Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Frontline Spotlight: Captain America

By: Jess, Fictional Planet

When your first comic book debut is punching Adolf Hitler, it's amazing you remain relevant.  Although, you are a badass, so that's going for you.

Yes:  I am referring to the one and only Captain America.  The man who has (apparently) died so many times in his books that his publication actually ended for a little while between 1950-1964.   In other words, after the war, Captain America became irrelevant - the very thing I am saying he has overcome.  Personally, Captain America is my favorite of the Avengers, and long before he was made cool on a movie screen (ha!).  This dates back to when I was in 7th grade, and before I knew of Captain America I wanted to make my own character "representing" America like he does for a school project.  I made a character called Miss America, and then I found out a real comic character existed called "Captain America".  Not only was my mind blown (dude, I was in 7th grade) , but I LOVED Captain America from then on.  Dude was awesome.

How I feel right now
As a long time fan before it was cool, it's awesome to see Cap hitting it off with the general audience.  It's great Marvel is bringing him into the present day, showing us he can still be relevant in a time stricken with a shitload of political strife basically everywhere.  Captain America's ideas aren't dead, they have just changed.  They've evolved - much like himself to fit into the 21st century world.  That is also one of the reasons I'm a fan of Captain America - he has literally directly evolved with the world and times he was being published in.  Adolf Hitler is now dead, therefore we can't publish Captain America punching him again (but I figure you knew he was dead...).  We need to literally work with the world around us for a Captain America story, because America and its ideals are ever changing - so if he doesn't change with it, how can he possibly be a representative?

But for those of you who know me also know I'm not crazy over Superman because I feel he is too much of a goody-two-shoes (oh, I just pissed someone off).  Why do I like Captain America and not Superman (as much)?  Captain America is awkward.  Captain America is more capable of making mistakes.  Captain America isn't a well disguised alien (in the most literal sense of the word, however), so we can relate to him better* (*just the writer's opinion).

But more recently, something else with Captain America resonated with me and you can read entirely why at my main blog, Fictional Planet.

Do you see that list of illnesses?  Do you?

You do know you can't see those illnesses, right?  Like, you know, you can't see asthma.  Or sinusitus.  They're invisible.  Superman wasn't really ever sickly - he was bullied because of being different.  He had super-senses and could do super things.  Captain America was sick and had problems, and those people do actually exist in the world.  Maybe I just enjoyed seeing actual illnesses on paper.  To me, it really spoke about his character and who he would become before he even saved one person's life. Illness changes people.  They become more empathetic, more driven, more humble (usually, in my experience- read the main blog for Cap's sake).  The fact is, too, we can identify with those illnesses save for rheumatic and scarlet fever.  In 2009, one in 12 people had asthma.  Heart/cardiovascular problems is the number one cause of death in the United States.  We all know at least ONE person who has had a heart attack.  And we know this is limiting and even dehumanizing, sometimes, even without the military getting involved here.

Steve Rogers wasn't just a statistic in the end.  He developed himself because of his experiences and rose above it- anytime any of us do that, we all have a little bit of Steve Rogers in us.  Also, given how the actual Chris Evans goes around visiting sick kids, you can't help but realize this connection - maybe he's not just visiting them because he's a movie star and ridiculously famous.  Maybe illness is ingrained into Captain America's genesis - and without it, we wouldn't have the Cap we do, even if he got into the military.

So since Cap is so big... he should get a third movie, right?  Oh, you mean Civil War?  Or do you mean Avengers 2 and a Half?

As a very big Captain America fan (before it was cool), I am mildly disappointed in Civil War thus far.  They could have made that movie have so many political statements like The Winter Soldier, and the government part is doing that.  They could have done so much with Captain America given today's international political climate even without directly mentioning anyone or anything while keeping it just to the Captain and a few others.  I liked the idea of Civil War, until I realized it'd just be a bunch of Avengers bickering (I'm simplifying this incredibly) while Cap is somewhere on the screen.  Better yet, if anything it undermines Captain America in his own movie.  If he is really the leader, and Avengers really do listen to him, this should be a non-issue: what Cap says goes.  It should be known the lead Avenger (probably) disagrees with labeling superheroes.. it should also be known he's the leader and is one of the most respected Avengers.  As a result, why are we undermining his power in his own movie?  Cap disagrees and theoretically, that should be the end of it... he is the leader, after all.  Supposedly.

It just feels like they're banking on Captain America's name without actually giving us a movie about him, because if the Avengers don't listen, then it's not about him.  It's about the dynamics of the Avengers and power struggle amid the political tones and Captain America's leadership.  Maybe they will convince me.  I hope they do, and I hope I'm wrong.

Really, though: You just made the guy relevant again and you're already casting him aside for another big box movie with 80 different people running around?  There is so much more to be done with Captain America alone.  There's so many open ended questions with Peggy, Red Skull, The Winter Soldier, all these people that were thrust onto the screen.  Howard Stark and Steve's relationship.  HYDRA.  The only thing you could think of was making the Avengers fight.. again?! How about one of the, I don't know, probably hundreds Captain  America villains?  Ms.  Hydra?  Serpent Society?  Doctor Faustus? Baron Zemo? MODOK?  Anything other than watching Avengers fight amongst themselves - again?  Please? For the love of all thing good, please?!

The writer, currently, is away from the computer.

Related Links:
Follow Jess On Twitter
Check out Fictional Planet

Previous Frontline Spotlights:
Frontline Spotlight: Ant-Man
Frontline Spotlight: Suicide Squad
Frontline Spotlight: Deadpool
Frontline Spotlight: Aquaman

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