Review: Captain America

August 31, 2012 in General Topics

Captain America, film posterThere’s a scene in Captain America where the optimistic young superhero strides onto a stage in an effort to sell war bonds, having been relegated to poster-boy duty, instead of the active front-line service he desperately wants. There, among a line of dancing performers, he slugs out a comically-rendered Hitler that has “snuck” into the proceedings. Cue applause.

Nostalgia, ironically, dominates our feelings of World War II, at least here in the States. As Americans, we’ve assigned the war an almost stained-glass sanctity, and I think we’ve done so because it gave us the kind of conflicts we haven’t faced since: a clear-cut, evil enemy was rampaging around Europe, while a fanatical, Imperial Japan dominated the Pacific. And yet we as a nation were at the top of our game. We didn’t back down.

You waved your flag, you bought war bonds. You gathered scrap metal. You worked in the factories. You fought. You bled. You came home. Or you didn’t. But you were part of something grand, and important. Read the rest of this entry →

The Superman Syndrome

June 19, 2011 in Other Stuff

Turn back the clock to a newspaper stand sitting idly at some miscellaneous street corner in the early summer of June, 1938. Your eyes scan the stand’s publications, flipping past the grim headlines of the day, and settle on the bright artwork and bold title of Action Comics, #1. On that cover, you find a character that is so utterly appealing in that age of financial depression, despotic power grabs, and civil listlessness. This is Superman, lifting that car like it is the easiest thing on Earth — this alien at once a part of home and so enticingly removed from it. Read the rest of this entry →