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Headscratchers: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
New entries on the bottom. Warning, unmarked Spoilers!

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    Shield and falling 
  • If Steve were to fall off a building but managed to land on his shield, would that keep him from splattering on the pavement below? (There seem to be an awful lot of shots of him leaping out of windows/airplanes and plummeting to his apparent doom in the trailers.)
    • In the comics, yes. In the film, the shot of him leaping out the Quinjet to the ocean ends with him diving into it, not trying to land on his shield. Plus, in The Avengers he lands on a car with his shield, and is in a great deal of pain. And that was a relatively small height. Landing on his shield would just mean he's splatting on a worse surface, one that's even harder and has no give at all.
      • Actually, in the film he does both. He jumps out of the Quinjet at the start of the movie, but he also jumps off of the Triskelion at the end of the first act. Not clear how high it was, but it was definitely way more than enough to kill any normal person (the Triskelion has more than forty floors, probably about fifty; Cap looked like he jumped out of one of the twenties), and likely would have killed Cap without the shield. So the answer is "yes, it would, and it does."
      • Captain America: The First Avenger explicitly states that Cap's shield has the exact same properties that it does in the comics in that it absorbs all impact. There's even a deliberate shot of bullets dropping to his feet rather than ricocheting when Peggy Carter opens fire on his shield as a 'test'. Thus, in theory, he could land on his shield from any height and take no damage. It makes sense, when you think about it. The full-armed swing of Mjolnir he blocks in Avengers certainly has a greater impact than hitting the ground at terminal velocity would. The shot where he hits the car in Avengers also has him landing flat on his back with his shield in front of him, having just used it to block an exploding grenade. Of course, the 'absorb all impact' ability has always been inconsistently portrayed even in the comics, so you can find examples there that both prove and disprove the point anyway.
      • Case in point: as mentioned above, Peggy feels free to shoot at the shield in a room full of people because she knows the bullets won't ricochet. But in this film, Cap explicitly bounces rounds from a minigun into his other assailants, and even angles it to "aim", implying that there are angles at which the shield won't absorb kinetic energy. He's also blown off his feet and through a bus when fired at with a grenade launcher, even though the grenade couldn't possibly have had any more oomph than the Tesseract-powered HYDRA tank shells from the first film.
      • Basically, the shield absorbs kinetic energy... unless Cap doesn't want it to do that. Maybe he can alter the energy-absorbing properties based on how he holds it, or something? It's never been consistent.
    • In the comics he is "peak human", but in the movies he is clearly superhuman, if less so than guys like Hulk or Thor. He doesn't splat because he's not a normal person.
    • The shield would probably absorb the impact with the ground, but as all good tropers know, it's Not the Fall That Kills You.
    • This is exactly what happens in one sequence of the movie. After leaping out of a window and landing on his shield, Steve is slow to get up and obviously in pain but he definitely didn't splatter.
    • It also helps that the glass ceiling he fell through would have slowed his fall somewhat.

    Cap's security level 
  • Captain America is according to Agents of Shield, level 6 or lower (he doesn't know Coulson didn't die which is a Level 7 or need to know secret). Black Widow, however is level 8. How can he be put in command of her in this film if she outranks him?
    • I've always pegged Cap as a contractor of sorts - he doesn't get all the information, but he's brought in to lead missions because he's just that good. Alternatively..
    • Black Widow isn't actually on Level 8, but is given information on that level on a case by case basis. She can't access all Level 7 and/or 8 information that she hasn't been specifically given access to.
    • Assuming the SHIELD level system is similar to real security clearance levels, there is still some compartmentalization. Black Widow is given high level information because of her job as a spy, but that doesn't mean she has access to all information at her level and below. The SHIELD wiki suggests this and the above comment are how it works.
    • Also, in the Lemurian Star mission, Cap assumes Widow is under his command, but she's an attachment, not a subordinate. She has her own mission (namely, backing up the intel and data on the Lemurian Star), with assisting Cap being something of a bonus.
    • Plus, it's shown when Fury takes Steve to show him the Insight project that the latter is actually a Level 8 (FYI, Fury himself is Level 10). Coulson being alive is probably one of those secrets he doesn't have access to (Phil himself had trouble accessing information he should have access to as a Level 8 because Fury wanted to keep him out of the loop)
    • In the movie Alexander Pierce explicitly says that both Cap and Widow are Level 6 operatives when he assigns Bucky to kill them both. They are actually treated as equals for most of the movie, just with different jobs and skill sets (soldier and spy, respectively), though she lets Cap act as leader in team missions.
      • I took that to mean that was their relative threat level, not their position within S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy.
      • Level 6 is the threat level, not the security clearance. Similar to Fury classifying Loki as a Level 7 in "The Avengers."
    • Because clearance level doesn't automatically equate to rank.
      • Yup. This is actually explicitly part of what's bothering Cap about SHIELD at the beginning of the movie - he didn't know what Widow's real mission was because he didn't have clearance for it, even though he was ostensibly in charge of the operation.
    • Also, in real world security clearance, just because you have the clearance to know a particular secret doesn't mean you do. Remember, classified information is distributed on a strictly need-to-know basis.

    Cap's kisses 
  • Cap maintains that he's kissed a girl since 1945, aside from Black Widow. Who might that be? He was frozen and brought out just before the events in Avengers and seems to have been pretty busy since that time. Peggy?
    • Well, they did share a kiss just before Steve went to stop the Red Skull back in 1945. And then there was that time an SSR secretary decided to show her appreciation for Cap's heroics by kiss.
    • I think she asked if he kissed anyone since he was thawed and the answer is probably no, we can see that Cap is very isolated and doesn't really do much social stuff. He probably said that because he was embarrassed.
      • It would be very out of character for Cap to lie about that. It's very likely that he has given the aged, bed-ridden Peggy a smooch.
    • Considering the circumstances, what would be so wrong if he kissed Peggy, even if now she's so old? In defiance of all odds, the two lovers are united again (and, by this point, Peggy could have very well been already dead, as the "But I had a date" ending of the 1º movie would suggest). Do you think that someone in that position would say "sorry, honey, I won't kiss you, you are very old now"? Where's your romanticism?
    • He seems to have been busy? Who's to say that he hasn't taken some time off, here and there? He'd probably want to spend some more time learning about modern culture. Maybe he met a girl and they had a brief relationship. And maybe he feels kind of embarrassed about how that all turned out, so he doesn't talk about it much.
      • It's possible in between The Avengers and Winter Soldier he got in touch with the waitress he met and managed to at least go on one date. Or maybe someone just planted one on him like Natalie Dormer's character did in The First Avenger.
    • Consider how casually Nat does the Shipper on Deck routine, and how casually Steve jokes back. They've probably been setting Steve up on speed dates for awhile now.
    • After the Battle of New York Steve is a national hero, living more or less in the open. Commercial apartment, jogs around the National Mall, etcetera. He probably has women throw themselves at him all the time. That might also explain his reluctance to date; he never knows if a woman wants to be with him or "Captain America."

    The Missile 
  • Why did Pierce fire a ballistic missile on Zola's bunker and then regret losing him despite having Cap and Natasha trapped in there with all the time in the world to subdue them or simply starve them out?
    • Well for several reasons. 1 - Cap and Widow were in the bunker with Zola and time was of an issue. Zola himself admits that he was just keeping them busy with the speech and he himself couldn't do anything to stop them seeing as he is just an AI inside a boatload of tapes. All Cap and Widow would have to do is go haywire on the tapes and hack the bunker open and get out. OR 2 - Cap being the One Man Army that he is could just fight off the STRIKE force that they would send after him. Though 1 is more likely.
    • Because nuking the site from orbit is the only way to be sure. This is motherfucking CAPTAIN AMERICA we're dealing with. Absolute overkill should be standard procedure when dealing with him.
    • Also, whose to say that Zola wasn't able to transmit his mind out of the bunker (a la The Lawnmower Man)? Distributed processing could have been in play now that he isn't limited to 1970's tech.

    Shield at the end 
  • What happened to Cap's shield? Last we saw it, he'd dropped it in the Potomac, and we don't see it after that scene.
    • Someone probably found it, though we don't know for sure seeing as it isn't seen after it falls into the water.
      • It's shown propped against his hospital bed.

    SHIELD double agents 
  • I have a hard time with this when it comes down to the plot. As much as I have a very elastic Willing Suspension of Disbelief (as I do love the Marvel Cinematic Universe's approach when it comes down to their movies and stuffs) this situation has caused my suspension of disbelief to fail. I mean, after so many years of work in the intelligence field, wouldn't S.H.I.E.L.D. have security measures in place to double check every agent within their organization, to determine whether they were double agents or not? I mean, come on! Show some credibility!
    • SHIELD probably has considerable measures to check for double agents. However, seeing as SHIELD was a front for the continued existence of HYDRA, I highly doubt they'd be checking for their own operatives.
      • This. Where, exactly, do you begin finding moles and double agents when the corruption and rot runs all the way to the top? Zola was probably the most obvious candidate for reviving HYDRA within SHIELD, and you can bet everyone had their eye on him. Less people would have their eye on Pierce, who has the same level of clearance and influence as Fury.
    • But even so, some group within that organization would be Genre Savvy, so G-S enough to keep such an organization good. I mean, seriously? Nobody or a group of people within that organization even made a slightest move to even check things up with such precautionary measures? With a generous amounts of realizing what is actually going on inside the organization just to make sure that this organization remains an organization of good?
      • But again, where do you start when you have someone like Pierce leading the rot within SHIELD who was clearly able to explain the Insight project in a manner that was at least acceptable as an extension of American security? Fury, Hill and Natasha are all plenty genre-savvy, but when Fury thinks he can at least trust Pierce - citing that he's a man who once turned down the Nobel Peace Prize - and Natasha cites she thought she was doing the right thing in joining SHIELD, where do you start? Certainly, SHIELD got complacent when it came to HYDRA, but again - how and where do you start to discover the rot when the people pulling the wool over your eyes are your friends and allies?
      • Where exactly was it said that "Nobody or a group of people within that organization even made a slightest move to even check things up with such precautionary measures?" SHIELD almost certainly had extremely extensive vetting procedures to select agents and personnel. And said procedures were being controlled by HYDRA from the beginning, making them absolutely worthless.
    • Oh come on! That would be a big catastrophe! Which by the film happened so gruesomely. Point here is, S.H.I.E.L.D. should have a higher council that has nothing to do with HYDRA other than being an anti-HYDRA group. This group should monitor all of that organization as they go on to make sure that none of the terrible things happen. I am aware of Agent Alexander being a traitor all along for working with the enemy group as things are going on but shouldn't there be at least a small group of credible S.H.I.E.L.D. agents outside the small group of heroes that saved the world in the movie and those of Coulson's to keep track of things under control. Another thing is that why the hell did they even not double check Zola there in the beginning or at least they should hit the floor with investigating everybody at the start? I mean, not that we should prevent Cap from unleashing his badassery in the movie but what the heck? You know what I mean.
      • Again, I ask WHERE do you start? The only real trace of HYDRA in SHIELD would have been Zola who, I imagine, would have been under heavy scrutiny until someone like Pierce came along to perhaps help spirit him away and take him underground. But again - where do you even begin? SHIELD's nature IS an anti-HYDRA program, but how do you know that there are HYDRA operatives within the group until it's too late? You can't establish countermeasures to something you don't know is there, given everyone thought HYDRA was dead with Schmidt's death and Zola's 'defection', and the war over. Again, how could you establish a trustworthy group of agents without knowing about the internal threat? And given they're all spies, how do you manage to filter out those that are double agents? This is classic spy stuff, and I imagine that whatever happens with SHIELD in the future of the MCU actively will have countermeasures to stop this happening again.
    • Point taken at heart but shouldn't S.H.I.E.L.D. at that point even have a scrutiny by scrutiny group that does the filtering? Like a backdoor group of good guys doing what they have to do just to keep it clean? Like who promoted Alexander to that position right away? Shouldn't that person, with his power or people of that position have their own elite group that does what it does that by my previous statements RAISE the flag to the higher ups when they themselves FIND OUT what Alex is actually doing behind? Like come on! Where is the integrity? Don't tell me that they themselves just randomly promote people WITHOUT PROFILE FILTERING? Oh come on!
      • Again, how do you begin filtering people or attempting to find out their connections? Why would SHIELD even have that group of backdoor good guys when they don't feel they have any need to? Why would Pierce require filtering or observation when he's the guy who turned down the Nobel Peace Prize - who Nick Fury thought he could trust, who came up in SHIELD alongside him? Again, you don't fight something you don't know is there. By contrast, the nature of operating as a double agent means you don't do anything at all explicit to expose yourself. Again, how do you get the 'scrutiny' group together and make sure HYDRA isn't involved in that? Cap seemed to trust Rumlow prior to the elevator incident, after all. Again, where do you begin when you're complacent, when you think you have nothing to worry about? You can keep telling me 'oh come on' all you like, but again, this is CLASSIC spy stuff. Any HYDRA agents within SHIELD would have been suitably trained to cover every aspect of their existence as HYDRA agents. Simple as that.

    • I am savvy when it comes down with classic Spy stuffs but why would I make an organization that does not even have an internal police to begin with? Shouldn't I myself make a very secure organization with these people around monitoring the stuffs that my agents are doing? Shouldn't this be self explanatory to begin with? I mean, sure you need to expand your people so as to keep it going for a long long time as a good peace-keeping authority but inside of it, shouldn't something be made to make it clean through and through? I might consider that I would still keep my W.S.o.D. on at this point because it is just entertainment.
      • There was an internal police, HYDRA just so happened to be that secret police. Strucker made it clear in The Stinger; HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D were one and the same. All of these internal affairs groups are focused on external groups trying to compromise you, but when the rot is coming from the very core of the agency there's not a lot you can do. HYDRA agents weren't having secret meetings in rooms of men in HYDRA uniforms and HYDRA logos, they were all S.H.I.E.L.D agents meeting other S.H.E.I.L.D agents. And the kicker is that most of what HYDRA's operations were doing were also what S.H.I.E.L.D would have done, the only difference is the long-term goals.
      • This is a super-sized case of Reality Is Unrealistic. In real life, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were two of the most senior double agents that the KGB ever had in the US. Both of them were in counter-intelligence (i.e., 'internal police') — Ames for the CIA, and Hanssen for the FBI. The KGB also did similar things with counter-intelligence officials in Great Britain and Western Europe, if not quite on this kind of scale. The short version is, your opposition's 'internal police' is the first place you try and compromise, for the obvious reason that once you've got that then getting the rest is easier. (Adding up the damage that Ames and Hanssen did during their careers gets you a quite staggering, as well as alarming, total.)
    • The point here is how could this even slip when S.H.I.E.L.D. is such a highly organized counter-terrorist organization that has such credibility around that ended up like this?
      • Because it was compromised from the very beginning.
    • It simply comes down to HYDRA just being that damn good when it comes to hiding themselves. One can presume that all these HYDRA agents were put through profiler filtering (Agents of SHIELD actually proves this, with one episode showing that all agents are given extremely in-depth psych evaluations, which includes even their favourite places to eat) and they passed them anyway because they were trained to (also, for all we know, HYDRA made sure they were the ones running the evals. I the first place, particularly since this would be good for finding new recruits. Also, the impression I get is that Alexander Pierce is not a member of SHIELD- he is the Secretary of Defence (or Secretary of "something" at least, given he is referred to as "Mr Secretary" more than once). He is the boss of SHIELD. In short, their is a scrutiny group, but HYDRA run them as well.
      • The problem is we're talking about 70+ years of perfect deception on the world's stage. No one leaked the info out onto the internet? No one had a change of heart or a deathbed confession? It's a "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" situation, and any conspiracy story is going to lean heavily on this, but it's still a hell of a stretch.
      • But it's not 70 years. HYDRA was only brought back when Zola was uploaded and able to find sympathetic agents within SHIELD to join his cause. That took place in the 70s, not 70 plus years ago. So really, he managed to get the timing right. SHIELD had been around long enough at that point to be an established entity for good and anyone familiar with HYDRA first hand (like Peggy) was probably no longer in field work. Once Zola turns one SHIELD agent, telling them they're working towards the same goal in different ways, the heads begin to multiply. As for background checks, he is a computer. He could hide certain information with ease.
    • As far as anyone knows, HYDRA is dead and gone. There are no connections to known HYDRA agents to check because there are no known HYDRA agents, because HYDRA has not existed for decades. For example, An internal investigation would find that Agent Sitwell has connections to this agent and that agent, all of whom are prestigious S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and no one would know they're secret HYDRA agents because HYDRA doesn't exist, so there's nothing to check for. You keep saying that they should be able to figure out that these people are connected to HYDRA, but what would they even look for in the first place when HYDRA is a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself, and everything they do is a sanctioned S.H.I.E.L.D. operation?
      • Exactly! It's the same argument you could make with the fall of the Jedi order in the Star Wars prequels. How could so many Jedi fail to detect the Sith influence and the dark side gaining prominence? The answer is that the leaders of the order thought the Sith were dead and gone and thus the few clues that did leak out were explained away as something else becuase they didn't want to believe it was possible that the Sith survived and actually thrived. In the case of SHIELD, they assumed Hydra was dead and any few leaks that might have revealed them were brushed off/covered up as something else. No one had any reason to suspect Hydra.
      • Not only that, but Hydra's MO has totally changed. As Zola said, they realized trying to take the world by force had failed because they were seen as oppressors. Instead they manipulated politics to try to convince the world that they needed to submit for their protection. Nobody noticed Hydra because they'd been expecting Hydra to run around in Nazi regalia blowing shit up like Red Skull was. After 70 years of that not happening they let down their guard. Especially when they had very real threats like Loki, aliens, robot suits and Dark Elves running around and blowing shit up. And because Hydra was so patient all the guys that had fought Hydra all grew old and died or became senile, replaced with people for who Hydra was an old story and not a threat compared to the real threats.
    • It seems likely that Zola started out small, getting a small group of hardliners and malcontents from among SHIELD's recruits, and then waited until they rose through the ranks and attained power before they started recruiting more heavily and pursuing the HYDRA agenda. From the looks of it, HYDRA still doesn't have a large presence in SHIELD; their agents are placed in positions of power, but the rank-and-file seem largely loyal. Plus, considering HYDRA's motto, they might have sacrificed anyone who attracted attention, so that uncompromised agents could take the credit for "spotting the mole."
    • And really, if you STILL think this is ridiculous, look up Operation Snow White, where Church of Scientology members literally infiltrated almost every level of the US Government. THIS HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE.
    • Just to reiterate some of the above: HYDRA was able to penetrate SHIELD because HYDRA is just that good. Also, HYDRA was there pretty much from the beginning of SHIELD's existence, which makes things a lot simpler for them. Just because HYDRA double-agents are afoot doesn't mean that SHIELD has zero countermeasures in place. SHIELD probably has lots of countermeasures for detecting double agents within its ranks. It's just that HYDRA is aware of those countermeasures and they've established counter-countermeasures to keep SHIELD off the scent. (Just because this isn't explicitly detailed onscreen doesn't mean it didn't happen.) It's like that scene where the HYDRA people try to kill Nick Fury. HYDRA has a zillion ways of killing him, and Fury has a zillion ways of defending himself. In that case, Fury eventually comes out on top. But in the backstory, it was HYDRA that won the spygame arms race (so to speak), allowing them to infiltrate SHIELD.

    Project Insight and Fury 
  • I scratch my head at the whole Insight program as a part of Fury's operations. Its main objective is to strike at potential threats before they become actual threats, but why do you need three massive aerial bases to pull that off? Shouldn't the main focus of the project be gathering intelligence rather than having lots and lots of firepower?
    • The idea is that it basically scares people into submission, though. You can take those three bases anywhere in the world and they can massacre three cities on three continents at once. Zola explains that the nature of Insight is basically the extension of HYDRA's original goal - to control a human race that they see as needing it; Murdering two million people and removing some of the key pieces of American politics would be a fine way to scare people into submission. The threat of killing more as necessary would keep people in line. You also have to bear in mind that they're basically insane would-be Nazis with a different name - branding it as 'peacekeeper' and 'stopping potential threats' is basically just a more politely flavoured version of ruling the world with an iron fist.
    • Also, in terms of your edited question — we can see that the new helicarriers are directly linked to satellites, meaning that they presumably have a lot of intelligence-gathering capabilities in addition to the weaponry; I also have to imagine that part of Nick's intent is intimidation. It's one thing to have SHIELD operating out of the massive Triskelion complex, but it's quite another to have a Star Destroyer-esque wedge of a ship that you can dispatch with the threat of wiping anything out]].
    • Plus Nick explicitly states that the Insight program was started after New York. If those three helicarriers had been present at the Battle of New York, the Avengers would have been unnecessary because those massive guns and the fleet of jets would have torn the Chitauri to pieces. HYDRA may want to rule humanity, but they're probably still worried about extraterrestrials invading Earth, just as Fury was. It's not just about Earth based terrorism.
      • Precisely. They witnessed an actual alien invasion, which pretty much looked like a Zerg Rush. Hence, being able to knock down thousands of targets a minute becomes incredibly important. It was probably luck, with a nudge in the right direction, that made it a perfect moment for HYDRA to go all in.
    • You also have to consider all the subterfuge. Nick has no idea that the first thing the ships will do is assassinate millions of people. He gave us the story of his grandfather; Nick sees this as showing all the evil people in the world that he's got a fully loaded gun if they were thinking of trying something.

    Winter Soldier star 
  • So, why does Bucky still have the red star emblazoned on his shoulder? The film basically removes the Soviet aspect from the proceedings by making him a secret SHIELD project deployed as necessary by the likes of Pierce, and directly worked on by Zola. So why the Soviet star, and why would the Russians have an in-depth file on him including close up pictures of him in deep freeze?
    • Most likely for cover/distraction. The very fact that legends have built around The Winter Soldier as a Russian operative precisely helps to keep the very reality you referred to (he's really an operative for HYDRA) under wraps.
    • It could also suggest that HYDRA had also infiltrated the Soviet Union and throughout the Cold War had been pulling the strings of both sides. The Stinger and the plans for future movies both show that HYDRA's influence extended far beyond SHIELD, so this is entirely possible.
      • Black Widow mentioned Soviet ammo as the MO for the Winter Soldier's kills 2x in the movie...
    • If you pay attention carefully in Bucky's flashback, you see that his body was recovered by Soviet soldiers.
  • In any case it's probably still got a narrative role to fill - after all, in the comics eventually this happened.
  • It seems very likely that the Russians, or at least a Russian cell of Modern HYDRA had something to do with the Winter Soldier. Perhaps with regard to his training and brainwashing upon being thawed. The Star isn't the only Russian thing about him. One of his few spoken lines in in Russian, and a friend of mine stated that all his armaments and even hand-to-hand style were "almost offensively" Russian. He may be a HYDRA creation here, but the Russians do seem to have a so-far unrevealed role in things.
    • The Winter Soldier didn't exclusively use Soviet-bloc weapons; on several occasions he's seen using an M4A1, and he carries two American compact pistols in addition to a Swiss SIG P220. The sole Soviet-bloc weapon he has is the Czech Skorpion machine pistol.

    Sharon's name 
  • How exactly do we know Agent 13 is Sharon, I mean, All we knew of Sharon was her from Natasha, so how is Agent 13 Sharon, lest "Kate" was an alias?
    • Doesn't she actually get called 'Sharon', at some point? I distinctly remember her being called 'Sharon', but then was surprised that they didn't lay down her surname - although this was presumably to avoid confusion with Peggy. Also, why wouldn't 'Kate' be an alias?.
    • I think she does, somewhere by the end.
    • Black Widow calls her "Sharon" in the last pre-credits scene. Also, in the comics Agent 13 is her codename, and its confirmed by Word of God that that's who she is. So, yeah, she's Sharon Carter. Its not even spoiler-worthy, actually- its in promos and everything.
    • One way of looking at it, is that her full name is either Sharon Katherine Carter or Katherine Sharon Carter and "Kate" is simply a nickname she used when undercover as a nurse.
    • Black Widow tells Cap that her name is Sharon and then warns him to be careful pulling on that thread.
      • The "careful pulling on that thread" was in reference to Bucky as the Winter Soldier, not Sharon.

    Schoolgirl 
  • Who's "the schoolgirl from Idaho" Sitwell refers to in the rooftop scene? When he names the people who are danger to HYDRA, he gives recognizable names: Agent Hill, Bruce Banner (Hulk), Stephen Strange (Dr Strange) and... this "schoolgirl from Idaho". Marvel Database state the only female character to come from Idaho is Songbird - could she be important later in MCU?
    • Wasn't it that it was someone who rejected Sitwell in high school ? It wasn't someone "important", it was a personal grudge.
      • What? No, its not someone from his high school. Its Zola who picked the targets, for one thing.
    • Sitwell's exact words are "a high school valedictorian", which suggests a reference to Amadeus Cho. The term he uses is gender-neutral.
      • I took it as HYDRA being so evil and paranoid, they would even target really smart high school kids, lest they grow up to be threats later. It's not uncommon for these sort of groups to go after highly educated people.
      • I saw it more as "There's obvious targets and the seemingly unknown ones too". After all, the person that wrecked HYDRA way back when started out as some wimp from Brooklyn who even the Army mid-WW2 didn't want around...
      • It's also a subtle nod to the idea that the greatest threat to any totalitarian regime is education
      • I thought that the high school valedictorian was Peter Parker. He can't be officially name dropped and isn't part of the Marvel Cinema canon yet. He's just some random High School valedictorian as far as hydra is concerned.
      • I distinctly recall he says the valedictorian is from "Iowa City", not Idaho. (I live in Iowa, so the location name didn't slip by.) This may be a reference to Jack Munroe, aka Nomad, who is from (Clutier) Iowa, and was closely associated with Captain America. However, I'm more inclined to agree Sitwell's meaning was essentially "John Doe", i.e. anyone and everyone obscure who might be considered a threat.
      • Some have suggested it is a nod to Isabel Kane (aka Smasher and later Messenger) from Jonathan Hickman's current Avengers run since she came from Iowa.

    Peggy's picture 
  • Why would Natasha not recognise a picture of Peggy in the bunker? Surely the information of one of the original founders of SHIELD would be common knowledge to all of its agents?
    • Natasha is only in her late 20s. Odds are, the pictures of Peggy she saw were of her as a veteran agent and older woman. Conversely, Stark is dead, so it's more likely the young him is seen. Plus, he looks like his son.
    • I think its just that Natasha isn't really a history buff and didn't bother reading too much about Cap. She knows who he is, of course, but she isn't interested in his life story or anything (or at least not in digging through it behind his back), and she never felt inclined to look into his file. She didn't know who Arnim Zola was either, so its not a stretch. The fact that she's Russian could push this into Fridge Brilliance, since she never grew up knowing much about him in the first place. Also, maybe his files doesn't say how he felt about Peggy anyway, or how important she was to him or his operations.
    • To put it in another way, do you really think a lot of people in the CIA or the NSA or any other monolithic federal agency would really know who the exact founders were?
      • Counter-point, the Smithsonian had a public interview with her on video from 1953 when she was still young.
      • Which Natasha could well have never seen. She wasn't with him when Steve went.
    • On the other hand, this is the Black Widow we're talking about - it's equally likely that she knew full well who Peggy was, but was curious to see what Steve would have to say about her, and so she asked 'who's that?' just to see how he'd respond. She is making it something of a side quest to sort out his love life in this movie, after all.
    • Which actually fits Natasha's interrogation style.

    Natasha and KGB 
  • At some point Natasha mentions that she used to work for the KGB, but her birth year is also stated to be 1984. The KGB hasn't existed since 1991, so Natasha's way too young up to have worked for them. Did the writers simply screw up, thinking that the KGB is still the secret service of Russia? Or are they hinting that the birth year is false and that Natasha is actually decades older than what she looks like, just like she is in the comics?
    • Could be a pragmatic choice. The KGB is instantly recognizable to western ears because it was used in so much spy fiction during the Cold War. Russian intelligence organizations such as the FSB, MVD, and SVR haven't entered into the general public's pop culture lexicon in the same way.
    • Child Soldiers.
    • The KGB used to pick up Afghan orphans and train them to be assassins and spies against the Mujahedin leaders during their time in Afghanistan. I can't see why they'd be any squeamish about using Natasha as a child spy.
    • Afghan orphans are one thing, but based on his name and appearance, Nastasha is Russian. Is there any evidence KGB did the same to Russian kids? Also, if Natasha was working for the KGB as a kid, this must've happened before she was even 7. (By 1991, the year she would've turned 7, the whole Soviet Union was in such a state that it seems very unlikely the KGB was doing any new recruiting programs, so she would've have to been recruited earlier.) Yeah, there are child soldiers and spies, but they tend to be at least 9 or 10. It seems very unlikely you could train a 5 or 6 year old to work as spy, or even to shoot a gun. Also, Natasha is inferred to have a guilty conscience for the things she did while working for the KGB (in this movie she says something like "I traded KGB for HYDRA", meaning that both were bad choices). Would she really feel such guilt if she was coerced into the KGB before she was even 7? No, it's clearly implied she was working for them as an adult, by her own choice.
    • Implied doesn't equal fact. Only thing known she has a very dark past, and that she has been doing her job for quite a while. In a World where child soldiers exist it's not too hard to picture training young child spies. And it doesn't matter if you have a choice or not, if you do enough bad things you still feel great guilt for them. Especially if you do them against innocent people.
    • 5 year old kids are barely capable of tying their shoes, how exactly do you train one to be a spy? The success rate of these kids actually managing to carry out any tasks would be incredibly low, it makes little sense that an organization like KGB would waste time and resources on something like that.
    • In a comic setting it wouldn't be too hard to see a ruthless organization locating child prodigys with physically and mental abilities and start training them from an early age. Just because she started training before the age of ten doesn't prelude that she did active missions in her early teens. Remember we are dealing with a medium where Cassandra Cain killed before hitting fifteen. Hell in real life China they start young athletes with potential as soon as possible, sometimes weather they want said training or not. Same thing, only with guns and knives.
    • She mentions to Banner in the Avengers that she began being a spy at a very young age. She probably did simple stuff (Similar to how the Indian girl lured Banner out in Avengers). And as she got older received more training and did more questionable things.
    • She could have either started her career in or transferred over to the Belarusian branch, which is still KGB to this day.
    • Similar to the above, this troper chooses to Hand Wave it by saying that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe the KGB just lasted longer before dissolving.
      • This answer is made even more reasonable by the revelation that HYDRA has been manipulating the rise and fall of world organizations in order to encourage global chaos and instability. So there's actually a pretty plausible reason as to why the KGB might have lasted longer in the MCU.
    • There's a number of possibilities but it's entirely possible that Natasha was raised by renegade members of the KGB, perhaps the comic book Red Room. This would allow her to have "red in her book" without implicating the modern Russian government. It would also explain why she was doing what appeared to be terrorist activities.
    • I just assumed Zola was wrong about her birthdate. A woman like Natasha operates under six layers of secrecy and caution. Her fake IDs have fake IDs. Even when she joined SHIELD she would have kept some secrets back, just in case things didn't work out.
      • I was thinking 1984 was the year her current identity as Natasha Romanoff was created.
      • That seems unlikely, considering Zola had access to seemingly the whole SHIELD archive for his speech, and Nat confirms at the end that she "blew all [her] covers", meaning they were recorded in the SHIELD archive she leaked.
  • Kind of a tangent, but related to Natasha's history: Zola says that her middle name is "Alianova", which doesn't seem like a patrynomicnote , and The Other Wiki confirms that patrynoms don't end with -nova or -ova. Does this mean that "Natasha Romanov" is just another of Black Widow's many aliases?

    Creating the Winter Soldier 
  • When did Zola manage to turn Bucky Barnes into the Winter Soldier? Zola was captured literally seconds after Bucky's supposed death, so how could he have recovered Barnes and turned him into the Winter Soldier if he was in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody? S.H.I.E.L.D. may have recruited Zola eventually, but even then that was years later, so who found Barnes and brought him back?
    • The flashback shows that it was a Russian soldier (they had invaded Germany from the eastern front) that found him shortly after his fall judging from his fresh, bleeding wound. The logic follows that he was taken prisoner, where he'd receive medical treatment. Depending on how quickly after the war Zola was released or brought into S.H.I.E.L.D, it's feasible that he found Bucky before anyone else did, and continued his experimentation.
    • The Winter Soldier is not a one-step creation.
      • Steve stated in the movie that he speculated that what Zola gave Bucky was what saved him from the fall. Bucky was not rescued from the cage with everyone else as POW, he was found strapped to a gurney drugged out of his mind in Zola's lab (while repeating his name like a broken record). It was highly likely that he was already a sort-of Super Soldier at that time.
      • Bucky is later rescued by the Russians, and very possibly trained by them as well. His actions in the movie (Russian bullet, speaks Russian etc.) suggest that he has at least some associations with Russia, if not by a Russian HYDRA chapter.
      • From the hints, it is more likely the creation of the Winter Soldier is the unintentional combined work of several different factions: the American army trained him into a deadly sniper, German scientists turned him into a brainwashed super-soldier, and the Russian intelligence made him a ghost assassin... (and then there is Hydra/SHIELD that put him in ice).
    • And since this is Soviet Russia we're talking about, it's plausible that they recovered Bucky but didn't bother informing the other Allies. How many chances would you have a Howling Commando as a prisoner?
    • The movie does appear to show Zola present during the procedure where Bucky's arm was replaced. However, this was only shown through Bucky's confused and fragmented flashbacks of events from 70 years (and probably many mind "wipes") ago. It's entirely plausible that Bucky's mind was mixing memories from his imprisonment in Zola's lab (during Captain America: The First Avenger and before his fall from the train) with memories from after the fall when others were turning him into the Winter Soldier.

    Modeling 
  • Natasha shows her nasty scar on her belly to Cap and snarks about not being able to wear bikinis in public. Referring to her identity as Natalie Rushman in Iron Man 2, how did she get those gigs of being a supermodel, among other fashion-related things, with the scar?
    • It's modeling. It's highly likely any shots of her were photoshopped, probably beginning with the scar. On top of that, given her status as a SHIELD agent, her career as a spy, and her need to cultivate cover identities, it's highly likely those modeling gigs were her idea in the first place.
    • Assuming Natalie Rushman's modeling gigs weren't simply a cover identity with no actual modeling ever having taken place, she could always cover up the scar(s) with makeup or spy gadgetry, like the mask she wears to impersonate the female member of the Council.
    • Those photos could have all been taken before she got shot.
    • Its also entirely possible that, post bullet wound... she just didn't do any bikini/underwear modeling. There are other sorts of swimsuits, after all, not to mention the vast amount of modeling less revealing clothing that does exist.
    • She could have just been joking or using it as a figure of speech.
    • When you look like "Natalie Rushman," a scar [that's not on your face] has no bearing on whether you can become a model or not. A real-life example being supermodel Josie Maran, who has a large scar on her abdomen from an appendectomy.

    Project Insight Helicarriers 
  • Okay... so the Project Insight helicarriers are built without a main command bridge, instead having a massive automated targeting system with literally dozens of microchips all working off Zola's algorithm to find targets for HYDRA to kill, correct? Except, when Cap and Falcon swap out the targets with a single chip, the helicarriers all start blowing each other up. Why don't the pilots who are clearly shown in the helicarriers just use a manual override? I mean, if they can't override the main systems, then what are they doing in the helicarrier in the first place? And what kind of moron designs a ridiculously sophisticated (and no doubt expensive) piece of weaponry without building in some kind of safety against infiltration? You would think that HYDRA would know better than not to guard against that kind of thing, given their position in the story.
    • While I'm talking about the helicarrier design: if you're going to have your ship be automated and run by a massive set of databanks, why would you then proceed to put them in a huge glass orb on the underside of your ship? Ruleof Cool is great and all, but any ground-to-air missile could just take that out, and goodbye targeting system.
    • IIRC, it was mentioned that they were launching the helicarriers prematurely, before their design was fully completed. Not a great reason, but fictional superweapons seldom would be approved by real world engineers. (*cough cough* the Death Star)
    • As for the "why can't the human engineers override the guns" thing, I chalk it up to Death by Irony. The helicarriers were launched prematurely using the manual override. The fact that the helicarriers were able to shoot their guns at all was because the manual override was in place to disable all authorization and safety protocols. Thus, without any manual firing stations, the override is ultimately what killed the helicarriers.
    • At the start, the helicarriers were always intended to act autonomously and operate in orbit indefinitely .Plus, considering how little HYDRA valued human freedom, it's not out of the question that Zola specifically designed the program to lock out human interference. Also, on the issue of surface to air missiles, if the helicarrier has a gun that can assassinate a person from orbit, what stops it from being able to shoot down incoming missiles?
    • Since we're talking about the helicarriers . . . The trouble with evil supervillains' schemes is that they always seem to throw too many elements in. I can see NO REASON that the helicarriers should have been helicarriers to begin with! They should have been heligunships. Forget the expensive and heavy equipment needed to fly aircraft off the deck, say goodbye to the large quantities of fuel and munitions needed for the aircraft. Much cheaper, much lighter and fewer opportunities for inconvenient heroes to get on board. They should simply have been flying weapon systems, with the minimum crew needed to keep them functioning.
    • Because they're meant to be more than orbital weapons platforms: They're mobile SHIELD bases, designed to be able to resupply or provide more reinforcements than just 'shoot the guys in the head'. It would have been the only way for Hydra to move their plans forward without being obvious, and at the end, it would have been worth it: Then they'd have three mobile bases, as opposed to three weapon platforms with way less utility.

  • How can the Helicarriers hit anything really? They shot bullets/artillery right? You can aim at a target all you want, but they were targeting people. People tend to move around. Sure anyone within about a 3 mile radius would get hit, but any more than that would change getting shot with a round the size of your face into "Holy crap, what was that!?! I was standing there five seconds ago!" Also considering they were sub-orbital, the shots wouldn't make it very far anyway. At most 200 miles, which wouldn't even make it out to South Carolina, Tennessee, or New Hampshire.
    • Railguns and guided projectiles. Also, you think that a computer program that can predict that Random Valedictorian will grow up to oppose Hydra can't compensate for things like leading the target? Regular human snipers can do that.
      • I never noticed any guided projectiles (that doesn't mean there weren't any however.) but even a railgun would be heavily affected by drag and the shot would be brought down to terminal velocity. When It comes to leading your target, you can do it to a certain extent, but what if someone stops to take a phone call? Or the batter hits the ball and runs to first base? Or the person next to you got obliterated by a seemingly random artillery shell and you decide to get the heck out of Dodge?
    • All people have to stop moving to sleep. Best time to kill them.
    • There's a very simple solution to this: If you fire at your target, but then you miss because he takes a step to the left or something, then you just keep shooting at him. You'll hit the guy eventually, I'm sure. And if you're too far away to be accurate, just fly in his direction. The movie implied that every target would get hit at the same time, but that was only an implication. Realistically, the plan is to kill a bunch of people in the Washington area on the first volley, and then the 3 hallicariers split up and drift all over the globe for a few weeks, killing all the various people that they need to kill.

    Banner 
  • I had to laugh when Bruce Banner was listed as one of the targets of Insight. They had 3 helicarriers armed to the teeth, yes. But wouldn't it take at least a few minutes of sustained fire from all three to take down a Hulk?
    • They said BANNER, not the Hulk. Since Banner's on good terms with SHIELD now thanks to the events of Avengers, he wouldn't be on guard when a Helicarrier showed up, and the airstrike could kill him before he Hulked out.
    • Remember Banner's "I'm always angry" speech in the Avengers? He has time to Hulk out.
    • Hit Banner before he can Hulk Out is exactly the reason there are so many abandoned factories and wrecked industrial facilities in the 616-verse. There is always time to Hulk Out, all it takes is time for a single cell to manage it. Even if there isn't, the Hulk has been atomized before and came back from it (presumably the 199999-verse just hasn't learned that lesson yet).
    • Hydra doesn't know that. They haven't been trying "Kill the Hulk" plans for decades here like in the 616 verse.
    • Banner tried to kill himself by shooting himself, and he spontaneously Hulked out enough to stop the bullet. HYDRA should know that.
      • But that doesn't necessarily mean that he will be able to Hulk out in response to every threat. In the above example, it was him trying to shoot himself. The reaction to an external threat may not be nearly as swift.
    • First, this isn't the comics. Not every character has every ability they have in 616, or the Ultimate-verse, which heavily inspires the MCU. If they did, Thor wouldn't need the Bifrost for interdimensional travel. Second, Hulk's not invincible. The Chitauri pinned him down during the Battle of New York with far less firepower than even one of those helicarriers could have brought to bear and he was completely unable to escape their barrage. Thirdly, Banner trying to kill himself happens offscreen. In these movies he Hulks out when his heart rate increases. There is no way he could work up the nerve to shoot himself before starting to transform (shown in a deleted scene from TIH) so he'd already have some durability to survive a bullet in the mouth. When Banner is sniped with a tranquilizer unawares in The Incredible Hulk he's out like a light. To be fair, that's after the Hulk suppression procedure, but that treatment clearly didn't suppress the Hulk as intended. There's no reason why HYDRA can't kill Banner/Hulk with those helicarriers.
    • Still not a great plan. In addition to the suicidal nature of trying to kill Banner, attempting to intimidate the world into submission with giant warships of mass destruction by slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people is guaranteed to bring unwanted attention on them in the form of Mr. "Privatized World Peace". You saw how much trouble a talented pilot with a set of mechanical wings gave the Insight Helicarriers; Iron Man would have torn right through them. If Captain America had failed to stop them, the inevitable outcome wouldn't have been HYDRA ruling the world, it would be Avengers 2: How HYDRA Got Curbstomped.
    • Which is why Tony Stark and others like him were programmed as the primary targets of the first barrage. He doesn't wear the suit in his office or in bed, and without it a high-velocity long-distance round would deal with him just fine. In fact, this may very well be why HYDRA's initial targets were all superheroes or people that could rally the public against them, instead of the terrorists and people likely to become terrorists that Pierce claimed were supposed to be the main targets of Insight.
    • I'm not sure a missile strike would work on Stark. As he found out in Iron Man 3, if you go on broadcast TV, tell someone your home address and say "bring it," people will lob missiles into your living room! A priority afterwards would likely be to upgrade any early warning tech against just such a thing as a missile strike. A few seconds' warning from J.A.R.V.I.S. is all it would take for Tony to hop into a suit, and the Falcon gear demonstrates HYDRA's difficulty with their weapons tracking something as small and mobile as a human.
      • The missiles fired at Tony's house were just short range ones fired by helicopters. These missiles fired by the Helicarriers would be faster, more powerful, and possibly even cloaked just like the flagship.
      • Those wouldn't be missiles. The Helicarriers use high-accuracy railguns. The first warning Tony would get that he is under attack would be when a railgun round tears him in half.
    • Differences from the comics aside, Banner being successfully killed by the barrage is at best an unknown and should he survive the results for whoever launched said barrage will be devastating. Considering that HYDRA has access from the very top of SHIELD, they most certainly know about the cryo-cell that Blonsky is kept in, in Alaska. So the smart move would be to try and get Banner into one of those cells which will definitely hold him, rather than attacking him with a missile which may just unleash the Hulk on you.
    • That wouldn't happen because Banner would be dead before he even knew what hit him. Even if he was fully transformed, it was shown in the Avengers that he can be stunned by the likes of Thor, who wasn't even trying to kill him, and the Chitauri kept him pinned down and helpless and successfully drew blood. To quote from Predator "If it bleeds, we can kill it." Hulk is not invincible, neither is Banner, and HYDRA has massive firepower beyond what's been shown to injure the Hulk. There's nothing implausible about their plan to kill him or Stark with a massive sneak attack. Of course, if Hulk and/or Iron Man had been actively fighting the helicarriers along with Cap they would have trashed them, but that's completely irrelevant since their plan consisted of sniping two of their biggest threats, not taking them on in a straight up fight.
    • That's just not true, the Chitauri kept him "pinned down" through constant bombardment, they were simply preventing him from getting up. Chitauri weapons may not have an ammo limitation, the HYRDA guns certainly do. There is simply no way to know for sure if a surprise missile strike on Banner would succeed in killing him or simply cause him to Hulk out. Banner is not even the biggest problem though, Thor is on the planet, empowered and off the grid and they have nothing that can even bruise him. Let's assume that HYDRA succeeds in killing Banner and the 20 million other threats, all that is going to happen is that Thor will show up and singlehandedly take down all three helicarriers.
      • Just to note, what I said was true. We see the 20 or so Chitauri flyers start to bombard the Hulk, and he roars out in pain. Next time we see him, he's pulling himself out of the rubble of the building he was on, visibly bleeding and winded, and nobody is shooting him. It's clear that the Chitauri bombardment incapacitated the Hulk for several minutes.
    • There's also Dr. Strange. I'm assuming that the reason he's on HYDRA's threat dossier ain't because he's an arrogant surgeon. If the comics are any indication, coming at the Master of the Mystic Arts with something as Muggle-tastic as a missile strike will likely only pique his curiosity. Once he uses his crystal ball to divine that this was part of an attack that killed millions, HYDRA would now have the Sorcerer Supreme's undivided attention...
      • Dr. Strange has been KOed by a surprise attack in the comics before. Granted, it was usually when he was in a team-up and the writer was trying to keep him from wrapping up the story in two panels. But unless HYDRA's strike happened to coincide with a mystic duel, there's no reason to assume Strange would have all his defenses on max power. (Nasty waste of personal energy, if nothing else.)
    • Whether or not Thor is truly immortal is still a dangling question. He was deathly afraid of a 30,000 foot drop in The Avengers. It's a stupid risk for HYDRA to take, yes, but Thor's victory isn't quite foregone. (EDIT: Thor's immortality is Jossed outright in Thor: the Dark World; so those helicarriers could kill him, potentially).
      • HYDRA might not even be aware that Thor's around, and they might not be aware of how tough he actually is. As for Bruce, HYDRA probably doesn't know about the "Bruce Hulked out while trying to kill himself" thing so they might not be aware of how quickly he can transform when in danger. Also: they have giant super-targeting flying killing machines that could very easily find and target the friends and family of anybody that tried to attack them.
    • I like to think that the suicide attempt didn't work because Banner was aware of it, therefore his Hulk persona would also be aware and it subconsciously triggered before he could successfully kill himself. That won't necessarily work when you get blasted from an artillery cannon in orbit.
    • Remember, WE know that Banner shot himself in the head and survived. HYDRA doesn't know. Which means, yes, their plan was doomed from the get go. Why? Because they're Hydra and they suck.
      • HYDRA knows everything SHIELD knows. It's likely they know about Banner's suicide attempt since Black Widow and IIRC Fury were in the room when he mentioned it.
      • Even though they were in the room, that doesn't necessarily mean they turned that information over to SHIELD. Fury has shown himself capable of acts of compassion with Banner ... remember "we've even kept some interested parties off your scent" and his courtesy on the helicarrier? And I suspect Natasha regards him more as an ally at this point, given how easily she forgave him for the Hulk trying to kill her. Given the sympathetic looks they gave him when he confessed to his attempt, they may have decided that was a more private and personal issue and kept that secret to themselves. Fury has been known to keep secrets from SHIELD ... witness the number of safe houses he has and how few knew about Coulson's ultimate fate.
      • Even if they know, it was probably worth the try to eliminate Banner. Even if he Hulks out, well, what's exactly the Hulk going to do? He is not going to be able to find HYDRA (I certainly don't see the Hulk pulling the investigative work the heroes do in the movie), and he can't reach the Helicarriers.
  • There's too much focus on the hellicarriers, but there is a misconception there. Powerful as they may be, they wouldn't be the single weapons of Hydra. As you remember, they control Shield. Which means that they would have everything Shield has: Asgardian weapons, Chitauri weapons, Dark elf weapons, the Destroyer, the Berserker Staff, Loki's staff, the twins, the weapon that Coulson used against Loki, the many 084s, Donnie's weather machine, etc. They have plenty of option to dispose of the potential survivors of the first attack. All of them will fall as planned. Hail, Hydra!
  • Even if the helicarriers fail to kill Banner because he hulks out, there isn't exactly much he could do about it. They are intended to operate at sub-orbital heights after all, which would mean they're about 80 km/50 miles up in the air, a distance outside even the Hulk's reach. So, why not take a crack shot at him?
  • Looking at this from HYDRA's perspective - best case scenario, the aerial assassination works, and Target Banner is eliminated. Worst case scenario, Bruce Hulks out, smashes up a whole bunch of military and/or civilian targets that HYDRA doesn't give a flying frick about, and provides them with an excellent public front for their continued operations. Of course we need those SHIELD helicarriers. Just look at the Hulk! He's smashing stuff up everywhere and it's all anyone can do to just try and fend him off! Maybe we need even more helicarriers and funding for SHIELD!

    Smithsonian uniform 
  • The Captain America uniform in the Smithsonian: Is that supposed to be the one Steve was recovered wearing? It has a clear cosmetic difference (a middle red stripe, which the WWII one did not have), and unlike the WWII has no armored protection (Cap gets stabbed and shot multiple times, despite Howard Stark designing the suit to at least stop a knife). Was this a cheap replica that Cap wore?
    • My guess is that it was either (1) a cheap replica, and he wore it to be a symbol for the non-Hydra SHIELD agents, to give them hope. Also, the addition of more red to his uniform would help him stand out, which, while bad when it comes to the bad guys attacking, might also be useful when it's basically just him and Falcon, (and Falcon needs to be able to find him asap) or (2), an alternate suit that Howard had made, but Steve hadn't worn yet, one that was good for WWII and Hydra 1.0, but not good for modern-day bullets and Bucky's strength when it comes to stabbing people.
    • Howard designed the suit to be able to take a knife stab by an ordinary person, not a supersoldier stabbing with a metal arm. The suit does appear to be the actual one for Cap to have survived those bullets. The differing stripe may have just been an inaccurate addition by the museum when restoring the suit.
    • Even if it wasn't the same one, Steve may have still wanted to wear it to jog Bucky's memory, since the suit Bucky knew was red, white and blue, not the newer blue, white and black one.
    • The Smithsonian doesn't go for inaccurate replicas. If it was a replica, then it would be of the two stripe design. It is likely that it is genuine, and an alternate or spare that Howard had made, but didn't get much wear presumably. I don't recall Steve getting stabbed, but there was nothing about the first suit that would stop bullets.

    Masterminding 
  • The idea that HYDRA masterminded everything from JFK's assassination to the 9-11 attacks to most of the cold war really only works in a standalone movie. What about the Ten Rings and the Mandarin in the Iron Man series? Killian was a free agent, and so was Obadiah Stane.
    • While it's shown that HYDRA is responsible for a lot, that doesn't mean they're responsible for everything. They don't rule the world (yet), so there's still room for other organizations and free agents.
    • Also, it's not only possible that both Stane and Killian were somehow tied to HYDRA, it makes perfect sense. Both are pragmatic long-term schemers who don't mind killing a whole lot of people, and AIM is actually a HYDRA splinter group in the comics.
      • It would make perfect sense if they were presented as people who have any willingness whatsoever to share power. They don't.
      • Share power? No. But collude with anyone who will help them achieve their goals, including known terrorists? Yes.
      • Villains can work together in the short run even if they both intend to backstab the other in the long run.
    • And what about real world crazy people? John Hinckley Junior tried to kill Reagan because he thought it would impress Jodie Foster; there's no way Hydra could manipulate something like that.
    • They didn't need to micromanage everything to keep the world in chaos.
  • The idea that HYDRA had infiltrated SHIELD from its inception simply doesn't hold water in the grand scheme of things. Why didn't they arrange for Elvis' court martial, conviction, and life sentence to a brig? Why didn't they whack or frame Martin Luther King Jr. during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, or before? Why didn't they put (more) operators into the National Guard during the Kent State Massacre? How was it that SHIELD super science didn't knock North Vietnam out of that war? Why did they never try to overthrow Castro after the The Great Politics Mess-Up, or keep at least one Banana Republic going after the end of the Cold War? Why didn't they whack or frame Woodward and Bernstein, or for that matter, Deep Throat? Why didn't they blackmail the senators who voted for Bill Clinton's acquittal into voting for conviction? Why did they wait until 2008 to manipulate a presidential election after the 1972 one, or did the October Surprise happen on their watch? Most especially, how come the Militia/Posse Comitatus movement was cracked down on, rather than infiltrated and used as an ear to the ground? All of this simply jolted me out of the story until Cap and company left that bunker.
    • I'm to go with "because they can't control everything". Maybe they didn't happen to have an agent in charge on those cases. Maybe the agent was just incompetent. Maybe they weighed the risk of exposure with the risk of not acting and decided it wasn't worth it. No one ever said they had total control over everything SHIELD did, nor that they were omniscient or infallible.
    • Presumably because not doing any of those things helped them build the world that they wanted.
    • What would HYDRA have against Elvis?
      • Adolf Hitler and several other high ranking Nazis were on record as absolutely despising Jazz. Rock and roll would have been seen by Herr Schmidt and his disciples as The Same but More Up to Eleven. I know, we have Ike Turner, Big John Hooker, Little Richard, Chubby Checker, and arguably James Brown as antecedents, and Buddy Holly actually wrote his own material, but Elvis was the poster child to the masses.
      • HYDRA weren't Nazis with the same hatreds as Hitler. There's no reason whatsoever to expect Schmidt would hate Elvis, especially with so much of the Nazi and HYDRA leadership killed.
    • Because they were rebuilding their strength and didn't want to be too open about their operations. They had been almost destroyed in WWII, and were building up stealthily. Until later on, they weren't in a position to do everything they might have wanted to do.
    • It also makes it possible for people in-universe to ... well, ask that exact question, providing assurance that the idea that Hydra survived the death of Red Skull and infiltrated SHIELD is ridiculous.
    • And remember, there are still genuine S.H.I.E.L.D. agents present. If HYDRA let too much chaos go unchecked, they'd look incompetent and most likely disbanded. HYDRA specializes in planning for the long haul, so they need to pick and choose their battles carefully.
    • According to Zola, HYDRA's new aim (no, not A.I.M.)was to get people to voluntarily give up their freedom. One way to do that is by fomenting chaos. Yes, they could have killed MLK, Jr. much earlier- but that would have just stymied the civil rights movement. By waiting until he was a nationally known (and widely respected) leader, it caused a much bigger effect- people became more paranoid, questioning the government, other governments, the leadership and rank-and-file within the civil rights movement. Plus, why do you think HYDRA would want, say, Pres. Clinton to have been removed from office? Maybe he was working with them? The fact is, this is what's insidious about paranoid conspiracy theories- we don't know what "they" really want, and what "they" need to have happen.
    • It should be noted that SHIELD wasn't controlled by Hydra but manipulated by it. It's basically like having a bunch of Right Wing terrorists in the CIA. Yes, these guys can do a lot of damage but they aren't going to be omnipotent. Doubly so since Zola doesn't become a computer genius until the 70s.
    • In addition to the above points, it's entirely possible that the modern history of the MCU is simply different from the real world. In the MCU, maybe the Cold War lasted an extra 10 years (thanks to HYDRA), etc. etc..

    Hawkeye and the other Avengers 
  • So where is Hawkeye during all this? Like, it's not like the writers had no means to keep him away from the story: He's on an international assignment and can't return in time, he's retired after Loki mind-controlled him (We saw what effect it had on Selvig's sanity in Thor 2). But he's outright not mentioned. You'd think that with Black Widow's shared history with him, and precious few allies when she and the Captain are on the run, Hawkeye would be really high on their list of allies? Or at least they might at least mention they purposely avoid going to him because S.H.I.E.L.D. would immediately suspect him. Why does the character go almost completely ignored.
    • I think he actually did get mentioned, in a throwaway dialogue right before Cap, Sam, and Hill storm the satellite control room; two flight controllers are discussing somebody who won't be back from Afghanistan for a while, and that he owes one of them twenty bucks. I'll need to re-watch the movie to confirm.
    • Again, Hawkeye is part of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It would be incredibly easy for him to temporarily get Reassigned to Antarctica to keep him away from Cap and Natasha.
      • And that's assuming that he didn't quit or take a break from working for SHIELD after The Avengers. He could have been on another mission in another country.
    • No one thought about the Trust Issue that's been talked about for the whole movie? If the Winter Soldier is discovered as working under SHIELD this whole time, what bloody proof does Steve and Nat have that Hawkeye was not Winter Soldier version02? The answer is, they do NOT! And one wrong judgement call and they're dead. Filtering out the good guys from the bad guys are easy to do from the audiences' pov, not so in-universe. (And being an Avenger does not give him a pass, Steve doesn't trust Nat at first either.)
    • Thor 2 shows that Erik Selvig was thoroughly messed up by "having a god in his head", to the point of having an entire bag full of medication and having an episode that caused him to be briefly institutionalized. Hawkeye was under Loki's control for about the same time, so it's entirely possible he was undergoing therapy/assessment as to whether he was fit to return to active duty. Natasha was probably aware of this, and also that someone who isn't necessarily in their right mind isn't the best person to call when you have to stay under the radar.
    • This interview reveals Hawkeye was going to be in the movie, but his scene was cut because Jeremy Renner's schedule didn't have room for filming it.

  • Never mind Hawkeye, what about Hulk and Thor and Iron Man? Why doesn't Cap call them for help? Okay, maybe Thor is out of reach in Asgard, and maybe Cap doesn't trust Banner enough, but Tony Stark at least is exactly the sort of guy you'd want by your side if you're trying to infiltrate SHIELD's hi-tech facilities.
    • I was wondering why they didn't go talk to Tony too, and the explanation I came up with is that it's because he's in the middle of New York City in a tower teeming with all sorts of technical stuff. If you're trying to avoid being found by an organization that can hack into every security camera in the world, you probably don't want to be in a place that has a lot of cameras; even if SHIELD/HYDRA couldn't hack into Tony's network, they could have caught them while they were still outside.
    • Tony is one of the most media-scrutinized figures in the world. Tony doesn't do subtle or covert (As far as Natasha and Cap are concerned). Going to Tony is inviting a cruise missile to follow them.
    • Performing some quick checks via Google Maps and Travel Math, drive time (on a good day) from DC to upper New Jersey is about 3 and a half hours (it's 4 hours plus change to NYC proper before you deal with traffic). Flight time from NYC is 25 minutes if you're at a steady cruse of about 500 mph. While the Iron Man suits can certainly fly faster (assuming Movie Travel Time), even if Tony dropped everything as soon as Cap/Natasha/Hill called him right before they started their infiltration, by the time he [i]got[/i] there everything would be over, one way or another. (Would've made for an interesting Stinger, though!)
      • Sure, but they could've called as him soon as they started planning the infiltration, not when the operation was already running. The planning stage must've taken some time, because they had to come up with those memory cards they planted inside the helicarriers. And Cap and Black Widow don't necessarily have to walk to Tony's offices themselves, they just need to contact him some way. Since Nick Fury and Maria Hill found a way for her to infiltrate among HYDRA troops without them noticing it (when she saves Cap and Natasha from them), surely they can think of some undercover way of contacting Tony too. For example, why not use one of those hi-tech masks Natasha uses during the finale? We see that they are enough to fool HYDRA's surveillance devices.
      • It could be due to Fury warning Cap not to trust 'anybody. Remember, Fury mentioned that Tony had a hand in building the helicarriers. Cap could have thought there was a real possibility Tony or any of the other Avengers might have HYDRA loyalties.
      • Not to mention, S.H.I.E.L.D. would definitely be monitoring communications. Any call to Tony would have raised immediate red flags.
    • Same reason as above for Hawkeye: the Trust Issue. 1) Tony had a hand in designing the helicarriers; 2) the Project Insight drive has a highly advanced AI that kept overwriting its own system, which Tony is one of the few on Earth capable of making. These two reasons is enough to land Tony a place on the possible-traitor list, and Steve and Nat have no proof that Tony is clean. Not to also mention in The Avengers, Tony promised Steve to dig out all of SHIELD's dirty secrets that in this movie proved he did not, it could only mean one of two thing: Failed a Spot Check or he is dirty as well. Remember, one wrong judgement call then HYDRA wins. Filtering out the good guys from the bad guys are easy to do from the audiences' pov, sadly not so in-universe.
    • And there's the fact that he blew up all of his suits. Even if he decided to help, could he really build a new suit of armor quick enough?
      • Yes, but he would have to be in a cave with a box of scraps.
      • Yes, for real; it's done in both the first Iron Man movie as well as in Avengers. Tony's automated fabricators can build a full suit in a matter of hours, and there's a fabricator in Stark Tower, which, unlike his home, is still standing.
      • A throwaway comment from Pierce ("You have to get Iron Man to come to my nephew's birthday party") indicates that Stark is still running around in the Iron Man suit, which places this movie before Iron Man 3. Just something to keep in mind.
      • I'm not so sure about that. We know that this movie takes place during the latter part of Agents of SHIELD Season 1, and the first episode has Mike Peterson dosed with Extremis, with Coulson mentioning that it's new. Granted Extremis was around for more than the few days of Iron Man 3, but it would have been easier for Centipede to get their hands on it if the group creating it, AIM, was already disbanded.
  • It could be their protection, as well. Bruce has enough trouble with authorities, and Tony is in a much more stable life than the others, not to mention, he's presumably out of the game at this point, per Iron Man 3's ending.
    • Other works have confirmed that Tony is still Iron Man. But I would stick with the "protection" explanation. HYDRA is rather blatantly trying to kill Captain America in public whenever they get the chance, and only hold back once because it would have been them clearly executing a national icon while he's not resisting arrest. For all they know Hawkeye's neck-deep in HYDRA sleepers right now and calling him is signing his death warrant, Tony's already had people blow up his house once, Thor doesn't have a phone and Banner is not the sort of guy you'd need for the subtle, delicate jobs they're going through (plus when trying to hide, having someone who can turn into a giant green monster isn't very conductive).

     CIA's job? 
  • What exactly is the CIA's job in this film and the greater MCU in general? Before you go saying it doesn't exist, it clearly does, Sharon Carter (agent 13), joined it after SHIELD dissolved. Yet SHIELD seems to hold all of the real life CIA's jurisdiction and duties. So what does it do?
    • It always looked like the CIA's purpose was Gathering, and SHIELD's was Execution. In other words, in the MCU, the establishment of sources and info to set up Operation Success was the responsibility of the CIA, and SHIELD was the group to actually overthrow President Arbentz.
    • Also, S.H.I.E.L.D. is quite clearly portrayed as a multinational organization, or at least answers to a multinational Council. The CIA is a domestic agency and only answers to the US Government. The US would want to use the CIA for situations it doesn't want S.H.I.E.L.D. involved in.
  • SHIELD was more like the NSA and didn't "officially" exist per Iron Man. It's not until the Avengers that the organization "comes out of the closet." I wouldn't be surprised, in fact if the organization wasn't drastically increased in funding and power once Thor and aliens were proven to exist.
  • The CIA was mentioned to be in existance since Iron Man, where it is one of a number of agencies that debrief Tony upon his return. Presumably, they do much of what they do in real life, and perhaps there is overlap with SHIELD, but I imagine they serve American interests foremost.

     "Hail Hydra." 
  • Why are high-profile political figures just walking around, whispering "hail Hydra" to each other? Isn't that a pretty massive security risk — with no real benefit in exchange? Every time they say it, all they do is risk being overheard or recorded, especially considering the level of espionage technology seen in the rest of the movie. Seems like the more reasonable thing to do would be to bury all ties to the old Hydra brand altogether — the name, the logo, the salute, everything — and simply accept SHIELD as its new face.
    • HYDRA is not just a secret organization, though. They're more like a cult, with many of their members being fanatically devoted to their cause and even seeing the Red Skull as some kind of god. They whisper "Hail HYDRA" almost as an affirmation of their faith, so they're not going to drop that practice, despite the risks (though since they control a lot of the surveillance, they probably don't worry too much about being watched.)
    • They probably don't say "Hail Hydra" to each other all the time. They're probably just saying it now, because their master plan is so close to success. Heck, they think that they killed Nick Fury! So I imagine that some of them are starting to feel cocky, and they're taking dumb risks like saying "Hail Hydra" to each other.
  • Also, it's kind of like saying "Sieg Heil" before the events of the movies. It's TASTELESS but it's not something that people would get up in arms about. As for the whole business with still maintaining their old name, logo, and so on—I suspect the Red Skull has some power as an icon to right-wing ideologues.
    • Even right-wing ideologues would have trouble using such an infamous mass-murderer as a rallying symbol. Remember that HYDRA didn’t just invade a foreign nation; they tried to nuke a dozen major American cities. Using Red Skull as an Icon would be like building a shrine to Osama-bin-laden in a public thoroughfare.
    • If a high-profile senator was found to be whispering "Sig Heil" to people and keeping a picture of Hitler in his home, that would certainly spell the end of his career, but it probably would not lead people to believe the Nazis had infiltrated every level of government. Until Nick Fury and Captain America blew the lid off their conspiracy, there was no reason to even suspect HYDRA even still existed, much less controlled a lot of the government. One of their operatives being overheard would likely ruin that operative's life, but not actually pose a risk to the organization as a whole. At least until people started to realize HYDRA was still around.

    Hydra's Plan 

  • Ships that big usually have crews in the thousands. So if Hydra managed to sneak (say) 100 loyal agents on board, they'd be outnumbered 10:1, and even if they could hold key points like the bridge and engineering for a short period of time, they'd never be able to do that and protect the actual guns and engines from sabotage.
    • They had the ships as automated as possible, and put all their own men on them. While Cap was making his speech, some HYDRA agents walked up to the normal SHIELD guys guarding the entrance ramps and gunned them down—presumably, the agents already onboard were cleaning house at the same time.
  • The helicarriers are painfully vulnerable to conventional weapons. We know the USAF exists due to the Iron Man movie. Even if Hydra controls the ships completely, they'll last maybe a day or two before being crushed under shear weight of numbers and/or the avengers showing up.
    • Which is why the helicarriers will kill off all the generals, admirals, and other military leaders who are likely to rise up. By the time they're done, anyone left will be HYDRA or too scared to fight back.
    • The Insight satellites can track thousands of targets at once and can target and destroy thousands of targets in seconds at hundreds of miles thanks to Zola's program. They would, quite literally, be able to swat anything that comes after them out of the sky short of saturation bombing with nuclear weapons.
    • Don't forget that it is specifically mentioned that thanks to Stark's repulsors doing the lift, the Helicarriers normally would be operating on sub-orbital altitudes, way beyond the reach of most militaries. And that's not even counting that they are very stealthy machines for their size.
  • Alternatively, if Hydra has the capacity to coordinate a global strike against every military base or ship capable of damaging the helicarriers, then they don't need the helicarriers.
    • See above.
  • With the death of even a few thousand, let along 20 million, SHIELD would have been torn to pieces, and while HYDRA could have tried to ride that mob, that much attention only risks their direct exposure.
    • This was their coming out party. They would be exposed, yes, but everyone who would raise a hand against them would be dead.
    • I'm not sure "the plan wouldn't have worked in the long run" is a huge plot hole. If a terrorist organization is going to kill 20 million people, including world leaders, it doesn't really matter all that much whether this actually leads to them achieving their broader goal from the point of view of those tasked with stopping the initial massacre. Or from the 20 million people in question, for that matter.
  • SHIELD was under the command of Pierce by that point. It's very possible he completely loaded the helicarriers with Hydra personnel and yes, they could have numbered in the thousands.
    • They most likely did. in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tie-in, Victoria Hand says that very few people have been passing her test to root out loyal agents. If they weren't members before, they'd join when their lives were threatened.
    • They probably also had a disproportionate number of agents at the bases, prepared to take them over as Project Insight went forward. It would have been child's play to shuffle the loyal SHIELD agents around a bit, have them cut off or out on missions or whatever as much as possible.
  • Hey, why did Pierce assume that Zola was done for? Given that he's now an AI, couldn't Zola have created a virtual back-up of himself?
    • Zola's computer system took up a whole room, so he may have assumed he couldn't back himself up so easily. That doesn't mean he didn't do it, but his survival was in no way ensured.
    • A whole room of computers from the 1970's. That much processing power is now about as much as your average cell phone. As a comparison standard, the Cray-1 supercomputer, the most powerful room full of processors known to Earth in the 70s in real life, ran at about 80 megaflops worth of processing power and several hundred megabytes worth of data storage. An iPhone 5 has in excess of 300 megaflops and up to 64 gigabytes of data storage.
    • Yes but the point is that Pierce would probably not expect Zola to be able to back himself up. He would not be likely to know if Zola's '70s supertech was even compatible with modern technology; the USB ports imply that it was in some way, but Pierce probably didn't know that.
    • Zola probably could have made a backup for himself, but what was he going to store said backup on? I didn't see any servos in the bunker that could have slotted a drive into that port, meaning he would have to get a human down there to "move" him. I'll bet a hot-fudge sundae that Pierce kept very close control over physical access to the bunker. As to why Pierce didn't tell Zola to make a backup and send an agent in to collect it ... it would have been a reasonable precaution, all I can guess is that either Pierce or Zola couldn't believe it would ever be needed.
    • Our heroes carried about a high-capacity USB stick, folks, connecting it into the computer system that was Zola. It could easily hold the equivalent data that comprised Zola, based on what we saw. Since someone went through the trouble of installing one USB hub into that ancient device, why couldn't there be a second?
      • There's nothing even saying for sure if Zola was actually on the computers in that room. Our heroes hardly had time to examine the entire place to make sure that there weren't any outgoing network connections, after all. One external landline and shazam, Zola could have uploaded himself last month and just be showing a remote image on a screen and on the speakers (while simultaneously turning all the lights and computers on to make it appear that he's still there). After all, right now you are reading this message on a monitor screen that is likely thousands of miles away from where it was originally entered in...
  • Hydra has worked out that you can't take people freedom by force because they will fight you, so they have created a world so chaotic that people are willing to surrender their freedom. But their plan is just another power grab. And a government agency murdering 20 million people would pretty much end any thoughts of surrendering freedom. Why blow all that effort on the same old mistakes?

     How does Hydra inspire so much loyalty? 
  • HYDRA's agenda is already controversial enough to alienate most people immediately, and that's before all their atrocities are taken into consideration. For example, most of the HYDRA agents in this movie are American, even though HYDRA came within seconds of annihilating a dozen major American cities in the previous movie. Heck, many of the HYDRA agents we saw were probably directly threatened by the attack back in WWII, yet they were able to recruit thousands of highly competent, zealous supporters from the same population they nearly wiped out.
    • Zola's algorithm was designed to identify people who could be a potential threat to HYDRA. It could very easily be purposed to also identify those who would be easily recruitable to HYDRA. From there, he just has to run the program and HYDRA would have no trouble recruiting the few hundred people who are both competent and willing to join to make up the numbers of HYDRA agents seen in the movie.
    • As far as their fanatical loyalty, that's Truth in Television right there. History is full of examples of batshit crazy groups that somehow acquired a legion of followers willing to die for their cause. Think The Third Reich, Al Qaeda, Charles Manson, etc...
    • As point out on the Fridge page, Hydra's goals of total control is exactly what would appeal to some of the control freaks that would be interested in joining SHIELD in the first place. Even guys like Fury and Coulson seemed to believe that the world couldn't be trusted to look after itself without SHIELD pulling strings and watching from the shadows. Hydra's just taking it to the next step.
    • Zola could play up the "control" aspect of HYDRA and downplay the "founded by Nazis" part of it. If he and Pierce can convince people that HYDRA's reformed as a "good" organization who just wants to keep everybody safe, they'd be more likely to join them. If people get hold of something they are emotionally invested in they tend to overlook or dismiss the bad parts of it.
    • Agents of SHIELD shows exactly how HYDRA recruited its members, Ward being the prime example.
    • How do real-world horrible ideologies find so many devoted followers? In any sufficiently large population, you're going to find a finite amount of total shits.

    Shouldn't they have filtered the information? 
  • Okay, so putting all of the information online is the best way to take down HYDRA, even if it means sacrificing SHIELD. But why not filter it a little? We know that Natasha, Fury, Steve, Hill, and the majority of Coulson's team in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. honestly believed that they were working towards the goals that SHIELD was supposed to be working toward — protecting people. Shouldn't they have at least filtered out the deep cover agents who were currently working and any agents in hiding from people they had gone after? Those people would probably be sitting ducks who would be completely unaware of anything going down with HYDRA, and Natasha, Fury, Steve, and Hill are just setting them up to be found and murdered. That seems very strange, especially when Natasha's exact goal is to wipe the red from her ledger. How many innocent agents are going to be murdered as a direct result of their actions?
    • If we assume they didn't act like complete morons when releasing the SHIELD data, cover identities and other things that could get SHIELD agents killed would have been filtered.
    • If nothing else, it could have been done in stages. First comes all the outdated info, with a warning to active agents that the rest is coming in a few hours or days and to get out of there.
    • Also, HOW do you think they could filtered such massive information in such a short time? Thinking it from the audiences' pov is easy, but in-universe? NO! If Alexander Pierce and Jasper Sitwell can be dirty, then freaking Hawkeye can be the Winter Soldier version02 and Iron Man can be responsible for writing the Insight AI.
      • They could have just not released the sections on undercover operations and then they could have gone to hunt down the different people who are undercover and find out whose side they were on.
    • SHIELD at that point was too far gone to save. The only way to completely root out HYDRA influence was to expose everything.
      • So any and all loyal SHIELD agents who get murdered because of this are just acceptable losses? Personally, I hope Natasha gets this thrown back in her face in a future movie. Preferably by someone on her side.
      • Not necessarily. I've seen this suggested before, but here's something people keep forgetting: Standard protocol for deep undercover assets (as in long-term ones, not ones going undercover for a quick mission) tends to include erasing their identities prior, including deleting all files on them, just in case their files get leaked and in the hands of those they're going undercover of. Everything about the agents undercover would no longer be on record, and the only people who'll know of their existence would be their handler, and all record of their mission would be kept in the form of a journal rather than a data file. While they leaked everything that was on file, all the undercover assets would still have their identities.
    • On the issue of Coulson's team, this is addressed in Agents of SHIELD when Coulson erases his team's identities from the SHIELD database.

     The world is stabilizing, not falling apart. 

  • The lynchpin of HYDRA's plan was to make the world so chaotic that people would be willing to accept their extreme agenda. The problem with this is that human history was far more hectic in the time before Hydra existed. The disasters encountered in the modern age are minor annoyances when compared to the fall of Rome, the dark ages, the great crusades, or the Black Death. In spite of all the controversy and hardships we face today, mankind is more tolerant, safe, and lacking in paranoia than ever before. The world is becoming MORE stable, not less.
    • You're thinking of the real world... Not the Marvel Universe, which has already had to deal with at least two separate alien invasions, multiple giant mutated monsters, terrorists with futuristic technology, evil businessmen with robot armies, vengeful gods, and all sorts of other bizarre threats in the past few years alone. HYDRA should have no problem feeding off and adding to the paranoia created by these insane, and often unexplainable events.
    • ....and? HYDRA's destabilization plot became active post-World War II, a world which was one of the most unstable places imaginable.
    • This was literally the entire point. HYDRA stated with this, as pointed out, right after WW2. The world is more stable because their plan is working. They are getting the control, the slow surrendering of freedoms, etc. Insight was the culmination of that.
      • This explanation is what was presented in the movie. Hydra creates a distrubance (chaos) and then offer a solution (order) that comes at a price (freedom). So, while the world may be as ordered as it has been in a long time, that order was manufactured by Hydra.
      • Just to elaborate on this a little, people get very comfortable with things and get antsy when things try to change. While the present day world doesn't have the all-encompassing conflicts and major (human-made) disasters that were seemingly prevalent in the mid-twentieth century, there are a lot more creature comforts in the First World than there were before. Think of Steve's words at the beginning of the movie: "Food's better. We used to boil everything. And the Internet!" And we're all used to that. Imagine if it was taken away, or even just threatened. Hydra has been subtly manipulating things so that, while overall stability is increasing, regional instability is actually more threatening to the average way of life, rather than less threatening, and the rapid/instant transmission of data and news around the world only serves to increase anxiety. It used to be that things that happened in Europe were interesting but did not really impact US citizens personally, and if they did hear about them, it was days later. Now, we hear about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine every day, and how that could erupt into global catastrophe. It's not hard at all to play on that angle.

    SHIELD being Disbanded 

  • The World Security Council has decided that SHIELD needs to go. But it was the world's first and foremost defence against aliens of outer-space who are now aware of earth. Who is going to take over that job now? NATO?
    • Remember, the Widow made public everything about SHIELD. Every dirty secret, every case where they may have gone too far, every exotic WMD, and even the real identities of their agents. It's less about letting SHIELD go, and more of a black ops agency that depends of secrecry, being impossible to be kept running after such a move.
    • They've got other national agencies to pick up the slack. As for alien threats, they've got the Avengers, as well as all the other emerging heroes to help on that front. Plus SHIELD isn't totally gone. Some are still operating under the radar like Fury, Coulson's team and a few other facilities that managed to resist being taken by Hydra.
    • They'll just rebuild SHIELD from the ground up. If HYDRA can rise from the ashes, so can SHIELD.
    • If you've seen the finale for Season 1 of Agents of SHIELD, you'll know that this this is pretty much what Coulson and his team have been tasked with, now with Phil as the head of the remains of SHIELD.

    Natasha vs. Pierce 

  • Why didn't Natasha just shrug off the coat with the death-pin on it? It seems pretty obvious that she can kill a man in under four seconds; removing a coat doesn't seem more difficult.
    • The coat was buttoned, and Pierce's finger was hovering over the button. She ran the numbers and didn't like her chances of being faster than him on the draw... but electricity is always faster than a human finger. So she shocked herself and the pin.
      • Now, why did he start with detonating the pins on the two non-threat ambassadors? He completely had the drop on Natasha, and she was the only one in the room that was both an immediate threat and wearing a pin. Start with her, kill the other two at leisure—or at the very least, set off all the pins at once. But no...
      • Seriously? Did you forget that Fury was armed and the only thing keeping him from shooting Pierce was the fact that he had the pin ready to detonate?
  • Follow-up question when did Natasha become so Genre Blind that she didn't realize the pin was a death-trap? I personally would have yanked the pin off my coat the instant I dropped my disguise.
    • This is one of those "hindsight is 20/20" cases.

     "I want Iron Man at my niece's birthday party." 

  • Wait, what? Tony blew up all his suits and moved on. Iron Man isn't really a thing anymore. In fact, considering the fact that Cap 2 takes place a whopping two years after the Battle of New York, Iron Man hasn't been a thing for at least...what, a year and a half now? Shouldn't Pierce know about that? I mean, Tony Stark still exists, and the movie shows that he's still doing work for SHIELD, but somehow, I don't get the feeling a bunch of kids would be that interested in a fairly ordinary human inventor. Or if this is supposed to be an indication that Tony's actually taken up being a hero again, why reveal that in a throwaway line in a completely separate movie?
    • From what I gather Tony moved on from a few things, but he didn't move on from being Iron Man. He removed the ark reactor from his chest and blew up his fancy armors, he says something to the effect of "I will always be Iron Man.". My understanding is that he'll stop relying on the armors and spending his entire existance consumed by the burden of Iron Man (like he was in the second and third movies), but will still wear the suit to fight.
    • Between this and the few hints in Agents of SHIELD that Iron Man is still around, and it seems they're just throwing in nods that he hasn't totally quit. He presumably just doesn't build Armors 24/7 now while being an emotional wreck. In fact if you look closely you see in this very film that Tony's not only at Stark Tower during the finale, but it's been changed to Avengers Tower with the Avengers stylized "A" on it now. And we know he'll be Avengers 2 and 3. So yeah, Iron Man's still around in some capacity.
    • If by "fairly normal human inventor" you mean "the man who invented iron Man, is the CEO of one of the most powerful advanced technology corporations int he world and is also the savior of New York City who nuked an entire invading alien army" then yeah, you'd be pretty accurate on that assessment. Even without the Iron Man armor Tony Stark is kind of a big deal.
      • Tell all that to a little girl expecting to see a human-sized action figure. She will cry "BOOOORING!!!!"
    • For what it's worth, we're only assuming the 77 year old Robert Redford's niece is a little girl. She may well be 40 and interested in meeting Tony Stark.
      • That fits nicely with Pierce's line "and not just a flyby, [Iron Man]'s gotta mingle".
    • Tony can go back to being Ironman whenever he wants, him blowing up the armors at the end of IM 3 was purely symbolic and is not by any means a definitive thing. Remember, it took for the automated process in the first film just scant hours to put up a new armor, and Tony most likely has streamlined it a lot more since then.
      • Agreed. We saw the suits get destroyed - NOT the blueprints or the manufacturing facilities.
      • Also, remember what JARVIS called destroying all the suits? The Clean Slate protocol. As in start from scratch, not end the program.

    Combat 
  • Shouldn't Black Widow's garrote have torn Winter Soldier's flesh fingers off? The mono-wire metal garrote she's using is designed for cutting the jugular vein rather than strangling.
    • Armour on his hands? Or the garrotte is not used to cut the jugular considering it's depiction in past movies (Iron Man 2 for instance, where she basically suspends a guy from the roof, or the fight where there's no bloodshed).
    • Even if it was designed to cut rather than to strangle, the Winter Soldier is a super soldier with blatantly superhuman strength and toughness on par with Cap. Widow is ostensibly, a normal human being, though certainly one more competent than real world humans. Winter Soldier and Cap are nowhere even close to normal human beings in terms of stats. There's only so much leverage can do against vastly superior strength and toughness when skill levels are so similar.

    How deep is Zola's bunker? 
  • Zola's underground chamber seems to go at least five stories deep into the ground. Yet when the missile blows the place up, the resulting crater doesn't appear to be more than a dozen or so feet deep.
    • The United States military has developed "BLU-118/B" thermobaric missiles that can kill targets buried as deep as 1,100 feet.
      • That's nice and all, but what I'm trying to point out is that there seems to be an inconsistency in terms of how deep the bunker is. The elevator that Cap and Natasha take into the bunker appears to go at least five stories deep. Yet after bunker is blown up and Rumlow goes into the crater to investigate, it doesn't look more than twenty feet deep.
      • We also don't see how LARGE the CRATER is... We only see bits of the wreckage, there's likely a LOT more, and we're just seeing the area of that sub-basement room. We don't get any wide shots there, just mid-range ones.

    HYDRA's plan after the massacre 
  • A government, no matter how powerful, needs the will of the people to rule. The technical term for this is Legitimacy, but it boils down to the fact that all governments and armies, (especially high-tech armies,) requiring civilian support to continue functioning. Even a tyranny will collapse if the citizens who produce food decide to stop feeding the soldiers. My point is, even if Hydra’s plan had worked, and the high-profile targets were eliminated, Hydra would then be stuck trying to control a massive population that hates their guts. (You couldn’t kill everybody; you would either be left with nothing to control, or eventually run out of ammo.)
    • The population would obey out of fear of HYDRA, and because the plan would create a peaceful world where people would be safer. It's basically Nazi Germany writ large, except instead of genocide along racial lines, it's carefully planned genocide based on who is too dangerous to let live. Also note that the helicarriers weren't going to fire once and be done with it; they were going to keep running that algorithm and keep finding and killing anyone who would be a threat until there were no threats left.
      • The brutal destruction of current threats has a tendency to create new threats that didn't exist before. All their targets probably had friends and family willing to avenge them, and even complete strangers would be outraged at the murder of so many people. Hydra may have destroyed the potential ringleaders, but they would have had resistance from virtually the entire population.
      • Also, even if you managed subdued the population, how would you get them to enact your mandate? Laws need to be enforced, and as powerful as three helecarriers are, they can't be everywhere at once, and have finite ammunition. With so much hatred directed at HYDRA, and with such a massive population to oversee, HYDRA would have had a tough time keeping whatever control they gained.
      • It doesn't matter if they can't be everywhere and have limited ammunition. They only need to have enough ammunition and be able to get to whatever place in a timely manner to do their jobs. Remember, these things can track by DNA and are pinpoint accurate. I think you're underestimating just how much of a threat they are. The vast majority of people are going to be cowed by orbiting death vessels which could pick them off at a moment's notice, and HYDRA only needs to maintain the barest of supply lines to keep those things running pretty much forever. It's very likely most major governments would immediately acquiesce to spare their populations, and whatever resistance that popped up would not be beyond their ability to eliminate.
      • Of course that HYDRA can create a stable dictatorship. Big Brother did so with just mass surveillance, "thought police" and other simple tricks; The Party never had a giant orbital machine gun in the sky ready to kill all thought criminals.
    • HYDRA thinks it's working for the good of mankind; they probably think that everyone else will soon see what a good job they're doing keeping order and accept them as their leaders. It's possible someone could organize an effective resistance without HYDRA noticing or even considering that one would exist, they are pretty full of themselves.
      • That's the purpose of Zola's algorithm. Anyone with the political office (the president), the popularity (Tony Stark), the resources (Nick Fury) or the skills (a random student) to be a potential leader or threat is killed in advance. The dark version of Fury's "We're gonna neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen."
  • Hey, wait a second. Who would know about the origin of the attack? They simply have to kill all the non-aligned people aware of the project. Then, it could be easy for HYDRA/SHIELD to blame some random straw alien terrorist threat for the attack, and show that the new "Project Insight" will be able to deal with it and avenge all those people who have been murdered. And so, the survivors would gladly support them, and willingly give up their freedom for their protection. It sounds diabolical, but it would work. A similar idea worked in Watchmen and in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
  • If you think it's impossible to rule a large number of people via fear, then answer me this: How exactly did the Nazis manage to control Germany? Hydra's plan is a lot like that, just on a larger scale. (I'm not saying it would necessarily work IRL, but I understand the idea of it.)
  • I think Hydra's plan could work in the short term, but the brutal murder of 20 million people would likely provoke the population to rise up against Hydra. Not immediately mind you, Insight likely would cow the masses for a time, and even the inevitable revolts against Hydra would likely end with the helicarriers destroying them as well. However since Hydra would likely be focusing so much on such a massive internal threat, they would likely be caught off guard by another alien invasion. They might be able to win, they might not, but in the end it doesn't really matter what Hydra's plan is for the aftermath. To paraphrase a troper above me in the "Hydra's Plan" folder, whether or not Hydra's plan works in the long run is irrelevant, Fury and Cap want to ensure that the massacre doesn't happen, they aren't thinking "why bother, Hydra's plan is going to fail regardless," they want to ensure that it will completely fail.

    Untraceable bullets 
  • "Soviet slug, no rifling, completely untraceable". Shouldn't that be a very big clue in and of itself? The production values required to produce such a slug, or the machinery required, should narrow down the list of candidates to a dozen or so, if that. Sure, HYDRA will probably sabotage the search, but they didn't even try?
    • Traceable, in this case, is narrowing down the bullet to a specific weapon being fired. Presumably, the first few assassinations were truly untraceable, before it became apparent that this was the Winter Soldier's MO.
    • The rifling on the bullet comes from being forced through the rifled barrel of a gun, not from the bullet manufacturing process, so a slug with "no rifling" presumably came from a smoothbore gun. Even if that information was enough to track down the manufacturer of the gun, it won't necessarily lead to the person who is currently in possession of the weapon. However, the "no rifling" feature does lead to another headscratcher—rifling in the barrel of a gun serves to stabilize the bullet (by giving it a controlled spin) and improve accuracy. If the goal is simply to avoid the bullet being traced back to the Winter Soldier and his handlers, wouldn't it be more productive to either keep the Winter Soldier's gun hidden along with the Winter Soldier himself or to destroy and replace each gun after it's used, rather than sacrificing accuracy by using a smoothbore gun?
    • Yes, that's exactly what I was talking aboutnote . The ability to create a smoothbore weapon of such superb quality should be able to narrow down your search considerably. The fact that the slugs would be necessarily be tailor-made for that exact amazing weapon should just be sending up more red flags; this isn't some factory-produced cartridge, these are basically hand-crafted by a billionaire, like an Iron Man suit.
    • It would be simpler, and much more untraceable, to just use regular bullets and replace the rifled barrel after each kill.
    • Obviously the point of the Winter Soldier isn't just to be untraceable, but also to be larger than life. The bullet is a calling card and at the same time untraceable. There are better ways to make it untraceable, of course, but then it's just some random guy and not a ghost.
    • To top it all off, if these bullets are supposedly untraceable, how does anyone know they're Soviet in origin?
      • By analyzing the metal content — different lots of ammunition have slightly different metallic compositions, to the point where you can identify not only individual manufacturers but (with sufficient precision) individual production runs. The 'untraceable' part is that its impossible to trace the bullet back to which specific weapon it was fired from, not that its impossible to know it was a bullet.
      • Natasha is a former Soviet assassin. If anyone on S.H.I.E.L.D. were to know those bullets were Soviet-made, it'd be her. She may have even used them herself before she reformed.

    What happened to the first Helicarrier from "The Avengers"? 
  • Where was it when all this was going on? Did it get decommissioned after the events of "The Avengers" or something?
    • The function of the original Helicarrier seems to be analogous to that of the National Emergency Airborne Command Post — its intended to function as a backup command center during time of war, one that can conceal itself and move around so it is less vulnerable to enemy attack. Ergo, the one place it will never be is in the same location as SHIELD headquarters — i.e., in and around where the movie was taking place.
    • That doesn't explain why Shield's coolest vehicle wasn't even mentioned in the movie. Hell, the Insight helicarriers were a pretty big part of the film, and they drug to mind the original. Wouldn't the original be able to fight the Insight carriers? Or provide some sort of tactical support? Or even get mentioned?!?
    • Seeing as the original had old HYDRA WWII tech stored onboard, it's plausible that it had HYDRA folk within its crew.

    The Councilwoman's current status. 
  • Is it safe to assume that the Councilwoman who the Black Widow disguises herself as is still alive at the end of the movie?
    • I think the director or someone said she is.

    Sharon and the CIA 
  • Sharon is a SHIELD Agent. SHIELD was infiltrated and compromised by HYDRA. According to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, SHIELD has been branded a terrorist organization, with its members being hunted down, questioned, and at times, detained. Hill just manages to stay a free woman by informing for the government, and even then she is mistrusted and has an FBI detail watching her at all times. So how does Sharon manage not only to avoid all that but get a job with the CIA as well?
    • It stands to reason that not every SHIELD agent is going to be arrested and detained. They're going after the team in Agents of SHIELD because, despite SHIELD being disbanded, they are still actively proclaiming to be SHIELD. I.e., they're actively being members of an organization branded as terrorist. People like Sharon—low on the totem pole, and who willingly left SHIELD and are no longer professing to be part of it—are going to be valuable for other intelligence and enforcement agencies.
      • Hill has renounced SHIELD, and was instrumental in its downfall as well. Yet she remains under suspicion. That Sharon was lower in the pecking order doesn't explain why she'd be more reliable, as HYDRA had sleepers on all levels.
      • Two points. One, Maria remains 'under suspicion' from Stark, who was already suspecting everything connected with SHIELD several movies ago. Two, the unofficial motto of CIA's counterintelligence division is "In God We Trust - All Others We Polygraph", so her being given a job interview on a lie detector machine is not incompatible with her being hirable by the CIA if she'd chosen to apply.
      • Hill remains under suspicion from the FBI. It is they are who are tailing her. Stark is actually employing her, and providing her with a veritable army of lawyers.
    • Maybe the CIA just feels really confident about its ability to spot double agents. The thinking might be "SHIELD was massively infiltrated, but we've never had that sort of problem. We're better at this than they are." So they'd be willing to accept former SHIELD agents, so long as they passed the vetting process. (And don't forget, former SHIELD agents are the sorts of people who have lots of skills that the CIA cares about.)
    • Or maybe Sharon was on the Insight kill list that the Black Widow publicly dumped on the Internet as part of the massive transparency thing, and the CIA went 'Well, HYDRA probably didn't list themselves on the kill list.'
      • Again, Maria definitely was on the kill list.
      • This would also explain why Hill trusted Tony Stark, when any big name associated with SHIELD would be suspect; his name was on the kill list too.

     Nick Fury & Star Wars 
  • Steve has Star Wars on his list. Samuel L. Jackson is in Star Wars. What is the Captain going to think when he sees his boss in the movies?
    • It's a Celebrity Paradox. Oh, and the girlfriend of Thor is also in that movie...
    • The very reason why Samuel L. Jackson is playing Nick Fury is because he saw a comic where Ultimate Nick Fury says in a movie he would want to be played by SMJ. That means SMJ and Nick Fury exist in the Ultimate universe and look identical. Therefore it's a plausible guess that the same holds true for the MCU.
      • This is beside the point, but for the record, that's not precisely true. They got the rights to Jackson's image when they were first designing Ultimate Fury in exchange for giving Jackson first dibs on playing him if they ever made a movie. That's why that whole conversation about who would play who in a movie exists — it's a nod at the fourth wall acknowledging the real-life circumstances behind Ultimate Fury's creation. Jackson didn't just happen to see that comic and roll with it.
      • Not according to Wikipedia.
    "When the character resurfaced in 2002 in The Ultimates, he had been redesigned to look like actor Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson did not originally give his consent for Marvel Comics to use his likeness in their redesign of the Fury character for The Ultimates, and first appeared with this revised look in The Ultimates #1, as drawn by Bryan Hitch. The similarity is even noted within the comic itself, in a scene in which the Ultimates discuss who they think should play each of them in a hypothetical movie about the team. Fury's answer for himself is "Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, of course, no discussion." It was only after seeing the redesigned Nick Fury in the first issue of The Ultimates that Samuel L. Jackson learned of the use of his likeness and contacted Marvel in order to secure the role of Nick Fury in any future movies which will feature the character."
    • ...or the movies in this universe could have slightly different casts? ...or TOTALLY different casts? It's a different universe, people.
      • I would go for Arnold Schwarzenegger as Thor, Silvester Stallone as Captain America, and Jim Carrey as Iron Man.
    • In the MCU, he's played by Laurence Fishburne.

     Smithsonian exhibit 
  • After all the Avengers Mania after the Battle for Manhattan, how does the Smithsonian not know Steve is alive? And the kid who recognizes Steve is acting as if he's seeing his hero, not as if he's seeing someone back from the dead. I'm sure that Cap's banner lists his dates as 1918-1945, just as Bucky's banner gives his dates as 1917-1944? Is this some of the footage that was filmed for Avengers and not used there? And if so, couldn't they have done a CGI correction?
    • Do they know that Steve is alive? They know that a man sporting the Captain America uniform (which includes a mask) took part in the battle of New York, alongside other super heroes. Captain America was the result of a military experiment. Rather than think that Steve is back from the dead, it may be more realistic for the public to believe that the experiment was finally successfully replicated, and that the modern Captain America is some Legacy Character of the original one.
    • They know Steve's alive. Part of the exhibit discusses him coming back, and there's a quote on the wall from President Ellis proclaiming "Welcome back, Captain."
      • One of the voiceovers also mentions that Bucky was the only one to give his life in service to his country.
    • The simplest and most likely answer is that the Smithsonian have had an exhibit to Captain America and the Howling Commandos since the 50s, which stood largely unchanged in basic information for the last 60 years and just hasn't been brought fully up to date since the Battle of New York revealed Cap was alive.
      • An even simpler answer is that Sam, a retired Airman who probably doesn't have that kind of security clearance, easily recognizes Steve as Captain America, even knowing the name "Steve Rogers", so it would appear the public knows.

     Targets of Project Insight 
  • Project Insight uses Zola's algorithms to determine whether anyone is a potential threat and thus liable for extermination based on their online data. However, how would the weapon determine targets if they don't use technology? For example, the Amish don't use technology in their day-to-day lives unless absolutely necessary. Would they still get information accurate to determine their threat level? Additionally, Insight is willing to go so far as eliminate a student with high test scores on the possibility that he will once day become a credible threat. However, wouldn't it be more fruitful if they just took this potential threat and indoctrinated him into the Hydra philosophy and have him become part of the organization where he can apply his skills where they want him. Even if he doesn't have the personality for that kind of thing, can't they just covertly deny him access to anything that would make him a threat in the first place, like diverting internet access, controlling street lights so he doesn't get to work on time, or sent in operatives in disguise to divert him from rebel groups? Or heck just throw him in prison! Something more practical than EXTERMINATE!
    • For ones without a large enough digital footprint (like the Amish), the plan is probably to supplement the algorithm with boots on the ground. The Amish aren't exactly known for organizing rebellions anyway, so that's more a blip than a problem. As for the latter, you need to remember that "[kill] the high-school valedictorian" was a flippant remark from a mid-level operative. The algorithm doesn't just see "Oh, this kid is smart, they need to be killed." It collates the data, their Facebook posts, e-mails, and internet history, and decides if this individual is A: Likely to work against HYDRA even after the slaughter and B: Likely to be a threat (either as a leader, a scientist, or a superhero). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shows us that HYDRA is in fact willing to forcibly recruit scientists who could be useful; it's only the ones who are more trouble than they're worth, like Stark and Strange, who are on the initial kill list.

    How'd they know so fast? 
  • Within literally minutes of Sitwell blabbing about Hydra, Winter Soldier is dispatched and somehow finds them in the middle of the highway to eliminate him. How could they possibly have known he'd sold Hydra out and dispatched WS so quickly? I know Bucky's good, but unless he had been following Cap from the start and spied on their conversation to know Sitwell had blabbed, he couldn't have known, in which case why didn't he just snipe them all like he did Fury?
    • Coincidence. Bucky was already on the way to fight Steve and Nat, and when he saw Sitwell cozying up with the enemy, made the tactical decision to eliminate him. It's not likely that Sitwell was anybody of actual importance, so Bucky could have eliminated him with little protest from his superiors.
    • Sitwell was important though. Aside from being a very high level Shield officer, he was one of the highest ranking Hydra plans in Shield, aside from Pierce. A Level 8, of which we only know him, Coulson, Cap, Hand, and Blake and only he was Hydra out of that group. He was in charge of the Lumarian Star, initially leading the hunt for Cap and Natasha, knew the entire Insight plan, and seemed to take orders directly from Pierce. In fact he had direct access to the Insight Carriers. So yeah he should really be someone that Bucky would need to check to kill, which shouldn't have processed that fast.
    • If Winter Soldier heard Sitwell giving up information on HYDRA, he might well default to standing orders: 'execute all traitors before they can talk'.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Winter Soldier might actually have had no idea that Sitwell was HYDRA at all (information on top level moles is generally kept compartmentalized), and so he killed Sitwell because he thought he was Cap and Natasha's ally and so thought it would be tactically advantageous to turn three-on-one odds into two-on-one odds with his first surprise attack. And of course, out of those three Sitwell is the only one who can be casually killed in one move; throwing Cap out of a speeding car will just piss him off, and while Natasha is more vulnerable she also has a nonzero chance of being able to grapple something and roll to a reasonably intact landing, at which point she'll just carjack the next vehicle to pass her and come back to ram it into you a minute later.
  • I always assumed they had a tracker/microphone in his pin, the one Stern notices, either so they could listen in on Stern, implied to be a relatively new member, or because Sitwell has a history of being a little to talkative.

    Suddenly he's a coward? 
  • When did Sitwell become such a wimp? This is guy that's previously shown to practically have nerves of steel and always be composed. And while its likely this was a rewrite because they needed someone to be the big Hydra mole, this doesn't explain why earlier in this same movie Sitwell was as composed as he usually was when he was the only one of the hostages to look more bored or annoyed than worried, and snarked as his captors as they were attacked. Yet once outed as Hydra he's screaming like a little girl and begging on the ground. It's even implied that he's following Hydra out of fear of them winning rather than being a true believer because he caves and starts blabbing to save himself, where as many Hydra loyalists are perfectly willing to die for the cause. His characterization isn't consistent, even in this very film.
    • The fact that he isn't acting the coward until he's rooted out actually makes more sense than if he'd remained stoic. He hadn't been exposed by any old loyal SHIELD agent, he was found out by Captain America and Black Widow. Not only are they both smarter and tougher than him, Sitwell probably knew that Nat was loyal to Fury above all else, and if anybody had a reason to hate HYDRA, it would be Steve. If I was in his shoes, they'd have been filled with piss.
    • Further, he wasn't acting cowardly until after Cap had roughed him up and hauled him to the top of a skyscraper; he had gotten a very good picture of just how screwed he was.
      • Even then, he was keeping up the tough guy act. It wasn't until Natasha actually kicked him off the roof that he was pissing himself. Afterwards, in the car, he was afraid for his life because he knew Pierce was going to have him killed.
      • ^Exactly; right until Sitwell is kicked off the top of a very high building, he's still fairly calm no matter what... and like many near-death experiences, adrenaline and sheer relief that you're alive can really shake you up. And then of course, the worry that since he'd given up secrets, he was next on the kill list; even the most calm people can crack under such situations.

    "You need us." 
  • Precisely who is the 'us' that Natasha refers to at her hearing? Can't be SHIELD, because it is gone, and there's nothing to tell us that Natasha is aware Coulson is rebuilding the organization, or that Coulson has even gotten started.
    • That "us" is superheroes in general.
      • Why would superheros be threatened with jail time?
      • There are countless possible reasons that may lead to that, but you can read Civil War for some basic ideas.
    • Most likely she was referring to specifically herself, Steve, Sam, and Maria (and likely the thousands of good SHIELD agents who helped stop Insight). Going by what she said, she's saying how her and the others took down the corrupted SHIELD that, while corrupt, did serve the purpose of keeping the world safe. With it gone, partially thanks to her, there's going to be some issues that she and the others will need to take care of. But, she's saying that they will need her and Steve and co in order to take care of those issues.

    "It's trending." 
  • By my understanding of bandwidth, latency, and the speed at which the human eyes and brain process information, SHIELD's archive of their own dirty secrets hadn't actually reached Twitter yet when Black Widow claimed it had started trending.
    • There was a lot of information. The first bits of it could have had time to go viral while the tail end was still uploading.

    Asgard and Insight 
  • So, the whole plan was to eliminate any potential threats, correct? That definitely includes a certain Jane Foster, and may or may not include Thor if they are aware he is on the planet. Now, disregarding if it would kill him or not, it would certainly kill Jane, and even if Thor was still in Asgard all it would take would be Thor asking Heimdall to check up on the woman he loves for him to realize something has gone terribly wrong. And even if it did kill him, he is still prince of Asgard. Him dying would kind of be an act of war, and he could almost certainly convince Odin and the rest to declare war should Jane have died. In short, if the plan had succeeded the threat immediately after would not have been rebellions, but an invasion by Asgard. Who, need I remind you, seem to have tech that make all but the highest tier Tesseract and Chitauri stuff look like firecrackers. I'm beginning to think that Asgard wasn't even considered during the planning stages, because if it had been it would have been blindingly obvious how doomed the plan was from the start.
    • Actually, the Asgardians being a potential problem and how to deal with it is the plot of The Avengers. Nick Fury, who is not part of Hydra, realized it, so it's not hard to think that Hydra may have thought about it as well. As for what to actually do, Asgardians may be "gods", but they are not living deus ex machinas. Humans Are Warriors, and can defeat anyone if they go Crazy-Prepared for the conflict. There would be two main differences between earth just before the Chitauri invasion, and Earth after an Hydra victory and just before an Asgardian invasion. One, the new hellicarriers. They were made to counter a new alien invasion, and had a secret plot to be used to kill political dissidents; but that doesn't mean that the original purpose was not adressed. You may say that Asgardians are tough and won't be killed so easily, but there comes the second difference: that history teacher who was actually an Asgardian, and the Berserker Staff (and the Clairvoyant's pet had met the first one, and retrieved the second). We have seen that a mere human being wearing the Staff can inflict a mortal wound to an Asgardian, and the Autopsy can surely give more details on their biology and how to kill them more easily. Besides, not being an Infinity Gem but just a mere weapon, it shouldn't be that hard to reverse-engineer it, produce it on industrial levels, and create their own Berserker Army. So, let the Asgardians come, Earth is ready to kill them all as well. HAIL, HYDRA!!
    • Said teacher was an unarmed pacifist who'd been out of practice for a millenium or so. Besides, he showed that Asgardians can heal from mortal wounds pretty easily. Not sure what autopsy you're referring to, as there aren't any dead Asgardians on Earth that we know of. What's more, killing a civilian Asgardian is not at all the same thing as killing an Asgardian warrior, as Lady Sif showed. Agent Ward's plan to kill her involved 'trap her in an indestructible cage and then drop her a couple miles out of a plane.' As for the Berserker staff, it's debatable whether humans can reverse engineer it with current MCU tech. SHIELD had 70 years to study the Tesseract and got nowhere. They had over a year to study the Destroyer and all they got was a prototype that was nowhere near as effective as the original. Besides, even if HYDRA developed and mass produced the tech to kill Asgardians, the space gods still have several huge advantages. Asgard still has the Bifrost, which means they could dictate when and where battles happen. They've also got Heimdall, who is like the ultimate reconnaissance satellite. And the worst part is that SHIELD/HYDRA doesn't know much about Asgard. At this point in the MCU, Earth vs Asgard ends poorly for Earth, disregarding the fact that HYDRA would be eliminating a lot of their best hopes against Asgard with Project Insight (Stark, for instance.) As such, it seems likely that they weren't preparing for war with Asgard.
    • That proffesor may be unarmed and untrained, but he's still an alien. Killing him and making the alien autopsy will give great insight on the alien biology of the Asgardians, and for that purpose a civilian and a warrior are the same (they have the same blood, the same internal organs, etc.) With that valuable info, HYDRA will find out their weaknesses and learn how to kill those aliens more easily. But, before killing this alien, it will be time for an old-fashioned interrogation, to find out about the military strenghts and weaknesses of the Asgardians (which includes the Bifrost, Heimdall, etc.) As for weapons, the Tesseract is an Infinity Gem, of course that it can not be reverse-engineered. But the Staff is not, it's just alien technology, and any technology can be studied to its basic principles and then rebuilt. And so, taking advantage of this lone alien that those sentimental fools of Coulson and company left on his own, HYDRA will stand against the alien threat and kill them as well. HAIL, HYDRA!!
      • As the tie-in comic for Thor The Dark World shows, the Asgardians have a massive advantage over HYDRA in one rather important way: They know how to use the Tesseract effectively as they used it to rebuild the Bifrost. They have an Infinity stone, HYDRA does not, plus HYDRA is basically killing anyone who could stand up to the Asgardians, so really, if Asgard decided to invade Earth, HYDRA would be annihilated.
      • Judging by his interrogation scene in Agents of SHIELD, he's not going to give anything up. Anyways, he was a common mason who became a foot soldier, then left Asgard for good a thousand years ago. Any information he's got isn't going to be very extensive and will be a thousand years out of date. Also, if he has any warning or suspicion at all they're coming for him, say in the event of an actual invasion, he's going to disappear again, create a new life for himself, the same way he's been doing for the last thousand years.
    • Hel, here's a thought: HYDRA is an offshoot of the Third Reich, which tentatively associated with Norse paganism. Back in "The First Avenger" Red Skull seems to have studied Norse myths (Marvel style) in some depth, going by his knowledge of the Tesseract. And people, in general, who haven't personally met Thor (which is mostly everyone, including the majority of SHIELD and HYDRA) have no idea what motivates him or what his opinions are, or what's the Asgardians' collective "deal". HYDRA might consider the Norse gods to be their allies, not a threat.

    Recognizing Bucky 

  • This one is a bit more nitpicky, but would Cap really recognize Bucky as immediately as he did, with the long hair and beard? At least, as a person who saw First Avenger multiple times, I wouldn't have recognized it as Sebastian Stan the moment I saw him.
    • He would. Cap knew Bucky for several years, and he's got perfect photographic memory, which was even a point in the first movie.
    • Also, Bucky didn't have the beard until The Stinger: he was clean-shaven throughout the movie.

    Captain's Shield changing colors 

  • Captain's shield keeps changing color in the movie. On the ship it's red with dark blue circles. Later when Fury's shot, it regains its white circle. The patterns also change, from 2 blue circles and one red circle, to two red and one white. So does the Captain just randomly re-paint his shield between missions? Or does he have multiple of them now?
    • Stands to reason he has multiple shields (they must have found more vibranium while Cap was frozen). The first mission involves stealth, so his shield has a muted color scheme (gray, grayish blue, and reddish brown) so that it doesn't stand out in the dark. When he's operating overtly he uses one with brighter colors (the classic red, white, and blue), reflecting his status as an American icon. It actually fits with the film's arc: Cap uses a muted color palate when working for SHIELD and getting involved in its intrigue, but when he starts fighting for the virtues he believes in, he starts using the brighter and shield and wears his old WWII uniform with its stars and stripes design.
  • Or they just give it a quick repaint when the mission calls for stealth so that the bright colors don't make him easy to spot. If there were multiple shields, they would have used it at some point against Cap.
  • Apparantly it was supposed to have the new paint color the entire film but they must have edited it to have the traditional colors in post production, (it had the new colors in sneak footage taken from filming when in the actual film those scenes had the shield colors changed). Only the tanker scene used the new colors. That being said, the shield's paintjob gets notably worn in almost all his fights only for it to look fresh later, so obviously Cap repaints it and otherwise maintains the shield.

    SHIELD and the Tesseract 

  • Since this movie reveals that Zola joined SHIELD shortly after its formation, how did it take SHIELD so long to build Tesseract powered weapons (if The Avengers was any indication, no weapons had even made it past the drawing board at that point) when they had both the Tesseract and the guy who already knew how to make such weapons from the beginning.
    • A line by The Other at the beginning of The Avengers, "The Tesseract has awakened", suggests it was dormant during that period and wasn't reactivated until Loki started using it to arrive at Earth. It might have made more sense, though, if the Tesseract hadn't been found until Cap was discovered frozen, both in the Valkyrie wreck.
      • Except that the Cube burned a hole in the bottom of the Valkyrie and fell into the ocean before it crashed, and Howard was shown recovering it at the end of First Avenger.
      • Which is why I specified. "it might have made more sense IF"...
    • No weapons made past the drawing board? SHIELD already had a bunch of weapons stashed, which Cap found. And Coulson did fire one on Loki, which makes it pretty clear they were fully functioning.
      • No, those were HYDRA weapons, as indicated by the fact that there was a HYDRA helmet in the crate alongside the weapon, and that the weapon had the HYDRA emblem on it, and they clearly weren't functional otherwise SHIELD would be using them. The weapon Coulson used was made from the salvaged remnants of the Destroyer.

    Lets go hide at Sam Wilson's! 

  • So after the bunker explodes, Capt and Black Widow go to Sam Wilson's house to hide... Why? Why not Stark's place. Sam's in DC, they are in Jersey, Stark's new tower is in New York. So going there is a longer ride (And never mind Nat is injured at the time). And Stark's not a fan of SHIELD so its not like he can't be at least willing to hear them out, and they just heard from Zola that Hydra has Stark's father killed, if they need more motivation. While Sam is the more "covert" option since no one at Shield knows him, the fact that he's got the flight suit they can later use is unknown to them at the time - meaning they have no next step in their plans once they get there. Tony at least offer them the ressources of Tony Frikkin Stark.
    • There is a 99.9% chance that HYDRA would be watching every single one of Stark's assets like a satellite-supported hawk with access to the world's most sophisticated intelligence apparatus.
    • There's also the fact that Tony lives in New York City, AKA one of the most populated places in the world, and one with a LOT of security. Its very likely that they'd get spotted a mile away if they went inside, and considering how high-profile Tony is, its likely that they'd be seen if they got close to him, and as seen in the scene with Sitwell briefing SHIELD, they're literally checking people's tweets. Given they must have found a secure route to get there, its very likely they'd have a route to get back. On top of that, as noted, Sam is literally a nobody to HYDRA/SHIELD. There's no way for them to know who he is or that he even knows Steve, and given Steve hasn't interacted with anyone outside of SHIELD or the Avengers, he's probably the only person they could go to who they wouldn't get seen going to.
    • Also, it was mentioned elsewhere on the page that Tony had a hand in designing the Insight helicarriers. For all that Steve and Natasha know, he's with HYDRA.

    Fury's escape from the car 

  • After having his car blowed up by the winter soldier, Fury miraculously knows he is just above a sewer entry and escapes this way... my question is : what kept the winter soldier from just following him and killing him immediatly ? Well, he obviously followed him to Steve's , but killing him in the sewers would have been easier, stealthier, and more effective.
    • We don't know what happened between Fury escaping from his car and him arriving at Steve's place. The Winter Soldier may have followed him into the sewer and maybe Fury already had secret tunnels down there to escape into.
    • My guess is that after all the very public car crashes, gunfire and explosions, the real cops were closing in and all the Hydra agents involved were ordered to pull back.

     Idiotic grenade design 

  • Why would anyone want a grenade with a 14 second fuse? In the time between the grenade reaching its destination and detonating (5 seconds), Natasha (had she actually been hiding there) could've easily thrown the grenade back the way it came. Was the Winter Soldier at all worried about being injured or killed by his own grenade?
    • Movies are rarely literal about time, unless it's High Noon. Later on, when Cap gets shot just after Maria Hill tells him he has 30 seconds to insert the targeting chip, he doesn't do so for roughly a minute and a half. But in the context of the film all that took place in 30 secs because the editing has spread out each action, some of which were occurring simultaneously within that time. Likewise, the grenade probably only took 5 seconds or so to reach Nat's phone and detonate, but the film spread out the action for the viewers. In other words, it's just a movie.
      • Magic Countdown or not, it still took 5 seconds for the grenade to detonate after it hit the curb and stopped where the Winter Soldier thought Natasha was hiding. That's more than enough time to pick it up and throw it back (even cook it before throwing).
      • And it can take Captain America five seconds to catch a shield that should have rebounded to him in just one, merely because he's talking. Point being, it's a movie.

     The Avengers Plothole 
  • This was brought up in Honest Trailers, but I have to wonder. If black widow supposedly dumped all of HYDRA's secrets onto the web in the winter soldier, indicating the secrets were there, then how did Stark not find out about it back in the avengers when he was hacking SHIELD? You know, when he discovered the tesseract weapons? How could he not find out about HYDRA in the process? Was it at a higher level of hack? Or he didn't notice it? I mean, how is it that one of the smartest men in the marvel universe could have missed the hydra link in that movie?
    • Stark's bug was found pretty quickly, as an alarm went off the moment he activated it. Additionally, it might have only gotten the information locally stored in the Helicarrier's database, not SHIELD's entire information storage.
    • Plus, the whole HYDRA secret was hidden well enough that even Fury, who has full access to the entire database 24/7, was unaware. They likely didn't mention the organization's name anywhere at all. As noted elsewhere on this page, there were no HYDRA agents meeting in HYDRA labs while wearing black cloaks and discussing secrets. These were all SHIELD agents, discussing SHIELD missions.
    • Tony is overconfident, especially prior to his humbling in the Battle of New York and Iron Man 3. Just because Tony thinks he's hacked SHIELD's database to its ultimate level, that doesn't mean he has. There is also the part where HYDRA very likely doesn't keep any information on the Helicarrier servers precisely because Nick Fury would have unfettered access to those; also because they don't really have any need to. If you want the super secret stuff on HYDRA, go to Secretary Pierce's office.

     How did Zola get so evil? 
  • I loved that they brought in some of the old school arnim zola to give the plot twist on HYDRA's survival a lot more weight and plausibility. On the other hand, considering Zola's previous behavior during WW2, is this a Retcon on his character? I mean, he willingly betrayed the skull because he wanted to save his own life, but he did build up hydra's arsenal from his designs. He's not all that threatening a person, but he was an enabler. I suppose the question I'm asking is this. From a story perspective, and not a comic book perspective, does Zola's masterminding HYDRA'S return work when remembering his characterization from The First Avenger? (I bring this up because of a review on this site which hated the percieved Evil All Along vibe he got from his reveal, and want to know your thoughts on the subject)
    • I assume you're referring to my review. I've heard some interesting theories since. One is that Zola had no problem with HYDRA itself, he just didn't like the direction Johann Schmidt was taking it in making it openly fascistic with invading armies. Hence why he created a HYDRA that was much more subtle and less aggressive. Another is that Zola blamed himself for Schmidt's death and thus the recreation of HYDRA was his attempt to atone for betraying him. The third is that Zola initially was a Reluctant Mad Scientist at first, but become envious and power-hungry due to being pushed down and treated like a crook at SHIELD, so he created HYDRA in order to take control and get revenge on SHIELD. I'm hoping the upcoming Agent Carter series will shed some light on what occurred with Zola.
    • I think Red Skull was keeping him in check with sheer insanity. Schmidt was hardcore genocidal overlord, and Zola was terrified of him and his sometimes senseless brutality, and he didn't want to live in a world of Schmidt's liking, so he sort of retreated into 'goodness', using the term loosely. When he was taken in by the allies, there was nothing to push him toward 'goodness' and he gradually started coming up with his own ideas.
    • I think that Zola started out genuinely hoping for a second chance after the war, but was intimidated by the other paper-clipped HYDRA scientists, and was further driven totally insane from the isolation of being computerized. Note that he seems fine with being blown to bits, even when there's the chance he's not taking Steve and Natasha down with him.

     Shooter, what shooter? 
  • When Agent 13 radios for medics after Nick Fury is shot, the person on the other end of the radio asks, "Do we a have twenty on the shooter?". But Agent 13 made no mention of gunshot wounds, so how did the person on the radio know Fury had been shot, and more importantly why didn't Rogers or Agent 13 find that suspicious?
    • In answer to the first question, the person on the other end of the radio was either A) nearby and heard the gunshot and figured Fury was shot or B) a HYDRA Agent. If it's the former neither Steve nor Carter should be suspicious at all and if it's the latter, well Agent 13 was too busy attending to Nick Fury to pay attention and Steve almost immediately left to hunt down the Winter Soldier.
    • If someone has been shot, then someone made that shot. That's just basic logic.
      • This. People don't just up and get shot, and a protective detail would automatically assume that "X has been shot" would mean someone shot them as opposed to an accidental discharge.
      • All Agent 13 said was "Foxtrot is down, he's unresponsive, I need EM Ts." Nothing in there about gunshot wounds.
      • SHIELD almost certainly has the place bugged. And Agent 13 would've had her radio on. For all intents and purposes, SHIELD was listening to the same thing and heard the gunshot.
    • There's a much easier explanation: Agent 13 comes into Steve's apartment with her gun drawn, expecting trouble. She heard the gunshots (which were unsuppressed). She called in on her radio before entering Steve's apartment: "Base, this is Agent 13, shots fired, Roger's apartment, I'm investigating."

    Caught In the Crossfire 
  • So the Helicarriers were about to fire on more than 700,000 targets all at once, some of which are in the Triskelion. But there are also a ton of HYDRA personnel still inside there, including Pierce himself. Was HYDRA really about to slaughter hundreds of its own members and leadership just to get at its targets? Pierce doesn't seem the type to forfeit his life so casually, and sacrifices need to save more people than you lose. Even destroying its own headquarters seems counter-productive.
    • Remember HYDRA's motto: "if a head is cut off, two more will take its place"
    • They were going to fire sniper-type shots to kill those targets. Not every gun on the helicarriers are missiles.
    • Does it actually show the Helicarriers targeting the Triskelion itself? If not, then the obvious solution would be sending loyal HYDRA agents to kill those targets.
    • Yes it does. The first shot of the targeting field is zooming out from Maria Hill's red dot on her to a hundred other red dots all over the Triskelion. Even if they're only going fire bullets rather than missiles, there's still the huge risk of dozens of their shots continuing through the floors and hitting more of their own people in the process.
    • I agree, it would be pretty stupid for HYDRA to murder their own people in the process of Insight, which is why I think that the HYDRA traitors would take care of the targets within the Triskelion itself. Just because those targets were marked in the targeting system, it doesn't necessarily mean that the helicarriers would be the ones to shoot them, OTOH maybe HYDRA is that stupid; this page has multiple folders questioning the logic of HYDRA's plan, so it's not really that surprising.

     Sam Wilson's abrasion proof skin 
  • How did Sam Wilson not lose any skin after tumbling end over end and sliding to a halt on the highway?
    • The same way he also didn't cut himself getting tossed into computer screens and smashing through a glass window during the climax: because he's a secretly a mutant.

     Battering ram 
  • When HYDRA attacks Fury's SUV, why is their weapon of choice once bullets fail a battering ram? Why not just roll a grenade or two under the chassis and run away? Or shoot the SUV with an RPG? A battering ram has got to be one of the slowest, most inefficient things out there in this day and age. They've got the resources, they had time to prepare, they don't care about visibility, there really isn't a reason to use something different.
    • Even with the sheer number of bullets they throw at the vehicle and the battering ram, Fury is almost completely unharmed thanks to the SUV armor. They actually had a plan of action that's pretty easy to follow. Step 1) Disable vehicle with impact, possibly killing Fury. Step 2) If Fury is still alive, shoot up the SUV to attempt to breach the armor and kill him. Step 3) If Fury is still alive, open the SUV with a battering ram to kill him. Step 4) If Fury is still alive, something else. Backup plan: Kill him with the Winter Soldier.
      • You don't get what I'm asking. Why are they using a battering ram instead of explosives? The battering ram is slow. As the Winter Soldier shows a few minutes later, explosives are fast. Why not start with explosives?
      • Battering rams concentrate force in a very small, tight area. Explosives direct force outward in all directions. Shaped charges are more efficient at it, but a battering ram would ensure that maximum amount of force is directed into the window to break it. A breaching charge powerful enough to break through that window would likely create a massive explosion. For whatever reason, the HYDRA troops need to stay close to the car. Maybe they want Fury alive or they want his body intact; either would be reason to limit overall force applied rather than annihilate the car outright.
    • On top of all that, even when the vehicle is taken out by Bucky, he certainly acts as though the intent is to take Fury alive. It's possible that everything they were trying to do was just to disable Fury instead of killing him, which actually makes more sense: they shot up the SUV to reduce his armor to make him vulnerable to the battering ram, they used the ram so they could get to him with a disabling weapon (of which SHIELD has plenty), and only when he started to successfully escape did they actually try to kill him. And they knew exactly how to breach the SUV because they were part of SHIELD anyway, or at least HYDRA. Had Fury been slightly slower or less tactically minded, they would've had him easily.
      • And why would they want to take Fury alive? They're much safer if he's dead, and it doesn't fit in with HYDRA's way of doing things in the movie. In the overpass ambush, once they had Steve, Natasha, and Sam restrained, the only reason they weren't shot on the spot was the news helicopter. They'd want to kill Fury, and they'd want to kill him fast.
      • Capturing him alive for interrogation, biometrics, or brainwashing like the Winter Soldier, for starters. They were actually trying to capture Steve when they jumped him in the elevator, as well - note the multiple clearly nonlethal weapons they were using - so HYDRA may well have been trying to take them alive at first and then shifted to outright killing them when the situation became more and more out of hand.

     Why Algerian? 
Georges Batroc is played by a Caucasian actor, his backstory involves service in French Intelligence, and the source material has him being French. What was the point of the nationality change?
  • So they can have a "actually he's Algerian" joke. Which is literally it took to change his nationality. It wasn't a big effort for them.

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