Captain America, The American Dream, and the American Reality
Captain America may be a Super Soldier wearing the red, white and blue, a symbol of American power in World War Two, and a defender of the weak and oppressed. But what does he mean in the modern age, and why does he matter today?
With the upcoming release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, once again Cap will be marketed overseas, and it will be interesting to see how international audiences embrace, or avoid, this iconic All-American superhero.
But is Captain America more than just a Super Soldier, draped in Stars and Stripes, than just a visible symbol of American superiority and a reflection of America as it is today?
Or is he more a reflection of the American heart as it SHOULD be, the America that many Americans still hold dear, and not just American power cast large to force the rest of the world to bend the knee, as SOME in our shared history have attempted to make it?
Captain America has not been just an extension of American government foreign policy since the early days of the comic in WWII. He's pretty much evolved into someone who DOES stand for The American Ideal, the freedom of the individual over the demands of the collective, and the moral choice of the strong sacrificing much, if not all, for the weak and suppressed.
He is not another two-dimensional propaganda recruitment poster for the nearly-nightmarish caricature the American Experiment has become, having been used repeatedly VERY stupid men for VERY stupid reasons.
Cap has been a Marvel character who has sided with the downtrodden and the out-of-luck, a kid of the Depression yanked forward forty years or so to see how life in America changed in the blink of an eye for him, and not in the ways that he, or others who saw his experiences in the Second World War, would have ever imagined.
No, Captain America is not so much about the modern America, as it is, but the America of seventy years ago, as it WAS when it was the last hope of a planet facing true domination by evil collectivism, and sacrificed so much to help small nations and weaker peoples throw off the yoke of dictatorship and despots.
In the end, I have the feeling that this film will not be seen so much as an "America, phuck YEAH" movie, but a reminder to a lot of people, here and abroad, of what America really is SUPPOSED to be about, has appeared to have forgotten, but which remains an ideal in the hearts and minds of a few people who actually hold that dream and spirit dear. Captain America reminding us of what America was SUPPOSED to be, a beacon of hope and a light in the darkness, leading by example.
It is not, and never was meant to be, a self-absorbed, self-obsessed and one-dimensional empire that strides the Earth like a colossal Sentinel sent by Bolivar Trask to remake every corner of the globe in its own distorted image.
And THAT is why I think this film will actually make a LOT of money overseas.
You can agree with me, or disagree. That's cool.
But I'd also like to hear what YOU think Captain America means, to YOU.
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