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Captain ‘America’: Does the movie lean left, right or libertarian?
National Review ^ | 04/16/2014 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 04/16/2014 7:01:55 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

So I finally saw the new Captain America sequel (Oh, and there are spoilers ahead in case you’re planning to see it but are even lazier than I am).

Off the bat, I enjoyed it. It moved along well. Good action, blah, blah, blah.

Now, on to the controversies. The most pressing of which is the lunacy of Captain America’s shield. The physics make absolutely no sense. In the comics the shield is composed of adamantium, vibranium, and a certain lost/secret ingredient that made replicating the shield impossible. In the first Captain America movie they changed that, saying the shield was 100% vibranium. Yes, yes, these are both made up metals. But according to the first movie vibranium absorbs all vibrations, which is awesome when defending yourself from a tank shell. But that same quality would make all the bouncing boomerang bank shots impossible. Also, where does all that kinetic energy go over time? You’d think after a couple years of absorbing the Hulk’s punches and Thor’s hammer smacks the doohickey would be permanently super hot. One theory is that Fox Entertainment has exclusive rights to use adamantium in its X-Men franchise. Everybody now, shake your fists Foxward: MMmmmmurrrrrddoocccchhhh!!!!!!! Anyway, Wired’s The Angry Nerd has this whole issue pretty well covered.

Then there’s the lunacy of Winter Soldier’s bionic arm. This, too, is a longstanding peeve of mine. You know what you get when a guy with a bionic arm lifts a two ton truck? A truck with a really cool bionic arm attachment and a dude lying on the ground screaming in pain as he looks at the huge gaping hole in his shoulder where his bionic arm used to be. Or you might get a dude writhing on the ground in agony over his two popped knee caps. The weight gets distributed, people.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way. Let’s talk about the political controversy. Many on the right, including NRO’s own reviewer of the film, Armond White, as well as my friend John Podhoretz are dismayed by the movie. John begins: “Aficionados often refer to comic books in terms of eras: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age. The same may now be true of the comic-book movie. Judging from last year’s mega-hit Iron Man 3, and the brand-new mega-hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the comic-book movie has entered the Commie Age.” He goes on:

The great villain in these two movies isn’t an evil alien, or a dastardly villain, but “Fear.” You remember Fear. Fear is what leftists began telling us we were being peddled after 9/11 to advance the corporatist neoconservative agenda to take over the world. There was no real Islamist threat, according to this line of argument; it was ginned up to induce Fear. This was and is the favored line of argument on Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now!” and of the activist journalist Glenn Greenwald, the front man for Edward Snowden.

Meanwhile, a lot of folks seem to think the movie is in fact libertarian. Quite a few people on Twitter as well as students here at Hillsdale have complained that conservative complaints about the movie miss the point somehow.

On the merits, I side with the critics. I think John’s point about the Fear is particularly well-taken. It’s worth thinking about where this notion came from. There are two sources. One is the storied FDR line “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” But there’s a second source of the Fear storyline. It comes out of the liberal-left’s response to the Cold War. The so-called anti-anti-Communist left routinely argued that anti-Communism was rooted in paranoia not reality. Never mind that there really were Communists working for the Soviets in the U.S. government. Never mind that the Evil Empire really was evil and an empire. They held that it was unworthy of America to be overly concerned about such things.

Hence an irony. The meaning of FDR’s “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” line is that we should confront our fears directly and deal with them. (Sure, in FDR’s case that meant launching a largely disastrous economic policy. But the point is sound.) But the Cold War connotation of the Fear meant something close to the opposite. It meant ignoring, not confronting what we feared because fear itself was worse than the threat. Funny side note: If the government had that attitude in the 1940s, we never would have confronted the Nazis with . . . Captain America. Steve Rogers would have stayed 4-F. Because creating eugenic super-soldiers is an act of fear, something a great nation like America need not resort to.

Now fast forward to today. Here we have a world where — in just the last few years — New York has been all but demolished by an alien invasion. Waves of villainous mutants have launched insurrections. And, in Winter Soldier, we discover a near century-old Nazi cult is alive and well and has infiltrated the government and SHIELD (a multinational super espionage and crisis management consortium). And the wise and idealistic response to this is . . . dismantle SHIELD entirely and immediately! Better to do without the only agency organized for planetary defense, than to, Oh I don’t know, fix it.

But it gets worse: The heroes upload all of SHIELD’s secrets to the Internet. Because there’s no time to waste. We have to destroy SHIELD right away without any serious discussion or democratic debate. That’s the American Way, after all.

Question: Do all of these uploaded documents include the schematics for all of SHIELD’s super-awesome weapon systems? How about the secret identities of superheroes, innocent mutants and, for that matter, SHIELD agents? Did they just upload DIY instructions for Iron Man’s suits? It really didn’t seem like there was a lot of time for the Black Widow to sort through the files and make sure everything she was uploading was safe for wide dissemination. But who cares? It’s the right thing to do, because, Fear.

Bizarrely, Nick Fury who has dedicated his life to protecting America — and humanity — can be convinced of all this in about 40 seconds. Ah, Nick we hardly knew ye.

Now, look, I’ve never really liked SHIELD because it always struck me as the U.N.’s police force (SHIELD’s legal status, much like what the letters actually stand for, have been a moving target for a very long time). But you’d think the citizen-of-the world types would like that aspect of it. This is the long-fabled International Community — with teeth! But no. Because, Fear. And that’s the real irony. It’s Captain America’s response that is based in irrational fear of a threat of what could be versus the threat that actually exists. The notion that this is what smart people would actually do in such an environment is insane. Look how American politics changed — for good or ill — after 9/11. Now imagine an invading supernatural army pouring out of an extra-dimensional hole in the sky, complete with flying monster fish-type things, leveling nearly all of midtown in a bid to conquer Earth and install a global god-king in the form of Loki. (That’s what happens in the first Avengers movie). Show of hands: Who thinks all of the enlightened people would opt for simply destroying SHIELD outright?

In Winter Soldier’s defense, it’s a comic-book movie intended for a global audience. As such it doesn’t really make arguments about anything so much as gestures that stand in for arguments. These gestures provide the necessary punctuation between the explosions. But it’s worth noting that one reason Hollywood is so invested in these kinds of movies is that they translate well around the world (you don’t need subtitles for fireballs and car crashes). And foreign profits are often more important than domestic these days. The same goes for these political gestures. Foreign audiences don’t see the U.N. police force being dismantled, they see the American national-security apparatus being dismantled — and they cheer.


TOPICS: Society; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: captainamerica; movies

1 posted on 04/16/2014 7:01:55 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I thought it was a great movie.


2 posted on 04/16/2014 7:05:08 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m getting the feeling this movie is a work of fiction. ;-)


3 posted on 04/16/2014 7:07:39 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: SeekAndFind

Captain America was not eugenic, he was chemically enhanced. Steroids, I guess.


4 posted on 04/16/2014 7:09:35 AM PDT by steve8714 (May God bless you all.)
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To: steve8714

RE: Captain America was not eugenic, he was chemically enhanced.

So, what happened to the serum that created him as the Super Soldier?


5 posted on 04/16/2014 7:11:09 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: SeekAndFind

And yet, here’s the REAL “Winter Soldier”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Soldier_Investigation
John Kerry and his commie buddies back in the 70s.

So now, that phrase will be associated with a comic-book movie, rather than the subversive thing that it really was..


6 posted on 04/16/2014 7:13:17 AM PDT by NFHale (The Second Amendment - By Any Means Necessary.)
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To: SeekAndFind
"(Oh, and there are spoilers ahead in case you’re planning to see it but are even lazier than I am)."


7 posted on 04/16/2014 7:13:32 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; We need a second party!)
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To: Jack Hydrazine
Here is an awful spoiler.


8 posted on 04/16/2014 7:16:44 AM PDT by xp38
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To: SeekAndFind
So, what happened to the serum that created him as the Super Soldier?

I lost it in a tragic boat accident....along with all my firearms. ;)

9 posted on 04/16/2014 7:17:03 AM PDT by Magnum44 (I have had just about enough)
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To: xp38

WHOA!!!!!


10 posted on 04/16/2014 7:23:33 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; We need a second party!)
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To: driftdiver

I liked the movie but agree with the critics. It had a pretty far left wing point of view.

If the movie came out while Bush was still president it would be obvious. The fact that Obama is president confuses things, because movies don’t criticize Obama.

I have no doubt that in the Marvel/Captain America movie universe Bush is still president so the government is still evil.


11 posted on 04/16/2014 7:24:37 AM PDT by Bubba_Leroy (The Obamanation Continues)
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To: Bubba_Leroy

I don’t think it was left wing.

They had the kill list and the out of control government. A lot of personal responsibility type stuff.


12 posted on 04/16/2014 7:28:35 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: SeekAndFind

“It comes out of the liberal-left’s response to the Cold War. The so-called anti-anti-Communist left routinely argued that anti-Communism was rooted in paranoia not reality. Never mind that there really were Communists working for the Soviets in the U.S. government.”

One of the fun things about watching Spielberg/Lucas movies (and other libs) is the political pretzel they tie into.

Another example? The last Indiana Jones, where half the movie Jones is talking about the “witchhunt” of communism because people are paranoid enough to think the reds have infiltrated America, after the entire first few scenes of the movie are scenes where Communists have infiltrated America, snuck in and killed a whole bunch of Americans and his best friend is revealed to be a spy.

We thought it was pretty funny, but it’s always a good reminder to see the total lack of logic that characterizes liberal brains. And this kind of stuff is everywhere in lib lala land. That’s why liberalism is a religion - you need total faith in it because it lacks any kind of rationality. Like DiBlasio getting rid of the Muslim investigation units because being nice to folks who want to blow you up will make them change their mind. Someone go tell that to Boston.


13 posted on 04/16/2014 7:51:43 AM PDT by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Scientist killed, recipe lost. Avenger side notes, Bruce Banner (Hulk) was working on a version of the serum which he tried on himself and Howard Stark (Ironman’s dad) made his vibranium shield.


14 posted on 04/16/2014 7:55:28 AM PDT by Valpal1 (If the police can t solve a problem with violence, they ll find a way to fix it with brute force)
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To: xp38

Oh there is the spoiler, I was looking for!


15 posted on 04/16/2014 8:08:24 AM PDT by PoloSec ( Believe the Gospel: how that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’d say it leans Green. As in money.


16 posted on 04/16/2014 8:12:28 AM PDT by DoodleDawg
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To: SeekAndFind
Then there’s the lunacy of Winter Soldier’s bionic arm. This, too, is a longstanding peeve of mine. You know what you get when a guy with a bionic arm lifts a two ton truck? A truck with a really cool bionic arm attachment and a dude lying on the ground screaming in pain as he looks at the huge gaping hole in his shoulder where his bionic arm used to be. 

I'm glad to see someone else noticed this. It's like Superman stopping a plummeting airplane in the last few hundred feet before a crash. What do you get? Either a Superman shaped hole through the thin aluminum skin of the plane or the same effect on the plane anytime it stops in about its own length: crushed airframe, dead passengers, ruptured tanks and a fire - i.e. a plane crash.

17 posted on 04/16/2014 8:26:58 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Republican amnesty supporters don't care whether their own homes are called mansions or haciendas.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Question: Do all of these uploaded documents include the schematics for all of SHIELD’s super-awesome weapon systems? How about the secret identities of superheroes, innocent mutants and, for that matter, SHIELD agents? Did they just upload DIY instructions for Iron Man’s suits? It really didn’t seem like there was a lot of time for the Black Widow to sort through the files and make sure everything she was uploading was safe for wide dissemination. 

Didn't the same thing happen when the US government posted a lot of Saddam's files in Arabic in order to get them quickly translated by people on the web? I remember one Arabic speaking Freeper even participating and commenting on some of the stuff he was translating. Then suddenly the project disappeared because some of the posted documents included instructions on WMDs. Oops.

18 posted on 04/16/2014 8:36:45 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Republican amnesty supporters don't care whether their own homes are called mansions or haciendas.)
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To: xp38

“Here is an awful spoiler.”

Yeah, but what a great way to never forget where you parked!


19 posted on 04/16/2014 8:38:53 AM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: SeekAndFind

The only disappointment for me, because the trailers suggested otherwise, was that the producers missed an opportunity to show Cap landing on his shield. Supposedly, because the shield does that, it allows him to land on it when he jumps from great heights.

Falling from 10,000, or whatever it was, it would be like landing on concrete when he hit the water. Only the strongest Marvel characters could do that and not break their spine landing on the ground.


20 posted on 04/16/2014 9:53:38 AM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: SeekAndFind

Last vial broke. Creator killed.


21 posted on 04/16/2014 10:23:00 AM PDT by steve8714 (May God bless you all.)
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To: steve8714

One creator did it and did not share the formula with others? even with a team of scientists who helped?

HOW CONVENIENT !!

And oh yeah, the creator lived in the 1940’s. We are now in the 21st century... surely someone can study Steve Rogers and come up with the same formula with all our advanced technology...

Just saying.


22 posted on 04/16/2014 10:25:20 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: KarlInOhio

Yeah, and how about Superman flying? He jumps up, sticks his arms out, and he’s flying? I know the thing about suspending disbelief and “hey man, it’s a comic book figure,” but a lot of things Superman did didn’t make sense. And with his super powers he couldn’t defeat the commies and other evil powers all by himself?


23 posted on 04/16/2014 12:34:10 PM PDT by driftless2
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To: catnipman

Well it does have that. :)


24 posted on 04/16/2014 8:49:08 PM PDT by xp38
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s a comic book. Hardly worth extra caps.


25 posted on 04/17/2014 7:36:19 AM PDT by steve8714 (May God bless you all.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Nazis infiltrate American security units....I vote anti-Democrat (with a “D”)


26 posted on 04/18/2014 9:44:23 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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