Stories Matter: The Critic’s Thoughts on Captain America

If you were on the Internet yesterday, you probably saw the news that, in the new comic run that just came out, Captain America is really an undercover Hydra agent.

Just typing that sentence makes me vaguely sick to my stomach for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that Captain America was created by two Jewish guys during World War II specifically because they were “morally repulsed” by the actions of Nazi Germany. But there are so many more reasons I am angry than just that.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

This is something we forget sometimes, I think.

Everything we choose to create, everything we bring into this world comes with myriad connections we may never have considered. And as responsible human beings, it is our JOB to consider all the implications we possibly can and to be aware of how our art can hurt people.

Because it can, and it does. And unfortunately, the people it hurts are usually the people who have been hurt time and again already.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

Others have explained why this particular gimmick (it’s a gimmick; I don’t care what the PTB says) is tone-deaf and ignorant at best and downright hurtful and frankly enraging at worst, and they’ve explained it better than I can. (I would encourage you to read all of those links, especially the Twitter threads and the article.)

Suffice it to say it doesn’t matter if this is a clone or an impostor or Evil Steve from a parallel universe or he’s being mind-controlled or if Marvel will retcon it at the end of the year (or, hell, even in the next issue). This “narrative twist” goes against everything Captain America has ever stood for, it spits in the face of his original creators and the Jewish community at large, and it does so at a time when we, as a global community, need real, good heroes more than ever. Even if the run finishes and it turns out Cap isn’t REALLY Hydra (and honestly, the editors are pushing the idea that he is SUPER HARD), the damage is done.

I am just so TIRED of this bullshit. I’m so tired of creators pushing the idea that morally gray antiheroes or actual villains are more interesting than people who try their best to do what’s right, no matter how hard it is. I’m so tired of ~edgy~ and ~gritty~. I’m so tired of evil characters being glorified, of good characters being gruesomely murdered or turned into evil characters for shock, publicity, and sales.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

Right now, Marvel has forgotten both of those things.

Trailer Park: Captain America: Civil War

I am alternately excited and kind of terrified for Captain America: Civil War. On the one hand, it’s once again directed by the Russo brothers, who did Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which hopefully means that it will be just as good as its predecessor.

On the other hand, I don’t like the whole “Team Cap” or “Team Iron Man” dichotomy they’ve got going on with the marketing, in part because I dislike seeing my favorite characters fight like this and in part because I don’t like the idea that one side is “wrong,” when both have their merits.

Regardless, May 6 can’t come soon enough.

Movie Review: Deadpool

Deadpool Deadpool was never a character I knew much about or was very interested in. My only introduction to the character had been the whole two minutes that Ryan Reynolds was on-screen as Wade Wilson in Wolverine: Origins (one of the best parts of that movie), and then what I’ve learned from my forays through the Internet in the years since. Honestly, it’s a testament to Reynolds’ acting that I was 100% willing to watch a Deadpool movie after that scene alone.

Although I wasn’t totally sold by the trailers–I was worried it would be too violent for me–I WAS sold by the marketing. Billboards made entire of emoji and a release date, posters that made it look like a romantic comedy–honestly, every bit of marketing for this movie just proved that the people behind it understood the utter ridiculousness and off-the-wall nature of Deadpool’s character.

So while yes, it is a violent movie, it’s also absolutely hilarious, and it’s so different from other comic book/superhero movies that it’s like a breath of fresh, expletive-laden air.

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Trailer Park: Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Age of Ultron teaser trailer was leaked briefly yesterday. This was Marvel’s initial response:

After that, they went ahead and put the trailer up on YouTube for all the world to see, and the Marvel fandom spent the next several hours collectively freaking out. Of course, after you watch the trailer, you can totally see why:

Yeah, I’m REALLY excited about this one. 😀

*quietly sings “I’ve got no strings on me”*