How Hollywood made Captain America…Anti-American.

Home / Articles / How Hollywood made Captain America…Anti-American.
How Hollywood made Captain America…Anti-American.

Roger Ebert once said that Pixar is the first studio that is a movie star.” If that is true then Marvel is the second. The theater was crowded. Unusual for an early Thursday night viewing of any movie. But like I said, Marvel is a movie star.

Sequels used to have a bad reputation for being less than enjoyable than the original, but Marvel has no sequels. Each film is part of one universe and one seamless, overlapping narrative. Samuel L. Jackson signed one of the biggest movie contracts in history by agreeing to be part of nine Marvel films; and the President of Marvel, Kevin Fiege, made the news this week by saying that the Marvel Universe is mapped out all the way till 2028. This is good news for the world.

As of late, it seems as if the medium of film has only one purpose…super hero movies. Comic books were simply the black and white, silent film predecessors, awaiting the technology to advance in a way these stories could be told in ways they deserve.

Like Thor 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier brings audiences into the universe, post-Avengers, after The Battle for New York. The world is a different place. America has seen the depths of what evil can do and the government will go to any lengths necessary to stop anything like New York from ever happening again.

In the first Captain America, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a fish out of water; in the Winter Soldier, he’s learning to walk. No longer mystified by things like the internet and digital technology, he’s getting accustomed to his present life in the future.

There is a constant sadness about Captain America. He longs for friends and family he will never see, and an America that just doesn’t have the same heroic patriotism as it did during the Second World War. He desires a past he can never return to. All the while working alongside of someone who doesn’t want to return to the past, Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

In one way, Marvel films, like most films, are an escape – a two hour vacation from the problems of the day. There is no universe more fanciful than the one of Marvel. There is no other film franchise that can get away with a man taking down a futuristic fighter jet with just a piece of metal and make the audience not only appreciate it, but care. Yet Marvel never allows movie watchers to get too far into its fanciful universe without forcing them to deal with their own reality.

An analogy could be made between The Battle for New York, September 11th, and our own government. At what point does a society surrender freedom for security? What is freedom? What is fear?

It’s not an easy question to answer when you wake up in a world with a moral standard sixty years removed from the one you’ve grown up with. But it is indeed a question that needs answering. Steven Rogers desires the world to be run according to a moral standard from American antiquity.

For Captain Rogers to address moral questions, his compass points him to the past. For Nick Fury, it’s all about the present. For the Christian, the moral compass points to a book not bound to the restraint of time – the Word of God.

Currently, we see the problems of not having a standard for right and wrong unfolding around us here in the United States. We can’t answer simple questions like what to do with marriage. We allowed the Government to spy on us and we try to prevent Russia from invading other countries, all the while our nation tries to justify it when it suits our best interest.

I doubt Captain America would approve of our modern government. In fact, Captain America would be seen as anti-American by most of the mainstream liberal media, and his radical ideas of not surrendering liberty for security would have him painted as an extremist tea party activist by Fox News. Perhaps that is what makes Captain America so endearing. It allows us to be patriotic again. It gives the viewers something to stand for, a reason to not compromise our freedoms because of fear.

Marvel could have gone the way of GI-JOE, dropping all resemblances of patriotism and making Captain America simply an international hero. Keeping Cap bleeding the red, white and blue was a bold move for a notoriously anti-patriotic Hollywood. It was risky.

But, judging by the packed theater, it’s a move that will definitely pay off.