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Tuesday, May 10, 2016 

Salon writer detests Captain America movie depicting Steve Rogers supporting limited government viewpoint

There is some good news about the new Captain America: Civil War movie - that it doesn't portray Steve Rogers as an ultra-liberal like in the 2006 crossover (though if Tony Stark suffers that fate, I find that ludicrous). But a writer for Salon named Amanda Marcotte, who once claimed Steve was "anti-nationalist" last year, despises this film's direction:
Most corporate blockbuster movies would cave into the temptation to make the character some kind of generic, apolitical “patriot,” abandoning the comic tradition that has painted him as a New Deal Democrat standing up consistently for liberal values. Instead, in both the first movie and in “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” we get Steve the liberal: Anti-racist, anti-sexist, valuing transparency in government and his belief that we the people should hold power instead of some unaccountable tyrants who believe might makes right.

Which is why I was sorely disappointed that the latest installment of the Marvel cinematic universe, “Captain America: Civil War,” decided that, for no reason whatsoever, Steve is now a guy who believe it’s cool to belong to a secretive paramilitary that rejects oversight and accountability to the public. Because while we all know and love them as the Avengers, hero squad, the brutal truth, which the movie does admit, is that is exactly what they are: A mercenary group who has resisted even the most basic oversight from democratic governments, oversight that would allow the people that the Avengers are supposed to be protecting some say in what this militaristic police force is allowed to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved most of “Civil War”. Steve going on the run to save his friend Bucky, who he believes is being unfairly framed, is great and believable stuff. Tony Stark going after him, assuming that Steve’s blinded by loyalty to his friend, is also believable. The action was some of the best ever in a Marvel movie (up there with “Winter Soldier,” which the Russo brothers also directed) and the emotional beats hit hard. I may have gotten a little snuffly at times. Fun movie, and I would recommend it without hesitation.

But while it was a good movie, it would have been so much better if they’d just cut all that stuff about the Sokovia Accords, which was unnecessary, muddled and made Steve Rogers look like the bad guy for no reason whatsoever.
I find it funny she wants to call them "mercenaries", because that makes them sound more like crooks for hire who get paid by the underworld to do their dirty work. It would make more sense to call them "vigilantes" and crimefighters, yet she makes it sound like their services to the public aren't for free, nor the benefit of mankind. Proving she's not the "fan" she wants anybody to think. And it's just like her to make it sound like Cap was never depicted as patriot who loves his country. But here's where she really reveals her true colors:
The demands being made by various governments and the United Nations in “Civil War” are more than reasonable. They want the Avengers to stop being a privately run paramilitary organization that answers to no one. They want them to sign a treaty agreeing to transparency and some government oversight. This is common sense and what we would expect the standard liberal position to be in a world where superheroes exist.
Umm, I'm not sure what's so "liberal" about becoming government regulated. The least they have to do is pay their taxes, which Tony Stark could do in the comics as the Avengers Mansion bankroller. And just how are the Avengers a group answering to nobody? If you have a story written well where the Avengers made a mistake and have to apologize to the public, then that should be enough. Her citation of the UN as one of the governing bodies demanding the Earth's Mightiest Heroes take orders from them is telling. In real life, the UN's not asking for transparency so much as they are demanding that specific movements, organizations, systems and other governments allow the UN to regulate how they manage everything. Which could mean that the Avengers would have to get UN approval to raid specific countries enabling terrorism, like all the Islamofascist regimes in the middle east, many of which are today leading members of the UN's key councils on "human rights". Speaking of which, the UN, for many years now riddled with corruption right down to sex abuse scandals, has never been particularly transparent themselves. So why must the Avengers, in this new movie, be held accountable, but not the UN and other governments?

Towards the end of her article, charlatan Marcotte says:
It’s hard to believe that the guy who, in his last movie, saw how right he was about the dangers of unchecked power, would be the guy arguing for unchecked power in this. No real explanation is offered for his change of heart. No one points out that he’s a hypocrite. On the contrary, it seems like the filmmakers don’t realize that this is an inconsistency.
Considering how laughable this argument is when you have various world governments - even supposedly democratic ones and liberal ones - acting like they're above responsibility, I don't see her point here. Mainly because the Avengers aren't a country or global government body, they're a crimefighting group relying mostly on private backing by companies like Stark Enterprises. They did have their government liasions in the past, but that does not mean they were required to get approval from governments before they could enter an area where villains dwelled.

However, there was a story segment in 1991, in Avengers #329, where, at the beginning of the issue, a UN delegate asked them to join under an agreement that their crimefighting quests would only extend to galactic and alien menaces. It was written by Larry Hama, of all people, and stands in contrast to what he usually had GI Joe doing in their series. I don't think it lasted long, and was forgotten later, but even so, the whole notion that the Earth's Mightiest Heroes wouldn't tackle cases involving earth-based criminals, sci-fi weapons or not, was mighty stupid, yet surely just the kind of story premise people like Marcotte would love.

Of course, the reason why some of these recent Marvel movies take stances unlike what Marcotte envisions is because the filmmakers seem to recognize what the wider public would prefer, and so they go a "commercial" route, presenting something the modern comics writers detest, even if they don't admit it, and the writers/artists, oddly enough, are willing to promote the movies regardless of the political standings. It just shows the serious ideological disconnect prevalent today between the comics and movie adaptations.

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Agree that the Avengers are more like vigilantes than "mercenaries."

The movie is more balanced than the source material. The Civil War comic book serial was 100% "Duh, oversight and registration bad." That's because the comic series was published during the Bush administration, and the superhero registration proposal was an allegory for the Patriot Act and the Terror Watch List. Now, with Obama as president, the leftists have learned to Stop Worrying and Love the List.

Captain America was originally a super-patriot, working for the US government against menaces like Nazi Germany and Hydra. His experiences in Avengers and Winter Soldier taught him that the powers-that-be cannot always be trusted. It isn't so much that the Avengers should have "unchecked power," but that the UN should NOT have unchecked power.

I suppose that they got it right this time, but I don't think that live-action adaptations of comics are superior to animation adaptations, especially ones done right!

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