Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thus Spake Captain America

Working backwards,  I went last week to see Captain America with my friend and PD classmate Matt Wallin.  I hadn't planned on seeing Capt. America, figuring it was probably along the lines of other miss-able comic book movies of late (see under: Green Lantern), but when it received a decent review from WaPo, I figured I would grab a matinee.  At $14, matinees ain't what they used to be, but to be sure, we did see it in 3-D (I will return to such biz).

Captain America was actually pretty good.  The story revolves around our first avenger Steve Rogers'  fight against Agt. Red Skull Smith and his fascist army Hydra. The Red Skull character is a cold and calculating Otto Dietrich zur Linde archetype as he pursues power with Wagner playing on the gramaphone in the background.   Meanwhile, Rogers is the scrawny underdog who knows the value of strength and compassion.  Thankfully, my friend ManIC gets into the rest of the plot and its foreign policy connections, so I don't have to.

Unlike X-Men, there is less of an existential question of what constitutes good and evil; Captain America is much more Manichean.  Although there was still a bit of the notion of ruling over power lest it rule over us: "Great power has always baffled primitive men."  A thing I liked from the movie included Captain America bristling at his role selling the war, and being a propaganda symbol rather than engaging in the real action.  In the end, leading by example did more to create positive change and leadership than symbolized propaganda.  A thing I disliked was that the evil spy who killed Capt. America's mentor was a wolf in State Department clothing (I felt this was an unnecessary McCarthyite attack, even if unintentional).

Overall, it had an interesting theme of mensch vs. ubermensch and the notion that the power is within you, with an overarching message of "fighting bullies".  There was an interesting interplay about how to create good networks vs. bad networks and the role of symbols and socialization in such business.

On the whole, I would give it a solid "B".  Entertaining, and just about worth the price of admission.  My only complaint was with the 3-D, which wasn't really.  It was a 2-D movie that they converted, and I didn't find the 3-D added much except to the price.  

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