Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-man” showed the power of an individual in the age of the Internet. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” discusses the social inequality between the rich and poor. J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” reminds us of Naomi Klein’s “shock doctrine” in a post-9/11 world — that the shock of terrorism can easily became a catalyst for war.
If the recent slew of superhero blockbusters are anything to go by, superhero movies are a time capsule into the troubles of an era. Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (who also co-wrote “Thor: The Dark World”), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a frightening commentary on current events.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), better known as the super-soldier Captain America, is adjusting to life in modern-day D.C. after he’s been preserved in a block of ice since 1945 and revived to fight aliens with the Avengers team (consisting of himself, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye). Now, a S.H.I.E.L.D. contractor, he serves his country by running along the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and going on covert rescue operations — sometimes with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s spy-assassin Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson).
As S.H.I.E.L.D. develops Project Oversight — which uses satellite monitoring technology to observe and kill civilians before they become a threat to national security, Captain America has misgivings on working with the government. Captain America’s reservations echo the feelings of ordinary Americans who read or listened to Edward Snowden’s Big Brother-esque revelations about the NSA for the past 10 months. According to a USA Today/Pew Research Center poll, the majority of Americans oppose the NSA’s collection of metadata.
“This isn’t freedom. This is fear,” Captain America says.
Markus and McFeely’s screenplay (based on Ed Brubaker’s story) illustrates the implications of the elimination of privacy, highlighting the dangers of the immense information stored online. One Orwellian nightmare: Big Brother is always watching you and can kill you anytime from anywhere.
German HYDRA scientist Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) does just that. He created a computer program that could predict a human’s future affiliations and behaviors based on his or her past; this is based on emails, texts, videos, social media and other records of communication. In turn, the program selects S.H.I.E.L.D.’s targets — threats to national security who are preemptively killed by drones.
And who threatens the status quo? Our esteemed forth estate, our whistle-blowers, our activists and superheroes…
Directing duo Anthony and Joe Russo (known for sitcoms “Community” and “Arrested Development”) deliver a scary superhero film — filled with extra-long action sequences and paranoia.
“Trust no one,” warns S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) after he’s ambushed by D.C. police in a long car chase and police shootout.
The scariest part of this film: it resembles our own world.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo based on Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay and Ed Brubaker’s story. The comics were created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The story will continue in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”