Baron Helmut Zemo is technically a supervillain; but why wasn’t he imprisoned on the raft like other Marvel supervillains (spoilers notice)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series surprised Marvel fans when they revealed that Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) was not imprisoned on the raft. Instead, the villain who caused the Avengers to break up in Captain America: Civil War was incarcerated in a prison in Germany. Thanks to Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Zemo escaped and joined the series’ titleholder couple on a mission to Madripoor to find the Super Soldier Serum used to create the flagless ones.
Helmut Zemo is arguably the most successful supervillain the Avengers have faced because he plotted the collapse of Earth’s mightiest Heroes by having them fight against each other. Captain America: Civil War revealed that Zemo was an intelligence agent from Sokovia who lost his family when Ultron (James Spader) used the country to cause an extinction-level event in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Although the Avengers destroyed Ultron, Zemo blamed the superhero team for the tragedy inflicted on his country and his family (he was also right as it was Tony Stark and Bruce Banner who created Ultron). Zemo’s approach was to hunt down Hydra and stop his Winter Soldier program. To rid the world of the Avengers, Zemo attacked the United Nations in Vienna during the signing of the Sokovia Accords and framed Bucky Barnes. Zemo then used Hydra’s brainwashing system to take control of the Winter Soldier, forcing the Avengers to choose a side between Captain America’s team, who were trying to protect Barnes, and Iron’s team. Man trying to enforce the Sokovia Accords.
When the Avengers finally parted ways at the end of Captain America: Civil War, Zemo was stopped by T’Challa, whose father, King T’Chaka of Wakanda (John Kani) was killed in Vienna in the attack on the United Nations. However, T’Challa showed mercy to Zemo and took pity on him because they had both lost their family.
Before Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Zemo, was last seen in a containment unit under the supervision of Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) at the Joint Counter-Terrorism Center in Germany. Many fans assumed that Zemo would be transferred to the raft, the dreaded isolated maximum-security prison in the Atlantic Ocean that was built to incarcerate enhanced individuals, who simply “disappeared.” In fact, Captain America’s team in Civil War ended up on the Raft after being stopped by the Iron Man team in Berlin. Steve Rogers eventually broke into the Raft and freed his allies Sam Wilson, Wanda Maximoff, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang.
Zemo at the Joint Center Against Terrorism in Germany
Falcon and the Winter Soldier reveal that instead of The Raft, Zemo was incarcerated in a prison in Germany. This is likely because the Raft was designed to contain super-powered prisoners, but Zemo is just an ordinary man, as are all of the Cap’s allies, with the exception of Wanda.
Despite Marvel fans regarding Baron Zemo as a supervillain, his lack of superhuman abilities meant that no special means were required to retain him other than keeping him in solitary confinement. Furthermore, the fact that Zemo was not simply “disappeared” by being sent to the Raft was a better public relations move, as it showed that the man who bombed the UN and framed the Winter Soldier was brought to justice. It is not yet known if Zemo was one of the victims of Thanos’ snap.
Considering the ease with which Baron Zemo escaped, with minimal help from Bucky Barnes, it is obvious that Zemo was underestimated as a threat. In fact, the key to Zemo’s escape was getting the prisoners to turn on each other and rebel, reflecting how he caused the Avengers to confront each other and disband. And while Zemo has no real superpowers, Falcon and the Winter Soldier show just how cunning and dangerous he is.
As a baron of Sokovia, Zemo still has great wealth and resources. Also, the way he managed to convince Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes to follow his orders to survive the criminal haven nation of Madripoor shows that Zemo is still a master manipulator. Falcon and the Winter Soldier prove that a cell in The Raft is ultimately the safest place to hold Baron Zemo if he is recaptured.
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