April 4, 2014

When I first saw the trailer for Captain America: Winter Soldier a few months ago, I thought to myself, “this is unusual from Hollywood.” Captain America is told that building a “better” world sometimes means tearing the old one down. Sounds a bit like a global takeover, doesn’t it? And Captain America decides to stand in the way.

So I was cautiously optimistic about the film. You wouldn’t think Hollywood would want to sell liberty in bulk, but sure enough Captain America: Winter Soldier does.

Here’s our initial review of the film after seeing it at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas:

(WARNING: May contain spoilers)

Now, I never saw the first Captain America film but fortunately, that’s not necessary to watch this one. All you really need to know about the last movie is that Captain America, a hero of World War II, was placed in suspended animation until the present. He’s a product of the greatest generation and he cherishes his values which are sadly foreign in this modern world. Fortunately, he doesn’t think that has to be the case and that’s one of the movie’s strongest points.

In many ways Captain America is a personification of national sovereignty and the Constitution. He uses a shield in combat which also represents a shield protecting Americans and their liberties. And Captain America fights intellectually as well as physically, a key point that the trailer made. He believes in due process, not eliminating “threats” before they become threats to the state.

So naturally this puts the Captain in conflict against the film’s antagonists, neoconservatives who believe in creating “order” out of artificial chaos through fear and control. They want Americans to willingly trade in their liberties for “security.”

Gee, sounds a lot like real life, doesn’t it? Looks the screenwriters studied white papers from the Project for the New American Century when writing this film. There’s also a great reference in the movie to Total Information Awareness, the ambitious surveillance program that sought to analyze every American’s personal records in order to develop a “risk profile” on each person.

Hollywood’s honesty here is refreshing.

The movie also tackles other key aspects, such as information control, centralized planning, trans-humanism, compartmentalization and even brainwashing. Captain America: Winter Soldier points out the fallacies in all of these, making the film seem very anti-propaganda compared to other recent Hollywood productions.

The movie is great for showing your friends and family a frame of reference to what’s going on both domestically and geopolitically in the world today.

Captain America: Winter Soldier is a story about what all of us should inspire to be: superheros who will defend our basic liberties which bring us prosperity rather than the poverty resulting from totalitarian regimes.

I give Captain America: Winter Soldier 4.5/5.

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