How does the saying go? 'Films are films, comics are comics and never the twain shall meet.' Well, nobody probably ever said that, but that doesn't mean that it isn't true. It just means that films and comic books are two different mediums, irrespective of the fact that oftentimes one (the comic) causes the creation of the other (the films). Even if the plots of the hardcopy are different than the celluloid.
On May 25, 2016, the Marvel comic book universe was rocked when it was revealed that since he was a young boy, Steve Rogers, the man you know as Captain America, is actually a double agent for Hydra. This wasn't just a massive plot twist in a comic that has been around for many decades, it's literally earth shattering. Steve Rogers is much more than a mere superhero. He represents humanity and if he's not on the level then, in some way, we might not be either.
Even more interesting than that plot twist is how this new comic could effect future films. After all, Marvel has spent a great deal of coin on all of their movie phases. However, their trump card is that this plot twist really isn't a twist at all. It is all part of an elaborate Captain America history that is entirely unrelated to the movie side of things.
What does this mean? Basically, watch the movies for what they are, read the comics for what they are and enjoy it all. All of this is well and good but what if you can't? What if the idea of Cap being on the side Hydra his whole life just doesn't sit well with you? What if you want to imagine a world where all of these things intersect?
Friends, look no further. What this article tries to do is to imagine a parallel universe where all of this superhero goodness can exist. It will make some amazing leaps, posit a lot of conjecture, and at it's best, attempt to follow some sort of through line. Most importantly, this list will put forth that, like it or not, there are 7 Reasons Why Captain America as a Hydra Agent Is Better Than Any Marvel Movie Yet!
It Changes Everything
This goes beyond the Marvel Universe to change everything we've seen in the movies. In all honesty, not accepting where Marvel is going with this Hydra twist is selfish. I say that because we are always scrutinizing these superhero films. If they have great action then we complain that they lack character depth. If they have too much character depth we label the films as slow. I've heard complaints like this about The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, in fact, some wag had the chutzpah to call Captain America: Civil War a fairly by the numbers superhero film. Well, kudos to Marvel for not playing it safe at all this time around. They could've made carbon copy after carbon copy of their movies, continuing to follow suit in the comics, and than back to the world of these films that are so beloved. Instead, Marvel took a character that his been around its hallowed pages since 1941 and they completely turned him upside down. Inside out. In the process, they have shaken up their comic side of things, while at the same time, they have fans asking big, bold questions about what has already transpired on film side and, beyond that, they've shaken up Marvel's own storied history to it's very core. By doing this, they have granted themselves an even greater freedom. Who benefits from this? The fans!
Everyone is Called Into Question
If Steve Rogers is is indeed a Hydra agent what is Marvel's endgame? Are they going to keep the movies and the comics as two separate entities? Will we continue to see one Steve Rogers on the big screen and another on the page? This then begs the question, what exactly are the Marvel movies? Has the point of the three Captain America films been to possibly establish Steve and Bucky as agents for Hydra? Does Steve Roger's friendship with Bucky somehow allow him to understand what he's always been? The questions continue and there are no easy answers. One thing is for sure, Captain America is bigger than any movie or comic book. You can't walk 10 feet without seeing someone with a Captain America shirt. So just who is Steve Rogers? Who are we as a society for supporting him? Who are the characters in Civil War who sided against Iron Man? Have they been vindicated? Has everything Steve Rogers has done been leading The Avengers toward their own destruction? As stated above, the films and the comics are two different things but for how long? And should they eventually meet, what sort of light might that cast on Marvel's film slate then? Forget about the films, the revelation about Captain America's true allegiances calls EVERYTHING and EVERYONE into question. And it has us question the motives of a lot of characters both on and off the screen. When has any of the other movies done that? Having us actually think beyond the time we've spent in our seat on such a deep level?
Allows Marvel to Truly Evolve
This change allows the Marvel movie, if they so see fit, to evolve beyond what they've now become. Franchises need to evolve no matter how good they are. They have to shake themselves up otherwise they become stale and dated. For example, look at the Harry Potter films, or The Lord of the Rings, these properties adhered so strongly to the source material (maybe not 100% but enough) that they sort of took away the mystery of the actual films. Sure, there was the excitement to see how Voldemort might try and kill Harry and Co., but ultimately everybody knew they wouldn't stray that far from the text. The same could be said of The Avenger films in regards to what has come before. Also, if you follow all the behind-the-scenes goings on regarding contracts and what not, for what they're paying Iron Man, regardless of the fact that he was in against Steve Rogers, nobody ever really thought he would die (especially with the The Avengers: Infinity War films and Spider-Man: Homecoming waiting in the wings). This is why the Hydra plot twist is so imperative to the future of both the Marvel comics and films. Steve Rogers could really do some amazingly bad stuff in the comics now. If this plays well, that could translate very nicely to the screen. And, the films could have enough wiggle room as these story arcs started off as separate entities. Finally, this will now afford the movies and the comics greater freedom. If Steve Rogers isn't who he we thought he was, who might the Hulk, Black Widow, or Falcon be? The effects of the Hydra plot twist is a grand opportunity. It could be a way for the films to reinvent the tropes of "the heroes journey" in storytelling, to allow superhero films to finally get some of the respect they deserve amongst Hollywood's arthouse elites. Which leads us to the next item
Best Plot Twist Ever?
It would be a grand plot twist not only for Marvel movies but ALL movie if the comic twist transitioned into this other medium. Surely, the Marvel films stand to benefit from this Hydra experiment but what about other films? Could we see DC take a similar tact? There are some who saw the reveal of Steve Rogers as a Hydra agent as a mere publicity stunt. As you may recall, DC recently relaunched a comic line under the DC Rebirth moniker. In this, characters like Wonder Woman, Batman, etc. are going to be changed up. They're even going to explain more about The Joker. (It seems we're finally going to find out who this person really is. Or, are we?) The reality is that regardless of what they do, the Hydra plot twist is something that will be hard to top. Which brings us to what they might do in the Marvel films (already touched on), and what this might do to other films in cinema. You might think this is crazy but what if seminal/tentpole films were given a similar reboot? How about the Harry Potter franchise? Twilight? Or, The Hunger Games? Everything is being remade and rebooted anyway, right? Why not do a real reboot and change the perspective of who viewers are used to following? Doing something like this could really re-ignite cinema. While it doesn't only have to be for genre films, I am sure it could work in other mediums? What if we were to find out that Michael Corleone was really working for the mob in The Godfather? Look at a film like The Departed and tell me that that would be entirely out of the realm of possibility. Marvel's choice was bold and it might ultimately choose to go beyond being groundbreaking. They may have created a whole new genre of film.
Promises an Exciting Future
If it works, the ensuing Marvel films will Be better than ANYTHING we've seen from them before. Should Steve Rogers as a Hydra agent prove to have legs beyond it's initial comic run, if it can effect the arc of the films we have seen, that is a true game changer. Along with their evolution, breaking free of certain comic book tropes should they be deemed stale, we could potentially see the shared universe expand as well. Movies are finite. They only have a certain amount of time to tell their story. As it stands, this seems to be how a lot of superhero films were going until a few years ago: the movie starts, something bad happens, a superhero saves the day. We then see them in their lives, they are called into action because their is a major threat, that threat proves to be more formidable than was previous thought. From there the superhero works, usually alone, to bring about an end to whatever the problem is. After some false starts and near misses (often being misunderstood along the way), they eventually defeat whomever/whatever is causing their malaise. This breakdown isn't exact but you see my point. Also, often times the characters, even when their in a movie like Civil War, tend to work separately. Rare is the scene (although it happened more in Civil War) where we see our superheroes working together to stop something. The Avengers films and X-Men: Apocalypse show more of this. Could the Hydra plot twist allow the Marvel films to truly expand the characters and relationships? It seems so. In fact, the real reason behind this plot twist ultimately seems to be trying to keep everything fresh. With social media still the biggest moving space around, Marvel seems to be ahead of the pack by keeping everybody out there guessing. Their information is repeated, regurgitated, articles like this are written and ultimately this brings about a great swath of information.
Turns Hydra into the Good Guys
Could it be that Hydra are really the good guys? In cinema, as in life, perspective is everything, right? We think Steve Rogers, Iron Man and all the other Avengers are the "good guys." Why? Well, this is how they are presented. They are doing good things. They are acting in ways that we believe in. However, one thing this "Hail Hydra" plot twist shows is that depending on how you look at things, what's bad is good, what's good is bad, and how it effects you ultimately decides your perspective on things. Steve Rogers did everything he did not in spite of his allegiances to Hydra but BECAUSE of them. If this could somehow be reworked into the Marvel film universe (origin story anyone?), viewers might be converted and suddenly say "Hail Hydra" themselves. Imagine this, we open with wimpy Steve Rogers during World War II. However, we see his transformation into a Hydra agent. Wouldn't this put a new spin on his relationship with Bucky Barnes? Perhaps that was really why he was so intent on saving the Winter Soldier this whole time? This wasn't about friendship so much as it was about not taking a loss on Hydra's investment in an agent. If things move along fast enough, Marvel could probably keep Chris Evans on the payroll for a number of years as this story arc is worked out. If this was timed right, if the CGI continued to evolve, we could see Evans and Sebastian Stan again play their younger and present day selves. By then, fans might really be questioning S.H.I.E.L.D., while Hydra could prove to be a beacon of hope. In fact, with Civil War, maybe this was Marvel's coy way of slowly rolling out the Hydra subplot. Nick Spencer, the brains behind the Captain America comic (and the Hydra plot twist) since 2014, could very well have had a hand in crafting the falling out between Cap and Iron Man that happened in the film. To paraphrase Iron Man, if we act with impunity by going wherever to do whatever we want, we're no better than the people we think we're fighting. Perhaps his perspective really was the right one after all?
It would force all future Marvel movie to be Accountable. With Disney owning both Marvel and Star Wars, dissecting character plots and original stories seems to be the order of the day. Look at all the upcoming Star Wars films. We have Rouge One, we have the Han Solo film in the works, we have a potential Boba Fett movie, etc. Marvel is going back and having us essentially rethink and re-examine everything we think we know about Star Wars. It seems like they are starting to do this with the Avengers. The best part? We're not too far down the Captain America road that it is impossible to make the film accountable to the new plot. By the same token, we could also go back and re-examine the other Avengers films. In addition to this, why not see how the plot twist effects some of the stand alone films? Wouldn't it be great to see a movie that addresses some of the arcs in the Captain America comics? With the comics already written, this seems like something worth mashing up and exploring. This could tie all the films together in a more cohesive way. It probably could be done in 1-2 films. We just see the perspectives of the other characters as they begin to question Steve Roger's allegiances. We could see if some of them had doubts about the Captain. Perhaps Hawkeye was dubious before he eventually decided to join him in Civil War? Maybe there could be a film about the underlying the sexual tension between Black Widow and Cap? Perhaps it was his allegiances to Hydra that kept them apart? There's a lot of ways this could go. However, by bringing the other films into the fold, this ultimately makes the Marvel films more weighty, more important, and something we've never seen before in either comics or the films. Then, imagine what would happen if the comics eventually had Captain America return to S.H.I.E.LD... and just think! You've been along for the whole ride and never knew you were even on one.
Is any of this palatable? Is it possible that we can accept Steve Rogers as a Hydra agent? Have we already accepted this but have other ideas of what could happen with Captain America? This twist lends itself to hundred of new story telling ideas, both in the comics and in the movies. Now that Captain America is a Hydra team member, nothing else will ever be the same. And even if you don't agree, you have to admit, this is an exciting time to be a Marvel fan.