Captain America: The First Avenger
By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
During World War II, Steve (Chris Evans), a skinny kid from
Brooklyn, tries to enlist in the army over and over, only to be deferred due to
his small stature and asthma. Finally a government scientist, Dr. Erskine
(Stanley Tucci), notices Steve; he is impressed by his courage, his humanity
Steve is placed in a special program that turns him into a
superman, a fighting machine with a shield of red, white and blue, that can
fend off the attacks of Hitler’s evil weaponry wizard, Dr. Schmidt (Hugo
Weaving). It is revealed that Schmidt is really a demon called Red Skull, whose
evil power stems from a secret energy source.
Captain America is a superhero from the Marvel Comic Book
universe. The first comic of the series
was published in 1941 by Timely Comics, written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby,
who were also co-founders of Marvel Comics.
With this summer’s release of “Thor” and “Captain America”
the way is paved for next summer’s blockbuster release of “The Avengers” of the
21st century, a film that will be populated by now familiar
cinematic characters drawn from the Golden Age of Comic Books (late 1930’s
through the early 1950s) and more recent video games: The Hulk, Iron Man (we
meet Tony Stark’s father in “Captain America: The First Avenger”), The Black
Widow, and Hawkeye (formerly of the
Comic books-into-film is a hugely successful film genre
because they are a special effects bonanza, the heroes are beautiful people,
and the bad guys lose. The stories are basically the same: good vs. evil engage
in a massive struggle and good triumphs. There is almost always an American
patriotic spin to the plot. While good does triumph, the use of vengeance as a
virtue is a concern to thoughtful viewers.
Also, seeing the world in the simplistic black and white categories of
good vs. evil and violence as a way to solve problems, falls far outside of the
Comic books-into-film prod the audience to inquire: Is the superhero’s way the way of the Lord Jesus – and if
it is not, what is?
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