With a million characters and separate plot threads going on at any given time, there’s lots of opportunities to miss things in Marvel films. Between intense action scenes, witty dialogue and beautiful visuals, there’s a lot of things ready to potentially distract you from the nuance of a particular line or character.
With things like non-subtitled foreign languages occurring in films, there’s also the potential for parts of films to slip by entirely – after all, there’s only so many obscure Google searches a person can do in a day.
While understandable, sometimes this does mean you miss out on cool details, like a deeper understanding of a character or potential future plot point. Be it through a line’s importance, a character having a sneaky later significance, or just a scene with a cool alternate reading, here’s proof that sometimes obsessively watching MCU films back to back does have benefits.
Just before the climactic final fight scene in Civil War, Tony Stark makes one final, somewhat obscure reference, referring to Bucky as ‘The Manchurian Candidate’.
The reference made is to a film of the same name, which has some striking parallels to the experiences of the Winter Soldier in Civil War. The most obvious of these is brainwashing, as the protagonist of The Manchurian Candidate is also hypnotised into becoming an assassin for enemy forces – which is a pretty unflattering comparison, all things considered.
Because it’s worth noting that – at least in the original 1962 film – that the protagonist dies, due to a secret he discovers about a mother, which is ironically echoed in the news about Bucky killing Tony’s mother years prior.
In a sense, this seemingly innocent reference is actually the first sign of danger – as even if you don’t believe the films mirror each other, the brutal analogy makes it clear that Tony isn’t quite on the Bucky support team.