Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Inciting Event: Protagonist Steve Rogers believes that freedom can’t be achieved by a police state monitoring and destroying threats before they happen (the Truth in opposition to the Lie). Steve’s current Normal World is a shaky one, in which he is increasingly uncomfortable with the jobs SHIELD is asking him to do, supposedly in the name of freedom. Almost right away, he is shown distrusting the motives of those who are using him as a weapon to achieve their own ends (Characteristic Moment). The Inciting Event arrives when Fury shows Steve the helicarriers and tells him about Project Insight. When Steve learns what Fury has up his sleeve, he knows he can’t maintain his Truth if he remains in SHIELD, and he spends the bulk of the First Act contemplating simply walking away.

First Plot Point: After telling Steve SHIELD has been compromised, Fury is shot by the Winter Soldier. Cap’s indecision about his loyalty to SHIELD ends once and for all when Nick Fury is shot by his own people. From that moment on, Cap is committed to following his own principles and figuring out what’s really going on at SHIELD.

First Pinch Point: SHIELD agents try to kill Steve and force him to go on the run.

Midpoint: Steve learns from Zola that Hydra has infiltrated SHIELD. This is where he finally realizes the full extent of SHIELD’s corruption and their plan to kill millions of people “in the name of freedom.” At that point, he has everything to lose and little chance of winning, but his outlook brightens because “I just like to know who I’m fighting.” His Truth’s effect on the Lie is particularly evident in Black Widow’s change of attitude toward both him and SHIELD in the Second Half of the Second Act.

Second Pinch Point: During an attack, Steve discovers the Winter Soldier is his old friend Bucky. He and his friends are captured. Steve has just been sucker-punched with the realization that the enemy he’s been fighting all along is really his long-lost best friend. He still wholeheartedly believes in the Truth that he must destroy SHIELD, but now that mission is going to come at a higher price than even he imagined.

Third Plot Point: The helicarriers are launched. Steve moves forward, with the encouragement of his allies, and unflinchingly puts the Truth before his own feelings and even his own life.

Climax: Steve has to face down Bucky.

Climactic Moment: The helicarriers destroy each other.

Resolution: Bucky saves Steve. After Steve recovers, he goes looking for Bucky. In the end, his actions create a new world, free of SHIELD, in which everyone must scramble to readjust their mindsets and their lives.

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