If you haven't yet seen the Super Bowl TV spot for Marvel's upcoming [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) then sweet Lord where have you been?
Don't worry, we've got you covered though - check it out below!
So - like the first trailer that dropped for the hugely anticipated Marvel superhero showdown - the Civil War Super Bowl TV spot kept its focus largely on the Winter Soldier / James "Bucky" Barnes (Sebastian Stan) instead of on the superhero showdown we'd been anticipating between Captain America / Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man / Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
There's a few surprises in the TV spot regarding the Winter Soldier, from the fact that he tries to shoot Tony upside his head (which is just rude man), to the opening itself, where Steve finds him strapped into a very suspicious looking piece of machinery.
The above scene could perhaps be a dream sequence like we saw in [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), but given the more grounded storytelling methods of Anthony and Joe Russo (Civil War directors) this seems less likely. Additionally the surroundings look very similar to the aesthetic of the fight scene we saw at the conclusion of the first trailer in which Steve and Bucky are beating the crap out of Iron Man. You know the one.
And we see Bucky in the Winter Soldier get up again later in the teaser, in a shot sequence which seems to suggest that Bucky's just kicked the shit out of Tony's best buddy, War Machine / James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle).
Add all these together and it seems plausible that - even though it appears Bucky has regained his memories - the Winter Soldier persona could still be slipping through.
The shot of him hooked up to the Cold War / Hydra looking machinery is the real kicker, as it echoes the way he appeared when in Hydra lockdown during The Winter Soldier. Here's he's also wearing his assassin's mask, a piece of costuming that was used in Winter Soldier both to protect his identity and to denote between the Winter Soldier and Bucky Barnes personas as his memories began to return.
Of course we saw him starting to regain his memories in The Winter Soldier, and he did save Steve's life towards the end of the film. But we've also seen that Hydra is able to erase his memories at their leisure. We don't know where Bucky's been in the interim except that Falcon / Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) has a lot of trouble finding him, so it's not entirely unlikely that Hydra could've picked him up again and given him a dose of the old brain washing, sending him back to Cap to act as a sleeper agent to cause friction in the group.
Alternatively Hydra could've picked him up during the events of Civil War and sent him back for brainwashing, which would explain why Steve finds him hooked up to that machine. It would also explain why the yet to be seen Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and the man responsible for the Winter Soldier's brainwashing General Vasily Karpov (Gene Farber) are included in Civil War but being kept under wraps in all the promo material.
The problem is not knowing the continuity. When Bucky goes after Tony he's wearing the same clothes we saw him sporting in the first trailer, minus the snazzy jacket and totally subtle baseball cap. He's not initially in the assassin get-up we saw him wearing in [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973), but we do see this multiple times in the teaser.
We assumed that plain-clothes Bucky would chronologically appear at the beginning of the film due to the fact that we saw his reunion with Steve teased in the Ant-Man post credits scene, and that the Winter Soldier uniformed Bucky would be him suiting up for the final battle, but there's no way to tell from the teasers themselves.
However, whilst it's tempting to take this short clip as evidence that Bucky will be back to his assassiny ways in Civil War it's important to note that both the Russo Brothers and Sebastian Stan himself have gone on record to say that the upcoming movie is about Bucky's redemption and his internal character struggle as he becomes someone new:
Stan: "[Civil War] certainly deals with what’s happened to him. I mean, what have we gotten as a result of Bucky and the Winter Soldier? You know, here’s the guy when you merge the two. This is what came out. To me, he’s never really going to be Bucky Barnes again."
This particular narrative doesn't seem particularly reconcilable with what we've heard about Bucky so far, so perhaps it's just misdirection. We won't know for sure however until Captain America: Civil War releases May 6, 2016.
We can't wait.