Friday, July 22, 2011

A Quick Review of "Captain America: The First Avenger"

Yet another WASP hero
After reading a hilariously bad article at Racialicious bemoaning the fact that Captain America wasn't going to be played by a Black guy (I decided to write something over at on that issue), I went and saw the film at 12:01 a.m. I still think the movie should have come out on July 4th, but what do I know about marketing and branding?

These are just some quick thoughts that will be fleshed out in the morning (by that time, Alternative Right should have another article by me up addressing the question What Would Captain America Think of America Today?) but I wanted to post them while they were still fresh on my mind. Update: here is a link to that article - which like the Vdare piece - set the stage for the book Captain America and Whiteness that comes out Tuesday. 

Rotten Tomatoes has aggregated a high fresh rating so far for the film, though Armond White has yet to weigh in on the lack of Black people in the movie (he hated Green Lantern, Thor, and X-Men for having Blacks play second fiddle to white stars).

Captain America: The First Avenger is a fantastic film, a special film even. Only through advances in technology - thank you James Cameron and George Lucas - could we see such visually stunning effects that make the 1989 Captain America look like some mid-day television show for kids. Chris Evans was stellar as Steve Rogers/Captain America, and was afforded yet another opportunity to play a white superhero (he's played one in The Fantastic Four, Push, The Losers, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World).

Coming later this week...
It was a combination of Forever Young (a Mel Gibson movie about a test pilot who is cryogenic-ally frozen), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Rocketeer, plus Pearl Harbor, as Marvel Studios felt the need to Black the film  up a little. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s career is still stuck in 2001, so he was unable to play one of the handful of Black people that were peculiarly placed in the segregated military units of the US Army stationed in Italy.

Let’s be honest, World War II featured a segregated military. Captain America’s handpicked soldiers (His Howling Commando’s) had more diversity then a current Navy SEALs or US Special Forces unit.

Scenes in the barracks had plenty of Black faces sprinkled in that hopefully will make Spike Lee happy after his blasting Clint Eastwood for his incredibly historically accurate Iwo Jima films. That film featured no Black soldiers (like The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan), and was incredibly historically accurate, much to Lee’s chagrin:
Clint Eastwood has advised rival film director Spike Lee to "shut his face" after the African-American complained about the racial make-up of Eastwood's films.

In an interview with the Guardian published today, Eastwood rejected Lee's complaint that he had failed to include a single African-American soldier in his films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, both about the 1945 battle for the Japanese island.

In typically outspoken language, Eastwood justified his choice of actors, saying that those black troops who did take part in the battle as part of a munitions company didn't raise the flag. The battle is known by the image of US marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.

"The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn't do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people'd go: 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate." Referring to Lee, he added: "A guy like him should shut his face."

Despite Marvel’s politically correct World War II United States military, the movie was special. Chris Evans was fantastic as Captain America, and the scene where he awakes in 2011 New York City is fantastic, but ruined by the Mark Millar Ultimate Avengers version of Nick Fury (played by the insufferably Black Samuel L. Jackson):

Here’s Mark Millar on why this change was made (as explained in a Marvel spotlight interview available in the Civil War hardcover edition) and Nick Fury went from being a white guy to a Black dude:

Spotlight: Nick Fury’s look appears to resemble the actor Samuel L. Jackson. Assuming this is intentional, why the reference to him in particular?

Mark: Well, he’s the king of cool, isn’t he? This goes back to our idea of stripping these guys right back to basics and just finding what made them work. I love Nick Fury like no other. He’s one of my favorite Mravel characters, but the Steranko cool that he imbued on the character was rat-pack cool and very much of the period. Obviously, that’s still in a classic, retro sense, but it means little to a modern kid. Also, Nick Fury just sounded like one of those great , 70s blaxsplotation names. He sounded like an African-American disco super hero or something and we wanted to play around with that too. 

Movies have reached a point where anything white is seen as almost square, dull and an anachronism in a culture that has grown to see a white Nick Fury as “retro cool” but a character that means little to a modern kid weaned on a steady diet of Will Smith (for more on this, see Hollywood in Blackface).
Knowing that the world Steve Rogers left behind had so much promise (ultimately we went to the moon, but bankrupted ourselves paying for Black-Run America –BRA- after whites were made to feel infinitely guilty and at fault for the condition nature selfishly left Black people in), only to wake up in nation still filled with promise – but hundreds of decaying cities filled with neighborhoods that not even Captain America would dare go in – is an incredibly melancholy thought.

In the final scene of movie, as Rogers looks around an alien New York City, you can feel his pain. Regardless of the politically correct nature of the film, Chris Evans does a fantastic job bringing to life Captain America and for two brief hours, a glimpse of what life in the United State could be is offered by watching The First Avenger. To do that, you have to go back in time to when a nation actually existed and whiteness was synonymous with American.

Concepts like treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity were years from taking root in the minds of DWLs and the halls of academia… as you get a glimpse of The Greatest Generation. Sure America had problems, but I ask you this in all sincerity: would you rather live in 2011 or 1944 America?

Sadly, we all know what comes next, and when Rogers wakes up you realize the nightmare is just beginning.

Update: New York Press movie reviewer Armond White didn't disappoint. He called the film yet another useless WASP Hero and a White Elephant film. White guys just can't save the world anymore in movies:

In this moment of convictionless movie-going, Captain America lacks the fun that comes with belief in the essence of its premise. The comic originated in 1941 as an exploitative but gung-ho response to evil, with its first cover depicting Captain America socking Hitler on the jaw! But in today’s pop culture, good-vs.-evil has been blanded into an idiotic shades-of-gray, and Americana has been made suspect.
Ultimately Johnston and Evans are selling an anachronism. Steve Rogers develops from a Benjamin Button-style CGI dork to a pecs-forward athlete with Ricky Nelson eyes—termed “a new breed of super soldier.” Yet the culture no longer believes in soldiers (not even when pitying Iraq or Afghanistan vets suffering PTS disorder). Audiences who yawned when Aaron Eckhart movingly enacted the WASP soldier icon in Battle: Los Angeles are now stuck with Evans playing a blanded out version of the hunkiness he already satirized in Scott Pilgrim. Evans runs with a dancer’s grace like he did in Cellular, but his WASP heroism here is not just anachronistic; it’s a white elephant.

Cinephiles who swear by Manny Farber’s old dictum about useless, over-budgeted “white elephant” movies should recognize this Captain America as a bloated summer epic whose hero wears unfelt sign, shield, stars and stripes. There’s no regard for patriotism or the flag, just loyalty to comic books—and to action montages (including a nifty aerial dogfight that prolongs the story with after-thoughts of Pow!).When all these bland Marvel Comics franchise movies blur together in memory, it won’t prove that they amounted to one great epic master narrative, but that they’re all indistinguishable.


Anonymous said...

Here's an idea for a "Racialicious" super hero movie:

'Captain Africa'!

Leroy Wabumba is a hapless soldier in the Zimbabwean army who decides to volunteer for a super-secret experimental program: the creation of a super black soldier who can swing a machete ten times faster than an average nigger, so the remaining whites in Zim can finally be slaughtered to create a Utopia for the blacks.

He is injected with an experimental chemical - really just some leftover jenkem (google it) mixed with PCP - and instantly turns into a ravenous, bloodthirsty killer. (Even moreso than before.) He designs himself a pimpin-ass costume out of a rotting animal carcass and some stray shiny objects found lying around, and goes to work. Yeah, a nigger going to work ... I know, it's a stretch, but come on, this is a movie.

He slaughters the last remaining productive whites, burns their farms, rapes their corpses, does a tribal victory booty dance and finally starves to death because there's no one left to feed him, and the border with South Africa has been sealed off. He curses whitey with his last breath, and calls him a muthafucka. Roll credits.

I'd pay to see this.

Anonymous said...

Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Michael Douglas are just as retro cool as Samuel L. Jackson. Cooler, actually.

Anonymous said...

Ret'd LAPD here. Anon at 3:14am, that was so frigging hilarious. It would make a helluva movie!

Anonymous said...

McDonalds again!!

Anonymous said...

"Sadly, we all know what comes next, and when Rogers wakes up you realize the nightmare is just beginning".

There was a science fiction show in 1967-68 called The Invaders about, obviously, alien beings invading the earth with the intent of making their own. The opening credits used the line "the nightmare is just beginning".

How prophetic. Only the invasion did not come form another planet, it came from within as blacks invaded our cities and institutions and displaced us. Odd how life so often imitates art.

Ryu said...

Sounds great. I'll post a review when I've seen it as well.

Sheila said...

Just read your column at VDare, Paul - excellent! I'm glad to see your increasing exposure throughout other fora on the internet. Look forward to receiving your books one of these days! ;)

Is the movie appropriate for children? I got my 11 year old the Captain America game for his Xbox and he loves it. I see very few movies, but if this one is okay I might consider taking him.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Back then, I read a lot of the WWII themed comics - "G.I. Combat" and "Sgt. Rock" were my favorites. Both books were done by DC Comics.

What I can recall most from the "G.I. Combat" books were the "Haunted Tank" stories, which were about Lieutenant Jeb Stuart, his tank's crew, and their tank, which is haunted by the ghost of Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart. Even though these stories were written back in the 1980's, somebody at DC Comics apparently felt compelled enough by the "diversity" agenda later on in the series to have a negro character join the tank crew as the driver. It was not until some years later that I understood how historically inaccurate this was, being that tank crews were not racially integrated at any time during WWII. In fact, I am rather certain now that there never were any all-negro tank crews during WWII, either. If there had been any, I'm sure that we would all be getting reminded of this by the libtard media at least two or three times each and every year, just like they way they have been doing with that whole "Tuskegee airmen" story for the last 20 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Paul, congratulations on your article appearing at VDARE. Job well done. I hope if Eric "My People" Holder really wants a discussion on race, you'll be on the panel.


Discard said...

Anon at 1:49 PM: There was at least one all-Negro tank unit during WW2, the 710th (?) Armored Battalion There is a book about them, "The Liberators". The story is that they liberated Dachau. They did not, they ran across a small camp in the neighborhood, but hey, no bomber escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen was ever shot down either, right? I'm not slamming them, they were no doubt a capable outfit, drawn from the cream of Black soldiers, but as usual for non-Whites, their achievements are exaggerated. But you're right about integrated crews, no such animal.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

I put up an older picture of the cover to "Captain America and Whiteness: The Dilemma of the Superhero"... my bad.

The book should be out by next Wednesday. It is thoroughly edited and contains 70 - 80 unpublished material.

To those who find the need to attack this site over grammar: I do every post in about 20 minutes. Yes, I should slow down. But I have a full-time, demanding job, am gearing up to go - finally - finish my MBA this fall, and have an active social life.

I do SBPDL as a hobby.

PercyKittensReloaded said...

In a world where I've now officially seen the dumbest complaint ever (new douche commercials are "racist" because the black and Latina talking vaginas use "stereotypes", Captain America offered a nice, 2 hour retreat into a more simplistic, if ever-so-slightly, politically correct time period.

I loved the film. For once we have a hero who is neither self-loathing, reluctant, flawed, emotionally damaged, or haunted. He's just a good guy who wants to defeat evil. That may not be complex enough for professional critics of The L.A. Times or The New York Times, but for most of us in flyover country it's just fine.

It's not a perfect film, but it's very close. It's the kind of old-fashioned, old-school, action-adventure films that we don't get much of anymore. It doesn't resort to sex puns or cheap, crass jokes to make people laugh. And I guess that in an alternate universe that has a guy with a red skull running around trying to vaporize the planet it's possible that there was an integrated army force in Europe consisting of a black and an Asian guy. However, those roles were so insignificant that they almost appear to be bones thrown to minority audience members with no self-esteem, waiting for any little scrap or morsel of recognition. If I were black or Asian I'd be offended by the patronizing inclusion of token minority characters. I'm quite sure the black people in my audience seeing this film did not come to see Derek Luke get 7th billing in the film.

Movie experience also reminded me why I so rarely go to theaters anymore: parent brings a 1 year old and a 4 year old to the movie and proceeds to let them talk and scream throughout the entire film. Do I need to even tell you what race he was?

Anonymous said...

"I do SBPDL as a hobby. "

Well, Paul I wish I were as dedicated as you are about my hobbies. Your blog and posts are awesome!
Thanks to you, we can gather here and denounce BRA!

Anonymous said...

Most black soldiers 'liberating' France were in fact second-line troops who would have been cowed in terror by any nearby German soldier. They had a merry time raping French women, leaving behind them a legacy of unwanted half-breeds. The Tuskagees were the tiny tip of an otherwise-crooked spear.

Anonymous said...

Most black soldiers 'liberating' France were in fact second-line troops who would have been cowed in terror by any nearby German soldier. They had a merry time raping French women, leaving behind them a legacy of unwanted half-breeds. The Tuskagees were the tiny tip of an otherwise-crooked spear.

One of those second-line black US soldiers that liked raping the white women while over in Europe during World War Two was Louis Till, the father of Emmett Till. (Emmett was the 14-year-old black kid that made sexual advances toward a married white woman and was then killed and dumped in a river in retaliation.) In 1945, Louis Till was court-martialed on charges of the murder of an Italian woman and the rape of two other Italian women in Civitavecchia, Italy. After a lengthy investigation, Louis Till was convicted on all charges, and was executed by hanging near Pisa, Italy on July 2, 1945.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon

" Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Michael Douglas are just as retro cool as Samuel L. Jackson. Cooler, actually. "

Most white actors were REAL MEN and TOTALLY COOL!

P.S. Sorry for my " valley girl" talk, but I witnessed an era when Valley Girls and Preps were the " IN " references for white youth.
The guys you mentioned above were pretty HOT white male figures in the 80's. I also miss Don Johnson in Miami Vice, just loved the serie!

Anonymous said...

The 710 the Armored Battalion was part of the 81st Infantry Division, which fought in the Pacific. I'm almost certain there were no Blacks, as the Army was segregated.

You might be thinking of an all-Black ANTI-tank battalion which fought in Europe. There was an all-Black Infantry Division, the 92nd, which fought in Italy--for 2 days.

All of the officers were White ( which I think was the case with the anti-tank battalion ), and the accounts of what happened during their brief time in combat differ along racial lines.

The White officers said the Negro troops were cowards and refused to fight. The troops said they were poorly led by officers who were incompetent. Take your pick.......

There were no Black Marines in the Pacific except for a few POGs ( people other than grunts ). Even the HBO series "Pacific" didn't dare toss in Black faces, as there were none on Iwo or Okinawa except for a few Black supply / transportation Marines.

Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians were not segregated, and served with Whites in all branches of the Armed Forces. At Iwo, of course, one of the flag-raisers was Ira Hayes, but nearly all the Marines were White.

Whiskey said...

Marvel is actually not the worst in making beloved characters "diverse." The Blue Beetle, Ted Kord (the second and most popular) was killed off to make a Hispanic Blue Beetle, that has never sold and the fans dislike. Batwoman was made a lesbian, as was minor Bat character Det. Renee Montoya. Firestorm was made into a Black guy, but sold terribly so was changed back to the original. Mr. Terrific is now a Black guy. DC is pushing hard the diversity angle, which is weird because ...

Nearly ALL the Comic book buyers are nerdy White guys age 35-45. That's who buys $4-$7 comic books, sold almost exclusively in Comic shops, of which there are less than 2,000. DC's online distribution sucks, btw, you can only read them online and they are just as pricey as the print ones, with bad formatting, and you can't save them to your computer. Its a sign of "diversity maniacs" making stuff for their own instead of their customers amusement.

Milestone (I read some of them) in the 1990s failed, because the all-Black characters never connected. No one cared. The Black Green Lantern in the DC Animated shows (was a completely different take than the angsty, largely impotent Comics version) is another diversity mandate. Even Static the only remaining Milestone character around is not that interesting.

Dissident said...


Man, that was funny! I've been LOL'ing over that first comment for about 5 minutes now.

Let me catch my breath. Whew, what a movie that would be. Captain Africa indeed!I'm still laughing over that.....Dissident.

Die Perd Se Gat said...

Courtesy Wikipedia, there were 3 all-Bantu/Mulato armoured units in the WW2 U.S. Army: 758th Tank Battalion (Light), 761st Tank Battalion (Medium) and 784th Tank Battalion (Medium). The light battalion served in Italy while the 2 medium battalions serve in Northern Europe.

Discard said...

Die Perd Se Gat: I stand corrected. It was the 761st Tank Battalion that was falsely acclaimed for capturing Dachau.

Anonymous said...

Comic books were written by white people for white people.

It's blacks' unwanted presence in the world that prompted some liberals to include some unnecessary and utterly forgettable black characters in comics produced in the 60s, when their "Civil Rights" whining was at a fever pitch, and opened the door to communism and terrorism in the USA.

Some writers actually neglected historical accuracy and put blacks in places where they never were, such as alongside white US Army soldiers in World War II.

The fact that there are blacks in CAPTAIN AMERICA makes it more fictional than any of the superhero elements lifted from the comics. I find easier to believe in the super-soldier serum than black Howling Commando Gabe Jones being smarter than the other soldiers, and opting into a mission rather than running away at the first opportunity.

The worst part of including blacks in any work of fiction that depicts them where they never were is that it is a form of revisionist history, which in blunt terms is lying about historical facts.

Presenting blacks mixed in with white US soldiers of World War II is a misrepresentation of the facts regarding that war.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't realized that there was ever a black Captain America! The idea of that is preposterous! A black Captain America would probably prefer to rob liquor stores than to fight the Nazis and crime.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Came across this site while googling reviews for the Cap movie. What a sad group you folks are. I truly feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

Anon says:
Wow. Came across this site while googling reviews for the Cap movie. What a sad group you folks are. I truly feel sorry for you

Funny, we feel sorry for ourselves because of people like you and people like you don't add anything of value to any debate. You merely use you self-righteous epithet to muzzle any opposing views.

Dissident said...

"What a sad group you folks are. I truly feel sorry for you."

Yawn....just another brainwashed, self righteous, idiot with barely two brain cells to click together.

BTW, you don't really feel sorry for us. What you really feel is disdain for people that dare upset the the prevailing (and wrong) points of view. You are an example of everything that is wrong with society today. Your hypocricy is palpable, even through this screen.

Anonymous said...


This isn't a debate. It's angry people spewing hatred. Angry people are usually angry because they've been hurt or have rejection issues. There is nothing "self righteous" about feeling bad for people who carry that in their hearts. Also no one's opinion has been "muzzled". I've attacked no one. However you were very quick to attack me.

Anonymous said...

"Wow. Came across this site while googling reviews for the Cap movie. What a sad group you folks are. I truly feel sorry for you."


Are people really this mindlessly unoriginal, or is this the same person copy-and-pasting this lame comment over and over again?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:35 AM should do the lottery this weekend as there are 101 000 000 results from google on Captain America reviews.

Anonymous said...

"It's angry people spewing hatred."

Yet you are always here.

Don't you agree that your obsession is "disturbing"??


Anonymous said...


Read my respond to Anon. BTW you're not "daring" or "upsetting" anything. You're sitting on your ass in front of a computer saying things virtually to and about people that you would never say to their faces tough guy. I'm done with this conversation. Enjoy your minority bashing. See ya! =)

Anonymous said...

@ Anon at 1:04 PM

"I've attacked no one. However you were very quick to attack me."

Remember you stated: What a sad group you folks are. I truly feel sorry for you.

It is defined as passive-aggressive behavior. It is name calling, and please revise your definition of self-righteous. You obviously can do no wrong, careful not to live in a glass house.

It's amazing the " I just happened to be Googling such and such and happened upon your site type of excuse ", is used to justify their presence here.

draconstein said...

while I have no problem with chris evans playing the lead, I thought this character was one of the few they could have made black and justly so, but this should have been preferable when he was first conceptualized.
I know y'all hate blacks, but there is no denying that the two most important American symbols(especially physically) against Nazi oppression were Joe Louis and Jesse Owens who both almost literally gave Hitler a black eye in terms of propaganda.
Needless to I find it quite the disservice to whitewash those historic realities with the creation of C.A. as some kind of balance for white egos.
At least Superman was an obvious Jewish hope.