Marvel’s newest film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” is meant to be direct slam on President Obama’s private terrorist kill list, according to the film’s directors.
While Hollywood has long been criticized for having an extreme leftward slant to the point that conservative actors are forced to keep their views private in order to avoid being blacklisted, the new Captain America film appears to have turned that image on its head.
In a film ripped right from today’s headlines over revelations of the depth of the National Security Agency’s spying on the phone records of nearly every American and controversy over provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that allow the president to use the military on domestic soil to combat acts of what he deems to be terrorism, the movie deals with those issues in a way that is not supportive of the government.
Joe Russo, who directed the film along with his brother Anthony, told left-wing publication Mother Jones that while the film was conceived of before Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s spying programs, data mining is an integral element of the plot.
Joe Russo told Jones they wanted to make a film that tackled many of the issues about government overreach that Americans today find disconcerting.
“It was all in the ether [already], it was all part of the zeitgeist. The Snowden stuff actually happened while we were shooting.” “[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller,” Joe Russo tells Mother Jones. “So we said if you want to make a political thriller, all the great political thrillers have very current issues in them that reflect the anxiety of the audience…That gives it an immediacy, it makes it relevant. So [Anthony] and I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president’s kill list, preemptive technology”—
In the film, Captain America fights a government program called Project Insight, which involves the collection of large amounts of data and intel. Captain America ends up fighting those officials who want to use the information for their own purposes.
While some may criticize the pureness of Captain America and what they deem his simplistic element of American patriotism and exceptionalism, this has long been a feature of Captain America’s character.
Captain America was first created in World War II as a way to motivate Americans in their fight against the Nazis. As such, patriotism was a constant theme, including statements by him that revealed a belief in American greatness.
This theme carried on throughout the franchise’s history, including the Watergate years, where he temporarily abandoned the uniform to call himself Nomad, symbolizing a man without a country. However, after several issues he returned, saying he was going to represent America as she should be, not necessarily as she was.
In this way, the film appears to evoke feelings about America echoed by President Ronald Reagan with his frequent references to America being the shining city on a hill.