Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Captain America, Nazis, and Hollywood


  • Trivializing of WW2
  • too much GI Joe vs Cobra, rather than making a more serious movie
  • tries too put too much back story in a 2 hour movie that didn't need to be there
  • needed a few more drafts
  • The USO phase could have been streamlined
  • the training could have been streamlined since Erskine wanted Steve anyway
  • feels like a weird hybrid that wants to either be a character piece about an American Icon or a swashbuckling adventure film and it fails at both
  • either make fun of the Nazis or do it seriously, otherwise it belittles the actual suffering of the war
  • really reminds me that WW2 is the American's favorite war: last time they were the good guys and they show it
  • it should have taken a page out of Flags of Our Fathers and instead went with GI Joe
These are the bullet points that I came up with of the top of my head when I started out to write my review of Captain America: The First Avenger. That was at a point in time when I thought people actually cared about non-current reviews. Thing is, I didn't actually want to review the film, because, frankly, by this point everyone and their mom wrote down their opinions on this movie. Most people liked it, others didn't and I belong to the latter category. Even though the film did finally make me 'get' the character of Captain America, I was also reminded that lowbrow action/superhero adventure movies, made to be enjoyed in the cinema with friends and lots of popcorn and soda, do not fit together with movies about World War 2. Because, the way I see it, you can either make fun of the Nazis in a comedic way, then you take a page out of The Producers or use comedy to accentuate the drama, then use the Life is Beautiful approach, or do it in a completely dramatic way, then do it like Schindler's List. Don't just show a concentration camp or the horrors of war and then show Captain America in his silly tights saving the day.



And that's not just Captain America: The First Avenger, that includes most times Nazis are used whenever they need a cheap villain, whenever they are used for something like Wolfenstein or anything that just plays it tongue-in-cheek. Because, frankly, the war was too devastating, soul-crushing, and destructive to generations of people and has left its impact on world history, Europe and entire peoples in such s a way that I can never feel comfortable just watching someone use stereotypical Nazi goons in his movie, comic or game just because they need a villain and Nazis just happen to fit that slot for a lot of people. Call it guilt, for what people of my great-grandfather's generation did, but I don't have the stomach to watch Nazisploitation, because I fear the day when people forget the true history of the war and the crimes that were committed and just see a time in history when the good guys had an endless stream of evil to fight and a cool setting to set the next FPS or superhero story. If you can enjoy these stories then that's fine with me, I actually envy you. But please, never forget, that this actually happened and that it is all of our life's goals to make sure it can never happen again.



And now that I made you all horribly depressed, here's a video of a monkey throwing poo:

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