tenlittlebullets: (shieldra)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/98127824576/having-recently-rewatched-the-more-watchable)

Having recently rewatched the more watchable episodes of Agents of SHIELD, I am struck anew by all the creepy authoritarian vibes–not just from the characters themselves, which is plausible on a show that’s all about the shadowy government Men in Black whose job is to put a lid on paranormal occurrences, but in which characters the show chooses to back up and the situations it constructs. I’m not even going to touch the nasty indoctrination Skye goes through to mold her from a freedom-of-information hacker type into an agent of SHIELD, because that mostly happens in the less watchable episodes. But the way the fallout of CA:TWS was handled–holy balls.

“Oh, that pesky, naïve Captain America and his cohort, dumping all our secrets onto the Internet! Taking down SHIELD along with Hydra! That was so mean of him, look, the totally plausible fallout is that now we’re all being persecuted as a ~terrorist organization~ and threatened with indefinite detention of the type we’re so fond of springing on people we’ve deemed to be threats! Why? Because there's no way to tell who might be Hydra. No way whatsoever. If only all of these meanie bureaucrats had some magic list of who had ties to Hydra. Like, some set of secret files with their recruitment data or something. If only, I don’t know, all of Hydra’s records had been dumped onto the internet or something.”

“Are we going to talk about the actual consequences of a leak on this scale, like all the deep-cover agents it burned? Ha ha ha, why would we waste time on that when we could be constructing elaborate strawmen about how Big Brother was the only thing standing between the world and chaos for the sake of chaos.”

“What does Hydra want, you ask? To take over, duh. Are there any ideological differences between Hydra and SHIELD? Um, we’ll get back to you on that. Does it bother us that ‘who’s Hydra?’ might as well have been a randomly-assigned game of Mafia because we’re indistinguishable from our own neo-Nazi conspiracy? Uh… YEAH! Yeah, we would totally have believed Victoria Hand was Hydra, how fucked-up is it that she made it to the top, what a hardass, am I right?”

“Guys. Guys. Hey, guys. I’ve got a great idea. The BEST idea. Let’s pay exactly zero attention to anything CA:TWS might’ve had to say about authoritarian bullshit and extrajudicial killing, and rebuild SHIELD.”
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: (shieldra)
(Archive of a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/92561700584/swanjolras-ohhcaptainrum-swanjolras)

[Image: A mashup of the SHIELD and Hydra logos, with the caption "This isn't freedom. This is fear."]

#[sharp inhale] #these are the times that try canon; seriously this is the point in time where i’m going to ignore agents of shield for THIS PRECISE REASON #the immediate decision to rebuild shield cheapens this turn so fucking much i dont CARE about what cap 2 does for your mediocre tv show #you cannot mistake this film for anything except what it is - a movie made in the 21st century when we’re moving#out of the immediate recent past; it couldn’t have been made at any other time other than now and to TEAR! AWAY! THAT MASK! #and show you that anyone and anything is capable of being /this/; that this rot can grow anywhere and that #we’re not as different as we like to think - is such a smart decision #it topples the status quo it is very decidedly moving forward and goddammit this show had to go and ruin it #man fuck it fuck it so hard fuck it to hell

#mal flawless as per usual #shield was toxic because it was hydra but shield was ALSO toxic because it was shield #BECAUSE SHIELD AS AN ORGANIZATION WAS ROTTEN FROM DAY ONE #you cannot ‘rebuild shield from the ground up’ because shield and hydra WERE ALWAYS TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN #those helicarriers were not horrific BECAUSE hydra was in control of them #they were horrific because TO HAVE THAT KIND OF WEAPON IS INHERENTLY IMMORAL AND TYRANNICAL #because shield is not an organization of good men! it is an organization of perfect soldiers! #any organization like shield would have become rotten and corrupt and ultimately evil #whether! or! not! it! had! nazis! #the nazis were not the REASON that shield was evil #they were a DEMONSTRATION of JUST HOW EVIL SHIELD WAS CAPABLE OF BEING #this movie’s politics were the smartest politics #please marvel don’t take this away from me


My contribution, copied out of tags and into the post body:

#shield was not unamerican because Secret Nazis #shield was unamerican because Authoritarianism #because so very Authoritarianism that they’d been nurturing a faction of secret nazis the whole time and nobody could tell the difference #the principles behind what shield was doing do not suddenly become Evil or Not Evil depending on whose name is on the letterhead #(does one of the WSC members use ‘not if it was your switch’ as a clever retort? yes #are we supposed to trust the moral authority of the WSC? HAHAHA no) #the point is that some things are evil even in service of *your* cause #and yes they are alluring even to smart people like fury #and that is how groups like hydra and the RL fascists they’re standing in for come about in the first place #this entire movie was like a followup to that erskine quote: so many people forget that #the first country the nazis invaded was their own #captain america only works as a character because if #by some accident of birth and nationality #he’d been captain germany instead #he still would’ve gone down fighting nazis
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.]

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

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

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.”
tenlittlebullets: (Default)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/86367145626/angualupin-shinelikethunder-i-just-what-is)

[In which I post scans from the truly abysmal Cap 2 prelude comic, with dialogue as follows:
Steve Rogers: Nice bit of acting work, Rumlow. I used to do some of that for the USO.
Brock Rumlow: Where do you think I learned it, Captain? They showed us your old newsreels during our training.
Steve Rogers: Well, now it's time for you to show me what else they taught you.
Brock Rumlow: You'd be surprised.]

i just

what is even


(context: there is a (bite-sized, not particularly good) winter soldier prelude comic. that... seems to be... implying that SHIELD foisted Rumlow on Cap as some sort of Replacement Bucky sidekick figure. I’M NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS no wait I am some combination of horrified, uncomfortably turned on, and disappointed that this thread was dropped in the movie because it would’ve emotionally complicated EVERYTHING in delightful fucked-up ways)



no no no no no

but so many things get so much worse when you think of Rumlow as Evil Replacement Bucky rather than Featured Henchman #2 who is totally not going to be important later on because it’s not like we’d ever get the death of captain america arc in mcu RIGHT

like him looking on while Real Bucky gets mindwiped

and the parallel hits of Steve!pain when, in quick succession, his Would-Be Replacement Bucky betrays him in cold blood and then it turns out that the mofo who’s been fucking everyone’s shit up is Real Bucky who’s been brainwashed and turned on him against his will

also I am just strangely delighted at the thought of SHIELD giving Cap a shady brutal sidekick while they send him out on shady brutal black-ops missions and NOBODY SEEMS TO THINK THERE’S ANYTHING WEIRD ABOUT THIS and he’s left going “okay, am I just having trouble adjusting or are things really this messed-up in the 21st century?”

(also, unrelatedly, I am not an artist and should probably not be making accusations I am not qualified to make, but WOW the art for this comic is bugging me, is it my imagination that it looks traced? like, badly traced from a video game? it’s all… outline-y and weirdly stiff and heavy on foreshortening that just doesn’t quite work but looks like it might’ve in a slightly different picture–)

#rumlow/steve #leave me here to die #i did not want this to become a proper enemy!ship but canon keeps enabling my worst tendencies #cap/featured henchman 2 is not a viable pairing #cap/evil replacement bucky who's probably going to kill him someday is a goddamn goldmine of Wrong
tenlittlebullets: (shieldra)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/85612717591/that-makes-sense-what-make-you-of-the-hinting)

Anonymous asked:
That makes sense. What make you of the hinting that Hydra and its values are not the same as they were?

I mean, it makes sense for them to have ditched the racial-supremacy angle and focused on packaging the authoritarianism as attractively as possible to people already in the defense/security/intelligence industries, otherwise they’d be facing one hell of a recruiting problem. But I think the fact that they’re even still calling themselves Hydra openly is a glaring weakness in the plot–not only is it kind of a cop-out from the issues raised in the movie, how the hell is anyone who’s ever cracked open a history book in this universe going to hear the sales pitch and think “Gosh, joining up with this slick new version of a rogue Nazi science division sure does sound like a swell and non-evil idea?” Like, can’t the conspiracy within SHIELD at least be some secret faction with their own name and membership and everything, which is later revealed to be masterminded by Hydra unbeknownst to the rank and file? That would allow the movie to have its “you have literally become the thing you hate” cake and eat it too, and liven up the moral dilemma Steve throws at the SHIELD employees when he hijacks the intercom. Because in addition to “will the regular employees follow the orders they’ve been given or take a stand on Cap’s say-so,” you’d also get “will some of the conspirators defect back to the good guys’ side when confronted with the truth of what they signed up for.” IDK, maybe it would over-complicate some of the themes they’ve got going on about personal vs. ideological vs. institutional trust and loyalty, but it would also just plain make more sense and be less of a tremendous cop-out.

This is the kind of complication that I would expect to see in a novel, and can sort of forgive in a movie—it’s a matter of how much space there is to tell the story and all. But DAMN. It would’ve been a MUCH BETTER complication.

I don’t actually think explaining it would’ve introduced that much complication–drop the codename a few times in the “omg mysterious conspiracy within SHIELD???” part of the movie, such that by the time Steve and Natasha make it to the bunker it’s pretty obvious that [codename] is the faction/organization behind it all, and then amend Zola’s monologue to “the new Hydra grew within SHIELD, a beautiful parasite disguised under the name of [codename]…” The complication would be in the fallout, dealing with the fact that not everyone who’s in on the conspiracy is enough of a goddamn cartoon villain to knowingly sign on with Hydra, a lot of them were just easily led by a cool-sounding secret society preaching attractively packaged fascism as a balm for the world’s ills. But like. That’s storytelling space that’s currently being taken up by politicians concocting elaborate pretexts to whisper “Hail Hydra” in each other’s ears. It could easily be repurposed to acknowledge that “easily led by a cool-sounding secret society preaching attractively packaged fascism as a balm for the world’s ills” is how such movements usually do get started before their names become a commonly-recognized byword for “evil fuckers.”

Anonymous asked:
HYDRA is all about racial supremacy. The movie showed that Baron Strucker is one of their leaders and he's one of the most racist villains in the MU.

Good to know. The point still stands, though, that the branch of Hydra operating within SHIELD in this movie was pretty exclusively focused on authoritarianism, both in the rhetoric they were spouting and the goals they were trying to achieve. Whether it was because they were operating semi-independently from Strucker’s leadership and had different priorities, or just keeping quiet about the racist BS for the moment to make it easier to reel people in. Which I guess is another argument for why it would’ve made more narrative sense to have them operating behind a cover organization–using an offshoot rather than Hydra itself would’ve spared the creative team most of the glossing-over and uncomfortable avoidance of the fact that Hydra are actual, literal fucking Nazis and that comes with a lot of implications you can’t get away from.
tenlittlebullets: (winter soldier)
(Archived from a Tumblr post at http://shinelikethunder.tumblr.com/post/83435224625/mumblingsage-roboclaws-lets-talk-about-the)

let’s talk about the winter soldier.

let’s talk about posthumanism and body horror and the kind of thorough desensitisation that’s almost orwellian in its completeness. let’s talk about how the winter soldier has no concept of self or identity, how he clearly doesn’t think of himself as a person. let’s talk about him being desensitised not only to the violence he perpetuates, but also to the violence done to him.

Read More

#i’m so glad america has seen the movie so we can all talk about the movie #now talk to me about violence and guns and knives and penetrative wounds #as a substitute for sex or sexual dysfunction


Remember the thing in Pacific Rim where the sparring scene worked so well because it was filmed like a sex scene? Yeah, please tell me I’m not the only one who thought Winter Soldier was like two and a half hours of that only with actual stab/gunshot wounds and the brutality ramped up to eleven. IT WAS HOT. It was hot because everyone was equally matched and fighting as hard as they could and the fight choreography was beautiful. It was hot because they all kept fighting despite the damage they were doing to each other’s bodies. When the Winter Soldier pays Natasha back for fucking up his metal arm by literally putting another bullet through her, it could’ve gone straight to some boring damsel in distress bullshit where she’s incapacitated as soon as she takes any damage (with all the weird misogynist undertones that entails if we’re talking about sexualized, particularly penetrative, violence). But no, she takes cover and bides her time and pulls herself together long enough to save Steve’s dumb ass when he’s about to get himself killed. And Steve’s final showdown with the Winter Soldier, with all the grievous bodily harm inflicted on both sides… this is a film where being able to wound somebody is a form of intimacy, because nobody else has the skill or knowledge of your weaknesses to get close enough.


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