Friday, February 12, 2010

Why The Captain America Movie Will Be A Failure

(If you are a Republican, you should stop reading now. If you are a Conservative, then you'll probably be okay even though I'm gonna fly the Liberal flag proudly for a moment.)

I dread a Captain America movie. Just dread it. The World War 2 exploits of Captain America will not be a problem; it's when he gets to the modern age that things get complicated.

This story today about Marvel apologizing to the Tea Party movement just infuriates me.

I grew up on the Captain America made popular by Jack Kirby in the mid-1970s (see below). This Captain was a man-out-of-time and he represented an almost childish form of American idealism.

Somehow, those values -- albeit slightly left ones -- have now been branded liberal as if Captain America is the extreme character now, and not a representation of the American ideal -- an ideal that is both Conservative and Liberal actually, when you take the time to examine the way Captain America/Steve Rogers behaves in our modern age.

But what really set me off was this absurd quote from the Tea Party group's leader/founder:

"'When I was a child in the '60s Captain America was my favorite superhero,' he said. 'It's really sad to see what has traditionally been a pro-America figure being used to advance a political agenda.'"

Okay, time to rip this guy a new one:

1) If he was a fan of Cap in the 1960s, then what's the problem? Captain America has always been more or less the same idealist -- maybe liberal -- that he was then. America has changed but Captain America remains a kind of idealistic do-gooder.

Captain America is not so different now; Mr. Tea Party, maybe you changed?

2) The quote implies that Captain America, by virtue of criticizing the Tea Party people, is somehow now not pro-America -- they are pro-America but Captain America is not anymore? This is a classic Right Wing tactic to smear the other guy as being the one out-of-step and radical.

3) "...being used to advance a political agenda" -- Okay, every agenda is political in some way.

So, the question is not "Is Captain America political?" Of course, he is; it's an absurd question to even ask.

The question is why is what was normal behavior for this character 30, 40, and 50 years ago now somehow so far left of the mainstream as to be extreme?

When did "liberal" get to be such a bad word?

All this boils down to the "on the other hand-ism" that is sure to plague any film version of Captain America set in modern times.

In an effort not to lose any fans, Captain America will be blanded out so that his values are so fuzzy-wuzzy as to be nothing more than flag-waving.

If the Captain America film is like Iron Man, I'll be happy. That film managed to make a little tiny statement as it revealed a character changing from one worldview to another, the irony here being that Tony Stark was always a bit right wing -- especially during the Marvel Civil War a few years ago.

There's room in the Marvel Universe for both Liberals and Conservatives; let Cap be Cap, even if some people see him as this extreme liberal figure.