tenlittlebullets: (steve rogers)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/97195887606/dendritic-trees-derevko-last-snowfall)

[Another gifset of Steve's "For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to do what was right" monologue]

last-snowfall:
Steve name me one time between Basic and going into the ice that you actually followed orders. ONE. TIME.

derevko:
[image: FOOTAGE NOT FOUND]

dendritic-trees:
I have feelings about this. I’m supposed to be doing work, but its hard, so I’m gonna explain them instead. Right from the start of CA:TFA we see that Steve really specifically wants to be a soldier. He knows there’s all sorts of various ways to support the war effort, but not, specifically he wants to fight on the front lines.

But Steve is never a particularly good soldier, in fact, he very specifically isn’t a good soldier. Steve is a good man not a perfect soldier. Steve NEVER has any success when he tries his hand at being a regular soldier, or even a supersoldier. In CA:TFA he ends up working with the Howling Commandos, almost entirely outside of the regular military structure and that’s when he manages all the serious heroics and really lives up to his potential. In Avengers at the beginning he tries to be a good soldier for a while and tries to follow Fury’s orders, but for the first half of the movie Steve is lost and miserable and visibly hiding behind his USO Tour “Captain America” persona. But its only when he goes off on his own, breaks into store rooms and steals Fury’s proto-type tesseract weapons, that he really gets anything done (before that he gets batted about by Loki and sort of wanders about at loose ends), and he doesn’t really get back into a leadership role and really become actual Captain America again, until he steals a quinn jet with Natasha and Clint.

And despite that, in CA:WS he’s back at Shield, trying to be ‘the greatest soldier in history’ and ‘follow orders’, and… not doing that at all…

So where does Steve’s abortive fascination with being a good soldier come from?

Partly I think its an expression of his very obvious depression. I’ve seen about umpteen criticisms of Steve’s ‘we have our orders’ line to Tony in Avengers but I think that the fact its out of character is the point. Steve is miserable, and lost, he doesn’t know what makes him happy, he doesn’t know what he wants to do with himself so he follows Nick Fury’s orders, because he has given up.

But also I think that even though Steve doesn’t really want to be the sort of person who follows orders, he to a certain extent wants to want it, sort of as the equivalent of a very bright girl who plays dumb in class because she’s been told no one likes smart girls. The good soldier is very much the model of ideal masculine success that Steve would have grown up with but wouldn’t have ever been able to achieve

Which is ironic given that the ideal male icon most of the cast of the Avengers probably grew up with… is Captain America.

I think it’s more that for all Steve is willing to be a disobedient shit when his orders conflict with his conscience, he does best when he’s got structure. What he really, deeply needs, his basic prerequisite for not feeling like he’s at a loose end, is to serve as part of something that’s bigger than himself. Something with a purpose. He’s acutely aware that large institutions are fallible and he’s first in line to challenge their flaws when need be, but he’s still first and foremost a team player.

The way I read him in Avengers is–okay, he’s isolated, disoriented, alone and adrift in the modern world and not sure he has anything to contribute to it, and he’s handed A Chance. He’s skeptical of it and whether he can be relevant to it at all, but still. A task, a team, a meaningful purpose–saving the world, even! Except the team is a motley assemblage (heh) of disorganized assholes who don’t want to play ball. All his lines about “we have orders” come off as increasingly desperate pleas of “GUYS, CAN WE PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC” "COME ON, GUYS, WE’VE GOT SHIT TO DO" “TONY, ARE YOU ACTIVELY TRYING TO TANK OUR CHANCES OF EVER WORKING AS A TEAM OR WHAT.” And he is so zeroed in on the task at hand that he doesn’t stop to think critically about the big picture or the agenda of the people who’ve assigned the task until Bruce and Tony have pointed out that something smells funny. Which I don’t think is general blind trust in authority, more like a combination of lack of frame of reference (which crops up again in the form of his doubts in CA:TWS–is it SHIELD, or is it his difficulty adjusting to the modern world? SPOILERS: IT’S SHIELD) and a priority list where questioning authority has taken the backseat to “a task! a team! a chance to do something useful and beat the crap out of tyrannical assholes!” Steve is most likely to defy authority when authority is pointlessly preventing him from making himself useful.

Basically, yes, Whedon’s characterization work in Avengers is wobbly and he’s way too eager to pass off “principled, self-sacrificing team player (military flavor)” as “good obedient soldier” because it’s a convenient character shorthand and source of friction in an ensemble piece with lots of balls in the air. But it’s mostly a problem of emphasis, not wildly OOC behavior, and by and large I think his characterization in Avengers is internally consistent with both TFA and TWS. (Leaving aside the separate problem of Whedon sacrificing characterization for snappy one-liners, because… well, it’s a problem.)
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/94029926961/avengersageofultron-the-other-night-my-six-year)

One thing that jumped out at me [about a great video edit of the entire final Steve/Winter Soldier fight without the other scenes intercut]: this contains several of the same elements as the Lemurian Star fight sequence, assembled in reverse order. Taking off his helmet, putting down his shield, even the long fall into the water. Except the first time it’s recklessness, Steve being careless with his own life because he lacks any sense of purpose, and the second time it’s sacrifice, Steve being willing to lay down his own life for the thing that finally gives him purpose.
tenlittlebullets: (steve rogers)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/92413964816/xromanogers-again-marvel-just-decided-to-blow)

[Gifset juxtaposing two scenes from Cap 2:
Steve, to Peggy: For as long as I remember, I just wanted to do what was right. I guess I'm not quite sure what that is anymore. And I thought I could throw myself back in, follow orders, serve... it's just not the same.
Natasha, to Steve: When I first joined SHIELD, I thought I was going straight. But I guess I just traded in the KGB for Hydra. I thought I knew whose lies I was telling, but... I guess I can't tell the difference anymore.]


xromanogers:
Again, MARVEL just decided to blow my mind away.

In CA: TWS, Steve’s scene happened first with him going to Peggy’s nursing home and being troubled by the whole manipulation that SHIELD made. Knowing that he’s out of it, Peggy decided to ask him what was wrong which ended up with him spilling about how he’s unsure about everything in the world right now. Steve Rogers is a man out of time, still trying to find himself in this 21st century. In the 1940s, nothing was this complicated; what was right, was right and what was wrong, was wrong. Now, everything is just a dark shade of grey where everything that is right is justified as something that could be wrong and what is wrong is justified as something that could be right due to certain reasons.

His morals has been compromised and because doing what is right has been always his life goal, he’s unsure what to do now like a puppy lost, without any sense of direction. So he confides in Peggy, who at least, for a short period of time, is not disturbed by her disease.

“The world has changed and none of us could go back. And sometimes, the best that we can do is to start over.”

I just can’t help but distinguish the fact that when both of them were crashing in Sam’s house, here Natasha is, doing what Steve was doing awhile ago with Peggy.

Steve knows that Natasha is troubled with something; heck, he probably knows that it’s all because of Hydra. But he decided to ask her anyway with a “What’s wrong?”

The determination in his voice to find out what was bothering her shook her from her thoughts and she questioned if it was okay to admit to him about her fears; all of her identity has been compromised.

Natasha was a ruthless, graceful and deathly woman. However, take that suit and emotionless mask away and she’s just a fragile human being who was forced to train in the KGB and to put those feelings aside. She’s not used to confrontations that involves her personal feelings or thoughts. It has always been her receiving orders and acting out according to it.

Joining SHIELD, she was making amends for her red in her ledger, not trying to add more red to the ledger. But now that SHIELD was known as Hydra, what was she supposed to do? She already had trust issues, but now the company she was working for ended up as a deathtrap.

But with Steve, maybe over the course of their breakout and everything, she realized that he was trustworthy enough. So, she decided to open up to him even if it was hard in her place for she still can’t comprehend the fact that all this time, SHIELD was actually Hydra in disguise.

Never has Natasha appear so weak, so defenseless. All she is is stripped bare and even if she can’t admit to herself, she realized she has to and maybe the easiest way is to admit it to someone else and hear herself say it so that she could believe it.

And maybe that was the same for Steve as well, to accept that indeed, the world has changed and nothing is ever the same anymore.

I… hm. I love the parallel in this gifset, but I’m not sure I agree about Steve’s difficulties in the first scene? I’d argue that rather than the ’40s being black and white or a “simpler time,” it’s that Steve felt like he knew the terrain there, and in the 21st century he’s not sure of his footing until events confirm that his suspicions and right/wrong instincts were even more spot-on than he could’ve guessed. (Always remember that the first Captain America comics came out while America was still dragging its feet about whether to get involved in WWII.) Sure, the situation he’s in—facing an increasingly urgent need to take a stand against his own government and his own superiors in the name of his country’s ideals—is a lot more difficult and painful than pledging to go fight another country’s dictatorship, but that doesn’t mean the past is necessarily a more innocent place than the present. Steve was a kid in the corrupt ’20s and grew up in the Depression—the war he was faced with as a young man was morally clear-cut as wars go, but that doesn’t mean it was all he ever knew. In the 21st century he strikes me as someone who’s trying to orient himself on unfamiliar ground that’s more treacherous than anything he’s used to, not someone who’s shocked that he even needs to figure out where he stands.

(I also don’t think Natasha here is fragile, precisely… more that she has a very complicated relationship with vulnerability, and opening up about a real, unfeigned vulnerability with no ulterior motive runs against everything she normally chooses to be and all her instincts for self-preservation. But vulnerability is just “ability to be wounded or hurt” and says nothing about how fragile or resilient you’ll be once you’ve taken damage. What we’re seeing here isn’t Natasha defenseless, it’s Natasha trusting Steve enough to show him a tiny gap in her defenses and a place where she’s still bleeding. To juggle metaphors, this is a place where it’s intensely painful for her to realize she’s lost her footing and doesn’t know which way is up—and she’d carry on regardless, but for once she’s with someone who’s just been in the same place and whom she trusts enough to open up to about her uncertainty.)
tenlittlebullets: (steve rogers)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/90592189381/chinhands-did-somebody-say-rumlowsteve-trash)

*chinhands* did somebody say rumlow/steve trash

serumsoldier:
did you mean: /my legacy/

seriously tho, taking advantage of the situation, deception and utter betrayal, how great is that trash.


deception, utter betrayal, and steve suffering: MY CATNIP

also all sorts of awful twisted mirroring, if you start thinking about how rumlow being steve’s right-hand man on the strike team basically positions him as Evil Replacement Bucky

also just like. that shot of rumlow breathing creepily down steve’s neck and going “not here” is so inexplicably drawn-out that i had to split it into two gifs and one of them is STILL too big to load consistently

serumsoldier:
It also goes back to everything steve thinks he knows being a lie. But not only that, it’s also about just how lonely steve is in the 21st century

even if you remove any trash ship element from it (i could go on about that for a long time, but lets refrain for a moment), Rumlow being part of the strike team means they develop that comradeship like soldiers do, a relationship that is built entirely on trusting the other to have your back, probably even more so with the shit SHIELD teams have to deal with. Steve trusts him, and that trust is so important to Steve, his whole life has relied on trust both pre serum and post serum.

and Steve is so on his own a lot of the time so i doubt Steve has any other relationships outside the people he works with. Which then bring it round to the ‘nothing personal’ line in the elevator scene because you can tell Steve takes it personal because it’s not like he has any other ‘friendships’ and all of a sudden he can’t even trust the people he works with which just shakes the foundation of everything Steve knows and ugh, HYDRA look what you’ve done

on another, trash shipping note: the whole ‘not here’ drawn out moment can be so uncomfortable because how many times has Rumlow got that close into his personal space to speak in a completely different context and it’s so /messed up/

YEAH. And it also ties into Steve's unease about SHIELD and his role in the 21st century–he wants so badly to be able to trust his job and his co-workers and the orders he’s being given, but he just can’t, and the beginning of the movie is full of Steve second-guessing himself all over the place. Is it him, is it SHIELD, is he just having problems adjusting, is it the whole damn 21st century? And of course what we see over the course of the movie is that his misgivings were well-founded all along, but the fact that he’s taken a leap of faith and made an active effort to trust SHIELD and his teammates even though it’s not easy makes it even more of a gut punch when they all turn on him. (AND THEN take the one person Steve has ever absolutely, unequivocally trusted and turn him against Steve, AUGH.)

And I love that Steve is never blamed for wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt and trust the people who will eventually stab him in the back–the ability to trust and rely on other people is one of Steve's strengths, as is the refusal to blindly trust institutions even though he works best when he’s working as part of something bigger than himself. And I just. Steve.

...sorry, this is the problem with talking trash ships, it eventually comes out that my entire interest in pairings like Rumlow/Steve boils down to “AND I JUST. STEVE ROGERS.”

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