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Who is Captain America? The Real “Winter Soldier”

Who is Captain America? The Real "Winter Soldier"

The Marvel property “Captain America” is an easy target for ReelPolitik, one in which I took great joy in aiming at when the reboot was released (see: “Captain America” review: Old-fashioned propaganda or just old-fashioned?). Now I wouldn’t have bothered to return to Cap except that I recently discovered the subtitle of the sequel: “Winter Soldier,” which coincidentally or not, shares a name with one of the Vietnam era’s most virulent anti-war docs. 

Did Paramount Pictures fully vet their new title before going forward? Or maybe they did, and decided to go with the name despite the fact that for some audiences, “Winter Soldier,” brings to mind horrible stories of atrocity: “Asian farmers mutilated and slaughtered as a kind of imperial bloodsport—tossed out of helicopters on a bet, disemboweled alive, [and] thrown down wells with grenades,” as Michael Atkinson once wrote.

Strangely enough, the recently released trailer of “Captain America: Winter Soldier” espouses some possibly lefty political perspectives, with none other than liberal giant Robert Redford donning the role of a suspicious high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. official, telling Cap, “To build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down. And that makes enemies.” And later, borrowing an ideological critique reminiscent of the “Dark Knight,” Captain America and Nick Fury share this exchange:

Captain America: I thought the punishment usually came after the crime.

Nick Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. protects the world as it is. Not as we’d like it to be.

Captain America: This isn’t freedom. This is fear.

I’m not sure if the winter soldiers back from Vietnam said the same thing, but they might very well have.

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