will be human: Alexander Goodwin Pierce, a senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who might know more about the sudden appearance of the Winter Soldier and HYDRA’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. than he lets on. Played by Robert Redford, Pierce won’t have any special powers or superhuman abilities in order to help him defeat Cap, but, from what we’ve seen of the film so far, he might not need any sci-fi or magic in order to ensure that the stakes of the film are still high.
Most of the villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have had some kind of special power or ability, whether physical or mental. It’s those powers that have made them such a major threat to global security and the innocent lives of the people of Earth. Of course, there’s also the fact that without those super powers, the heroes of the films wouldn’t have much of a challenge in defeating the villains, and without a challenge, there would be no film.
However, the lack of powers doesn’t make things any easier in The Winter Soldier, as Pierce’s humanity makes him the perfect villain for Cap. Since his inception, Captain America’s defining characteristic has been his unwavering devotion to his country and the people who inhabit it. He lives by the idea that justice is a black and white concept, in which people can easily be categorized into “good guys” and “bad guys.” While those traits may have made him the perfect soldier during the tumult of the 1940s, nowadays people no longer feel inspired by that kind patriotism and lack of suspicion.
One of Cap’s main story arcs in the cinematic universe has been his adjustment to modern day American after spending seventy years frozen in a block of ice. In fact, much of The Winter Soldier deals with the culture shock that Cap experiences living in today’s world, where the government is treated with skepticism and justice is seen in shades of grey. The film aims to show him reevaluating all of the ideals that he has used to define himself, and to see which ones no longer apply today, and the best way to force Cap to adjust his perspective is for the primary threat to American lives come from someone he believed to be on his side.
In Cap’s eyes, the government exists to care for its people. Modern society, however, doesn’t hold such a view; we’re more likely to be wary of our elected leaders, and we tend to believe that they’re more interested in protecting themselves than the country. In order for Cap to understand the modern world, he needs to let go of a lot of the ideals that the American people no longer hold, and he needs to understand that sometimes, the people he trusts most are the people he should be wary of. What makes Pierce such a great villain for Cap is the fact that his position as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent forces Cap to reevaluate everything he believed to be true in order to take him down. If Pierce had powers he could use to put the American public in danger, it would it much easier for Cap to defeat him. But keeping him human makes him the same as the people that Cap strives to protect, which puts him in the uncomfortable position of having to take a new look at the way he has always seen the world.
Marvel Studios via Everett Collection
In addition, The Winter Soldier is, at its heart, a political thriller as much as it’s a superhero film. The suspense comes from watching the characters attempt to outwit and outmaneuver each other. Much of that interplay would be lost if Pierce were simply able to use his powers to take on Cap, and it would completely undermine Cap’s disillusionment with the political and military system. Pierce’s power in The Winter Soldier comes from being one step ahead of the Avengers, and having knowledge that they don’t. He doesn’t need to fight them in order to scare them, not when he can simply unravel the system that they’ve place their faith in.
And yet, even though Pierce is the perfect bad guy for this particular film, it’s hard to picture him taking a place of pride in Marvel’s gallery of villains, especially with characters like Loki and Red Skull already having made such a big impression on audiences. Without powers or plans for world domination, he doesn’t seem to fit easily into the criteria of a memorable super villain, and it’s likely that he will even be outshone by the Winter Soldier onscreen. However, the lack of powers is precisely what sets Pierce apart from his fellow evildoers. His character is grounded in reality, and doesn’t belong solely to the comic book universe. Pierce would be just as intimidating on a network political drama as he is facing off with Captain America, and even though he might not be as flashy or attention-grabbing as some of his contemporaries, it might be just what he needs in order to become a memorable Marvel villain.
After all, it’s not like a villain without superpowers can’t be intimidating. Just take a look at Batman’s gallery of rouges; there are many versions of the story where they don’t have superhuman abilities, just an overwhelming desire to watch the world burn and the kind of weaponry and underground connections to make that dream a reality. When villains like Joker are placed in a grittier, more realistic universe, they are often more terrifying than when their world is based in fantasy. There’s always the underlying fear that his reign of terror could happen in the real world at any given moment.
Captain America’s universe has always been more firmly grounded in reality than some of the other Marvel heroes, and so it would make sense, then, that his villains would also be realistic. Pierce is scary precisely because his character plays on our suspicion of the government, and our worries that the people who are meant to be looking after us are really only looking after themselves. The character plays off of real fears that we as a society have, which makes his plot just as scary and suspenseful as any other that the heroes have faced. In fact, he’s probably scarier than Loki, even without the ability to shape shift and manipulate, simply because audiences are probably less inclined to cuddle the evil out of him, the way we often are with the Trickster God. Grounding Pierce in reality makes up for his lack of superpowers, and results in a villain that is not only scary, but is also perfectly tailored to the story that The Winter Soldier is trying to tell.
Besides, Pierce doesn’t need any powers to fight Cap because he has a super soldier of his own to do his bidding and take out his enemies. If there’s one lesson that Frank Underwood has taught us, it’s that truly evil politicians never get their hands dirty.
Director Christopher Nolan was so secretive about the plot to his upcoming blockbuster Interstellar that he asked composer Hans Zimmer to write the score without knowing anything about the film. The Inception moviemaker is fiercely protective of his stories and usually bans cast and crew from revealing any plot spoilers.
He is keeping details of his upcoming space drama, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, under wraps and he wouldn't even let his regular collaborator Zimmer see a copy of the script.
Zimmer tells British GQ, "All I will say is this: before I began, last January, Chris said to me, 'Hans, I will write one page of text for you. And you will give me just one day. Just write whatever comes to you from this one single page.'
"It (the page) wasn't about the film... in a peculiar way, what Chris wrote down that day, and what he wanted from me, had more to do with my story than the plot of the movie. He knows how to get under my skin. That's the game we play."
The celebrated movie composer has previously worked with Nolan on his Dark Knight trilogy and Inception.
Interstellar is due for release in November (14).
Bosses at online dating site Match.com poked fun at Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's recent split on April Fools Day (01Apr14) by advertising a new album inspired by their break-up announcement. Visitors to the site's blog UpToDate found a post advertising a "limited edition digital vinyl" titled "Consciously Coupling" - a reference to Paltrow's "Conscious Uncoupling" separation announcement from last week (ends28Mar14).
The album artwork was a parody of the cover of Martin's 2011 Coldplay album Mylo Xyloto, and it featured fake tracks like Cruisin' For Kale and Magic Matcha.
The hoax quickly became clear to those fooled when they attempted to download the album and were greeted by the message "Happy April Fools' Day!"
Britney Spears has made a superfan's dream complete by tweeting about his choreographed performance of her hit Work B**ch after spotting the wedding day footage online. Bradley Bredeweg wanted to give his best friend Stephanie Huntington a memory to remember on her big day and he recruited dancer Chris Downey and members of the wedding party to create a routine based on their favourite Britney tune.
The amazing moment was filmed professionally and posted on YouTube shortly after February's (14) nuptials, and now Spears has seen it.
She took to Twitter on Monday (31Mar14) and wrote, "Ummm... this wedding toast is INCREDIBLE!!! I want IN on the 10 year anniversary performance!!!"
Britney also shared a link to the video.
A message introducing the YouTube footage reads: "The two of them (Bredeweg and Huntington) have been secretly obsessed with Britney Spears their entire friendship, so of course Britney had to be a part of the ceremony. The last time Bradley performed or danced was when he was a teenager... well, it was time he brought out his dancing shoes and give her a performance she will never forget."
Chris Brown's on/off girlfriend Karrueche Tran struggled to deal with the heavy criticism she faced while dating the embattled R&B singer, insisting she found it "very hard" to brush off the backlash. The Kiss Kiss hitmaker embarked on a romance with model Tran in 2011, two years after he was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of the Grammy Awards in 2009.
Brown and Tran split in 2012 as he attempted to rekindle his relationship with the Umbrella beauty, but he reconciled with the model in 2013 until they parted ways again earlier this year (14).
The model admits the intense media scrutiny of their on-again, off-again romance really got to her at times, but she refused to let public opinion sway her feelings about her involvement in such a high-profile relationship.
She tells Annex magazine, "I was going through a situation that we all are very familiar of (sic). I had a lot of criticism and comments... At the time, it was honestly very hard to deal with because people were saying really cruel things.
"Having to go through a rough time and then on top of that, having to deal with a ton of BS (bulls**t) was a bit overwhelming.
"Never allow people's opinions to justify your life. Live your life because, at the end of the day, you've only got you."
Iron Man star Robert Downey, Jr. is planning to celebrate his upcoming birthday by hosting a special screening of the new Captain America movie for 50 lucky children. The Hollywood actor will turn 49 on 4 April (14), but instead of throwing a lavish bash for himself, he has decided to treat a group of young superhero fans to a big party instead.
He tells Variety.com, "I'm having 50 kids over and I'm screening Captain America 2 on my birthday, which happens to be the day it opens (in America)."
Downey, Jr. admits he has yet to see his The Avengers co-stars Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but he is looking forward to having his own private premiere - thanks to being a part of the Marvel comics family.
He says, "That's one of the perks of being on the inside track at Marvel."
Grunge rockers Soundgarden performed their iconic album Superunknown in full for the first time at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas without previously rehearsing the feat. The band played the 1994 record through in full for the first time ever during an iTunes show at the Austin music/film event on Thursday night (13Mar14), and just hours before the concert, frontman Chris Cornell admitted they had not managed to rehearse it in sequence.
He told the Associated Press, "To be honest, we haven't actually really done it yet. We're rehearsing it, but rehearsals are different. I think we did try to play it in order the other day, but then we'd stop on a song and sort of go through the different parts of it, and play it over again. So actually just going through the whole set without stopping, we've never done."
The gig also marked the band's first ever performance at SXSW.
Former Miss World Rosanna Davison is marking the upcoming St Patrick's Day (17Mar14) celebrations by urging meat-eaters to adopt a vegan diet in a daring new photoshoot. The model, daughter of singer Chris De Burgh, strips down to her underwear in the campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with her modesty preserved by a layer of green bodypaint.
She sports a painted-on leotard with matching hat and stockings and is shown carrying a card reading, "Kiss me. I'm vegan!" while blowing a kiss to the camera.
Davison gave up eating animal products last year (13) and she is now urging others to follow her lead, saying, "Vegan meals are packed with nutrients and free of unhealthy animal fat and cholesterol, so they're a great way to keep your weight down and your energy up. The best thing to do for your health and for animals is to go vegan - for St Patrick's Day and every day!"
In conjunction with the campaign, PETA's U.S. website contains vegan alternatives to traditional Irish dishes such as colcannon.
May 6, 2016 is shaping up to become a day to remember for superhero movie fans amid reports Marvel Studios bosses will be releasing the third Captain America movie on the same day as the Man Of Steel sequel. Chris Evans' blast from the past Captain America will battle with Henry Cavill's Superman and Ben Affleck's Batman at the U.S. box office over the same blockbuster weekend, if the rumours are true.
Scarlett Johansson is always impressed by her The Avengers co-star Chris Evans' physique, because the actor appears to be able to drop and gain weight on a whim. The actress admits she struggled to stay in tip-top shape for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which she reunited with Evans, but he makes it look easy.
She reveals, "The last time I saw him was for some reshoots that we did... and he was much smaller. I don't know how he bulks up like that! I can't imagine that he ever is not eating chicken. Like, 'How much chicken do you eat a day? Be honest. Do you just wake up with meat kabobs (kebabs)?' I don't know how he does it. He puts so much bulk on."
Of her own efforts to control her diet and work-out regime during filming, Johansson adds, "It's boring 5am work-outs and salad and chicken and nothing else, pretty much.
"It's that old tried and true 'work-out-like-a-dude-and-eat-like-a-rabbit' (plan)."