We spend a lot of time here on the internet talking about the Meaning of blockbuster movies, attempting to analyze what some new mega-successful PG-13 rated corporate-branded movie says about our culture or the age we live in. We do this maybe because blockbuster movies have become more interested in tackling weighty themes. (9/11 is all over the Christopher Nolan Batman movies and the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies; conversely, it’s difficult to graft some larger mid-’90s topical narrative onto Star Trek: First Contact or Batman Forever.) But we also do this because blockbuster movies are popular, and it’s fun to use popular things as a prism for understanding the issues of our day. It’s rare for a blockbuster movie to come right out and announce its intentions.
And so I was legitimately shocked and impressed and fascinated when I reached the middle of Captain America: The Winter Soldier — SPOILERS FROM HERE — and got to the scene where the movie clearly states that our modern intelligence apparatus and our whole system of national security was invented by some of the greatest villains of the 20th Century. And worse: Like the vampires of the pre-glitter period, HYDRA was welcomed in by their victims, freely and of their own will. In real-world terms, Winter Soldier basically says that the NSA was invented by Nazis…and that we let it happen, insisted even, giving up our freedom because we were too afraid to do anything else. EW critic Owen Gleiberman pointed out in his review that the villain in Winter Soldier is really the military-industrial complex. And that villain has accomplices, accessories, and henchmen who help the bad guys by doing nothing. To paraphrase Pogo: We have met the enemy, and they is us. READ FULL STORY