Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review #2

One of the greatest superhero films is Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008). One of the themes of the film was being good, decent people in a city that was less than indecent. It was the Joker’s mission to show that order doesn’t work. That schemes and plans to live out good lives are bankrupt. The only way to live is without rules.

Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier is about a soldier who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s with a sense of honor and nobility. Steve Rogers was someone who just wanted to do the right thing. That’s all.

But as he surveyed the world and SHIELD in 2014, it was anything like the world he lived in. This is a world ruled by fear. The world he fought for was one that was to be ruled by freedom. He didn’t know if he could serve anymore as Captain America.

Like Nolan’s Batman film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier asks a similar question but put in a different way: Can we live with freedom in a world ruled by fear?

While Steve Rogers was sleeping in the ice for seventy years, Hydra learned from its defeat at the hands of Captain America and implemented a new way to create the fascist, totalitarian state it craved. It was creating chaos around the globe while infiltrating and taking over the World Security Council and its security/intelligence organization, SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division).

The idea was to make the world so afraid that it would willingly give up the very freedoms Captain America fought to give it to alleviate its fears. And Hydra’s weapon of choice was a new satellite controlled helicarrier that could target anyone who was designated a “terrorist” by the controlling algorithm Hydra created. When anyone rose up against the chaos Hydra created, they sent in their own “Captain America” known as the Winter Soldier to eliminate such hope.

And it was in that world that Rogers didn’t know if he had a place with his “outdated” morals and ethics, his virtues and sense of honor. How does one like Captain America fit into a SHIELD organization that holds a gun to everyone’s head to keep them in line?

As Rogers discovered how deep Hydra’s contamination of SHIELD and the World Security Council was, there was only one solution: start over, a new beginning. It’s what Peggy Carter had told him earlier in the film. The world is mucked up and there’s no going back. Sometimes the only option is to start over.

And that’s what Rogers does. He tears down SHIELD, and in the process Hydra, to remake the world into a place of freedom, not fear.

In this way, Captain America becomes an analogue for Jesus in the Gospels. Just like Cap, Jesus has entered the world to rescue it from the deadly corruption that has entered into it. The contamination of sin and death must be defeated and the only way to undo and overcome them is to tear the world down. And this is accomplished in the cross and resurrection of Jesus.

But it’s not as if Jesus has said that the created world is itself evil. Rogers understood that the world needed SHIELD. That’s why Rogers joined Fury’s organization after he woke up in 2011. SHIELD wasn’t an evil thing; a force that wasn’t supposed to be there corrupted it.

So too does Jesus keep the world and the creation. It is a good thing that has been corrupted and is in need of redemption. But the only way to redeem it is to start over, to kill it and raise back to life, everlasting and incorruptible.

And just as Captain America provided the means for Black Widow, Maria Hill, Nick Fury, Sam Wilson (AKA the Falcon), and even the Winter Soldier to tear down their old lives to construct new ones that were free of that which enslaved them, so too does Jesus offer the means to tear down our old lives. No more fear ruling and reigning in our hearts, feeling like a gun is held to our head. Only a life free to love and be loved. A life filled with grace.

Can we be brave enough to seize it?



~ by hankimler on April 12, 2014.

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