Captain America vs. Obama's Kill List


Marvel Studios

(Warning: Some spoilers Captain America: The Winter Soldier ahead.)

I won't give away too much about the primary villains in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but fans of the franchise probably won't be too surprised to find that even though the period has jumped forward from World War II to the modern era, Hydra, the evil global organization that backed The Red Skull in the first film, hasn't exactly disappeared from the scene. 

This time, however, instead of joining forces with the Nazis, Hydra is working insidiously through the U.S. government to corrupt and control what's supposed to be a surveillance and targeting program that gives the nation's defense forces the capability to track and take out potential terrorists before they carry out their plans. The program is initially pitched as a protective deterrent system that assesses a limited, narrowly defined number of potential foreign threats and allows the government to stop them before they happen.

But as is so often the case with government programs, it turns out to be hard to maintain an initial narrow scope. Fittingly, Hydra's grand plan isn't to subvert the program so much as to expand it by increasing the number of targets and using the system domestically. The plan's masterminds insist that they're not even after typical villainous world domination; they just want to remove dangerous people who might disrupt a peaceful and orderly society.

The movie, which is set in Washington, D.C., is as much a 70s-throwback political thriller as a traditional costumed-hero film, and it doesn't take much imagination to see the contemporary political parallels. Basically, Captain America ends up fighting a souped-up, ultra-powerful version of the National Security Agency coupled with the Central Intelligence Agency's targeted killing program.

In an interview with Asawin Suebsaeng of Mother Jones, the film's directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, confirm that this was by design.

"[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller," says Joe Russo, who directed the film with his brother Anthony. "So we said if you want to make a political thriller, all the great political thrillers have very current issues in them that reflect the anxiety of the audience…That gives it an immediacy, it makes it relevant. So [Anthony] and I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issuesdrone strikes, the president's kill list, preemptive technology."

The Winter Soldier isn't the first Marvel movie to dabble with libertarianish themes and heroes. The second Iron Man movie gave us Tony Stark, capitalist/industrialist libertarian. Now we get Captain America, civil libertarian. 

Kurt Loder reviewed The Winter Soldier for Reason here

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  1. It’s a critique disguised as pop culture. Perfect.

  2. Oh good – another gay, superhero thread. NTTAWWT…

    1. LOL WUT?

    2. Tell you what, you go watch your gay ass fucking rom-coms and your foreign art house flicks, I’ll go watch good old fashioned EXPLOSIONS.

  3. I dont think Sammy ASoso is going to liek that.

    1. Can somebody explain why the bots always have some simple word misspelled?

      1. Wow! Jack Frapp is jsut not gonna like that!

      2. I think it’s supposed to make them look more like ‘real people’ typing and less like an automated computer-thing.

        1. Yes, but unfortunately its programmers fucked up and made them always misspell the same words in the same way. So they still have some work to do before it’ll be able to pass a Turing test.

  4. Captain America vs. Obama’s Kill List

    I’m pretty sure Cap would be on Obama’s Kill List. He’s former military, always going on about “freedom”, probaly owns several guns. Domestic terrorist if there ever was one.

    1. And he’s white. Don’t forget that.

    2. In the comics, Cap led the fight against the Superhuman Registration Act, which would have required government licensing and regulation of powers, and paid superhumans as agents of the state.

      1. Yeah. And he lost, and got arrested and shot.

      2. Civil War was the grandest clusterfuck’s in comic book history.

        I forget who, but some mutant or another asked one of the Anti-Reg superheroes where the fuck were they at when the government tried to register mutants and used giant death robots to enforce the law.

        Dumb silence was the response.

        1. Hahaha, that’s hilarious.

        2. I vaguely remember that. It sounds like something Cyclops would say, or that he’s said since during the whole “mutant terrorist” run.

        3. “Civil War was the grandest clusterfuck’s in comic book history.”

          I’d like to nominate any of the recent DC events. Any of them.

          1. I haven’t read DC in many years. Are the writers busy grinding political axes free of editorial control (like Civil War)?

          2. I’d like to nominate any of the recent DC events. Any of them.

            Killing Superman?

        4. Wasn’t that an alternate universe that didn’t actually happen now anyways?

          1. I don’t recall. I think Days of Future Past is still going to happen, but the X-Men have just delayed it. The Days of Future Past is its own universe.

            And this is why time travel is the third-rail of speculative fiction. It fucks everything up.

  5. Captain America is an employee of S.H.I.E.L.D. and presumably earns his living that way, but how does Thor earn his keep when he’s on Earth? He’s too proud to live off Jane Foster, so he’s gotta do something.

    If I were him, I’d play pro football. He could play outside linebacker. He’d get sack on every play.

    1. I always thought he just got comped everything.

      It happens to NBA players and celebrities, why would Thor ever have to pay for anything?

      1. “Listen, I can knock you literally into the next county with this hammer, and then have your girl/boyfriend in dirty ways they’d never consider doing with you, or you can give me a goddamn venti latte.”

        1. Another!

    2. Thor hasn’t been on earth for more than a week or two in any of the MCU movies yet.


        Doesn’t the (very) end of the second one imply he’s going to be here a while?

        1. In the comics he becomes a carpenter.

          1. That makes sense. Keeps with the Jesus parallels too (carpenter, long hair, a god, son of a god, etc.).

          2. When all you have is a hammer, every job oppurtunity looks like a nail.

    3. Thor’s alter-ego is Dr. Donald Blake. Presumably, he has a medical license.

      1. Yeah but in the movies Dr. Donald Blake already exists (Natalie Portman’s ex).

        Linebacker would be cooler, anyway.

        1. Originally Thor wasn’t an actual Asgardian, he was just a human scientist who got super powers and pretended to be one. That was later all retconned away. It did show up in the movie as a mythology gag though. Donald Blake was the fake name Natalie Portman gives the hospital when they check Thor in after running over him in their car.

  6. (Warning: Some spoilers Captain America: The Winter Soldier ahead.)


  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is coming up next year and it is set in Washington, D.C As a traditional costumed-hero film, and it doesn’t take much imagination to see the contemporary political parallels

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