Nine films in, the movies released by Marvel Studios comprise an elaborate narrative tapestry, with connections running between films, the short DVD-extra One-Shots, and the rapidly expanding universe of TV projects. The films are purposefully designed to appeal to newcomers. I’m guessing that the vast majority of people who love Iron Man have never read an Iron Man comic book. (Side note: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man is much cooler than pretty much any comic book version of Iron Man.) But speaking as someone who grew up devouring comic books, part of what makes the Marvel Studios films so fun is how they freely pull from several decades of comic book history in composing their big-screen world.
That’s especially true of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a film that takes its name from a mid-2000s story arc, but which contains characters, settings, and stylistic flourishes from throughout Marvel’s history. Winter Soldier also featured an unusual assortment of fan-servicey bits, tantalizing remarks about future Marvel projects, and references to films outside of the Marvel fold, not to mention at least one very savvy use of real-world iconography. The following isn’t just a guide to the tiny details in Winter Soldier; it’s an A-Z reference guide for how the newest Marvel film continues to expand the series’ universe. (Yes, there are spoilers.) READ FULL STORY