Wednesday, April 2, 2014

UPDATED: Symbols & Intrigue: Captain America the Winter Soldier

It is being teased in trailers that Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) dies in the film (mainly because we see him in a car crash caused by the Winter Soldier, and at some point, Steve Rogers says, "His last words to me were, 'Don't trust anyone,'" as well as seeing Rogers and Black Widow standing beside a dead body). Does Fury die? Probably not. Even if he does die in the film, please recall that "Resurrection" has been a popular theme (we discussed it in Iron Man 3 [why Pepper got the huge rabbit from Tony for Christmas, and her falling to a fiery death only to "rise again] and in Skyfall when Silva asks Bond, "What's your hobby?" to which he replies, "Resurrection." We also can't forget Loki's "resurrection" in Thor the Dark World [after he seemingly dies saving Thor, only to disguise himself as a soldier to kidnap Odin]). Even if Fury dies, he might be resucciated by the end of the film (he is certainly in The Avengers 2: the Age Of Ultron). And we shouldn't forget the "resurrection" of the film's villain, Bucky Barnes, who "died" when Steve couldn't hold onto him in Captain America: the First Avenger, so "resurrection" is all ready a theme within the film.
UPDATED: Let me be clear: I have not yet seen the film at the time of this posting (I all ready have my ticket to the Thursday showing), so these are deductions based upon trailers, spots and spoilers released through interviews; this post contains a major spoiler, so if you don't want to know, please, stop reading; thank you.
Captain America's outfit changes at some point in the film and these elements are going to be important. The star remains where it is; why? Because it's over his heart, and it was because of his heart that Steve Rogers was chosen to become Captain America. Please, remember, in Thor the Dark World, when Loki and Thor were "escaping Asgard" and Loki briefly changes into Captain America to mock him, it's because Steve--more than any of the other Avengers--most aptly pinned what Loki was, in Berlin, when Steve called Loki "Hitler."
As of Sunday, March 30, Captain America the Winter Soldier has done $75 million at the foreign box office,.... why is Captain America not being released in America first? It's expected to do about that it's opening weekend in the US, so get your tickets in advance. And remember: there are two post-credit scenes, so be kind and don't let people leave the theater without seeing them, even if you have to tackle and hog-tie them, I am sure they will be grateful for it. Why should you see it this weekend? Well, the events of this film are setting us up for the next big Marvel release, The Avengers 2: the Age Of Ultron, so without see CAWS, you really won't know what's going on, but you should see it this weekend so you don't have it ruined for you. Here is the official synopsis:
This could be the most important moment of the film: the Winter Soldier using Captain America's own weapon against him. We have seen something similar in Olympus Has Fallen, when American nukes were going to be used against us, but ask yourself, could the shield of Captain America stand for SHIELD being used against us (like the NSA supposed to be protecting us, but policing us instead?) or even the Constitution protecting our enemies and being used against us? On a different note, there are two "identity" features of the Winter Soldier we must take particular note of, his blacked-out eyes we see in some scenes, as well as the face mask he sometimes wears (as in the image above); why? Those two features are part of his costume to communicate to us something tangible about the intangible: his soul. When we see part of any character's identity covered up or damaged, it means that some part of their being we can't see has been damaged, and the face mask over the Winter Soldier will reveal to us more clearly how he is being controlled and the consequences of it.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier (Captain America the Winter Soldier, Cinemablend). 
Why is the loss of Peggy Carter such a big deal for Steve? On one level, she was his dream, and when we lose our dream, we lose the biggest part of our own self (we will see this in X-Men Days Of Future Past) but it also becomes difficult to "dream again," and that's regrettable, because America is known for chasing its dreams. If Steve can't fulfill his own dreams, why should he be fighting for others to fulfill their dreams, isn't America, then, just an illusion? On another level, Steve not connecting with a woman is a sign that he's not connecting with "modern America," because women often symbolize the "motherland," whereas men symbolize the economy. On still a different level, Peggy--whom one American soldier called "Queen Victoria,"--is very much a symbol of the US-British alliance that fought and won World War II together and whether or not that alliance is still alive. This was, I believe, an issue visited in Iron Man 3 with Happy and the episodes of Downton Abbey. Tony tells the nurse that Happy likes it because he thinks it's elegant, but there is a British character in the film who is far removed from "elegance," and that is the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who is just an actor, so we have the image of the elegant and powerful England of days gone by in Downton Abbey, and the sad reality of what England has maybe come to be today in the Mandarin because of their increasing socialist policies (for more, please see Season Of Terror: Iron Man 3 & the Sand Creek Massacre).
Here is the big spoiler, even though we have all ready discussed the possibility of it: Steve Rogers discovers that Russia has taken over SHIELD from within SHIELD, in other words, there is a double agent working in SHIELD who has betrayed Rogers and America,.... sound like any current events you are familiar with? I think the rat is Robert Redford's character, because conservative Americans see him as being a liberal, and one who wouldn't hesitate to hand over America to any communist; I could be wrong, however, but this is one of the big jolts of the film, that America has been betrayed.
I could be wrong about this, however, there are ships in the film, and one of those ships has the number 42 painted on it, looking exactly like what we see in the poster for the Jackie Robinson film, which was a huge platform for the American Dream and capitalism. IF CAWS references 42 using the ships, we will have to pay attention to the moments when we see the number, and details of the dialogue to see if there is any connection to be made between the two films.
Along with major plot lines there are also sub-plot lines, and Steve Rogers' longing for Peggy Carter will be one of those (we have seen the clip of Black Widow trying to hook Steve up with Kristen in Statistics). Another not-so-sub-plot-line will be when Captain America goes from being Captain America to a fugitive in America because he found out "too much" and now the enemies of the state, who have made themselves "the state," are using the resources of the state to destroy the very ones it should be protecting and honoring (does that sound familiar?).
Rumor has it that Falcon (Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker, Pain and Gain) meets Captain America while they are out in DC jogging. This is important not only because of the landmarks we will be seeing (like in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters when they arrive in Washington and Tyson sees the Capitol building and thinks it's Olympus, because it really is, like in Olympus Has Fallen) but also because of what it means to symbolically "run the race": these are two men who are in shape, not just physically, but morally and ethically, unlike the villains we will be seeing in the film. They have done with St. Paul commended Christians to do, "run the good race" so we would receive our reward, because if you aren't in good "moral shape" to meet the daily challenges of temptations, sin and sacrifice, you won't make it to heaven; likewise, these two men, instead of intriguing and advancing their pocketbooks, are actually exercising "genuine" self love in building up their hearts and souls to be strong--exhibited by their strong physique--so they can always make the right choices, even if those are the hard choices to make (at one point, Fury tells Rogers, "Looks like your calling the shots now," and that's because Rogers has the moral command of himself to make the decisions best for all, not best for himself.
In short, if you can make it, I hope you go out to see Captain America this weekend to support America. Marvel seems to really be sticking its neck out on the line with this one and trying to make a political point of how reversed our world has become since World War II (when Steve Rogers went from being a skinny kid to Captain America) and how we are at grave risk for becoming the very socialist machine Captain America vowed to fight.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Robert Redford as Joseph Turner ("the Condor") in Three Days Of the Condor with Faye Dunaway, from 1975, directed by Sydney Pollack. I am watching the film tonight, actually, because the Russo brothers (who have directed the film) have said they were very consciously stylizing CAWS after this film, which just happens to be a Cold War spy movie. Why bother watching it? There might be subtle references--it's always nice to be the "implied audience" who is in the know, rather than one who doesn't know what's going on--and there is probably some connection like, what Agent Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford in CAWS) is doing (probably in trying to usher in socialism by "tearing down the old world") is equivalent to what Higgins and Atwood did in killing people so they could get more oil, and now Steve Rogers is in the position that the Condor was in.
In short, if you can make it, I hope you go out to see Captain America this weekend to support America. Marvel seems to really be sticking its neck out on the line with this one and trying to make a political point of how reversed our world has become since World War II (when Steve Rogers went from being a skinny kid to Captain America) and how we are at grave risk for becoming the very socialist machine Captain America vowed to fight.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner