Friday, April 18, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier goes where Hollywood normally fears to tread

From DISNEY no less?!? Captain America: The Winter Soldier goes where no comic/action film has gone before. Be glad for it. By Rashard Zanders – Twin Cities, MN Like most comic book nerds today I am among those ecstatic with the frequency and quality of the Marvel superhero movies that have dominated the box office since the release of Iron Man I. The success of the films, including films depicting Marvel heroes Thor, the Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and the Avengers, validates these nerds' tacit contention that the stories and characters in Marvel's lexicon a rich, layered and textured stories; character driven and action packed escapism. Which is why I found myself even more pleasantly surprised after viewing CA: TWS. What was so surprising about the Winter Soldier is not so much how rousing an action vehicle is is, and it is surely that. What surprised was a central element of its plot and how unDisney, non-escapist, adding this plot twist is. Spoiler here: As any fan of Marvel knows, the superhero cliques are basically managed by a shadowy government agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D, or Shield, a quasi-NSA/CIA type organization vested with defending the United States from threats galactic and terrestrial, and employing the same secrecy as it's real time counterparts. Where the movie goes off the usual formula for a summer blockbuster (lots of action, dumbed down plots, etc) is when it dives into a very little known fact that during the end of WWII, the US, Britain, France, and Russia covertly saved the surviving nazi brain trust. “In her new book “Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America” (Little, Brown and Company), author Annie Jacobsen uses newly released documents, court transcripts, and family-held archives to give the fullest accounting yet of this endeavor — one shared by the British, the French, and the Russians, all of whom enlisted and embraced top Nazis. “ from This is a part of American history that will never make it into US students' history books: it doesn't mesh well with the mythology of American heroism. But there was meshing going on..particularly the meshing of the nazi braintrust with high level secret American space and military projects, such as the inception of NASA and the transition of the US intelligence apparatus from the OSS to the CIA. In the Winter Soldier the highest ranking Shield operative is Director Alexander Pierce, played with understated creep by Robert Redford. By the end we discover that he, along with most of Shield, has been infiltrated and coopted by the movies nazi stand-ins, HYDRA, a fictional, scientific wing of the nazi party. In fact, by the end of the film, it is apparent that HYDRA has been inside of Shield since the end of WWII. Hence, most of the military and security operations executed by Shield have in reality, been at the behest of HYDRA for the last 70 plus years. And doesn't it make sense? The majority of US military involvement since WWII has been against nations of color; most of whom began fighting independence struggles against US and Western colonizers shortly after WWII ended. It seems democracy was an ideal to rally around for some, not all. An objective view of US foreign policy mis-adventures, civil rights climate past and present, and an understanding of US covert actions against Third World nations struggling for self-determination, working poor struggling to make a life in the land of the free, it becomes evident that Captain America: The Winter Soldier's plot twist was really taking a page from our own history. A history that continues to forget it's past. By illuminating this cooperative relationship between Shield (CIA) and HYDRA (nazis), the movie educates its viewers in a way most Hollywood productions are afraid to: Ironic, given Walt Disney's own documented history as a nazi sympathizer. See also:

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