It’s all about trust, and if there’s one thing you take away from Captain America: The Winter Soldier it’s that humans aren’t that worthy of it.
The second individualized installment of this Marvel Comic’s hero’s big screen adventures picks up in Washington DC where Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) is continuing to try and find his place in the 21st century. Fans of previous films will remember that Steve was actually born in the 1920s and frozen in ice after saving the world from the evil organization Hydra. However it’s not the technology or the slang that’s getting Steve down but the morality. Specifically Captain America is struggling to relate to a world where trust has been turned into a currency. SHIELD, the guardians of world peace, have been making a habit of using him on missions that are both dangerous and dubious, without feeling the need to fill him in on their purpose. This sets the scene for an even more important issue: can Nick Fury’s organization be relied upon to not abuse devastating new orbital weapons that will be able to eliminate terrorists before they carry out their attacks? And when it becomes clear that the agents of Hydra are alive and active within their walls, Rogers begins to wonder if anyone can be trusted with that much power?
In some respects Captain America is the least flashy of Marvel’s revived heroes, though I tend to like him the best. Steve Rogers has a 1940s morality about his character that is often portrayed as quaint but actually reflects a period that came before postmodernism when people still believed there were absolute rights and wrongs, and were prepared to sacrifice individual gains for the greater good. Now I realise that even this morality is romanticized but movies exist to showcase ideals that we are alternately repelled by and attracted to. I can’t help thinking that a superhero who realises people are fundamentally flawed is not a bad thing to showcase.
Nick Fury justifies his organisation’s dangerous pragmatism by telling Steve Rogers, “S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the world as it is, not as we’d like to be!” But the Captain’s response is found in the unwavering way he treats a comrade who returns in this film as a villain.
Steve Rogers: You’re my friend!
Bucky Barnes: You’re my mission… [Bucky starts pounding Cap’s face, then hesitates before giving the final blow]
Steve Rogers: [bruised and bloody] Then finish it… [quoting Bucky from the past] … ‘cause I’m with you till the end of the line.
In a world where morality is as flexible as your mobile telephone plan, there is a clear attraction to a character who refuses to change no matter how self-serving society becomes, or however many mistakes we make. And surely this is one of Jesus’ characteristics we would do well to put in front of those who are yet to make his acquaintance. :
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Winter Soldier concludes with Captain America’s realization that no one, not even SHIELD, can be trusted with the power to control our lives. The reason is simple: no one can be trusted to continually have our best at heart, regardless of the cost to themselves. But it’s for that very reason that we can trust Jesus. How could you doubt a man who has already died in your place, and lives to bring you home?
Release Date: Current