FF96 - Captain America: The First Avenger

Intro by Adam Pranica

The persecution of a person based solely on their beliefs has been a shameful and also inextricable part of human history. For those that subscribe to one such belief system, their oppression is more recent, yet no less traumatic. The followers of this ideology take communion and have massive cathedrals where they worship their deities. The money they tithe during these weekly ceremonies makes their political influence formidable. This narrow world view has come to encroach upon more and more aspects of society and culture, going forth and multiplying everywhere, public and private, ushered in by this growing community.

It is more than a community: It is an identity. As they consume more and more of what gives their lives meaning to the exclusion of everything else, and as their influence increases and their numbers grow from minority to majority, their sense of victimhood has not transformed. What is now only imagined remains: The persecuted majority. Their followers are of such mass and their members vocalize at such a bombarding rate that even offering the most nuanced critical view of their beliefs is considered controversial, even when voiced by our society's most celebrated minds.

That is what happened when Martin Scorsese said: "Superhero films are not cinema and instead theme parks!" Francis Ford Coppola agrees, saying: "He is right!" because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration. I don't know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again.

To say the response has been hostile would be an understatement and not just from those that observe superhero sabbath, but also those that create and profit from the genre. The superhero genre is reliably profitable in a filmmaking world that has become more costly and at the same time more risk-averse. These films' financial success is the impenetrable shield their supporters use against all criticism.

All of this is to say that when you review a superhero film, you better be prepared for the consequences. Superhero films are fine, all right? No one is taking your superhero films away! That is not what we are doing. We are just going to talk about a superhero film. If you have something to say, right now is a perfect time to keep it to yourself! On today's Friendly Fire as we discuss 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger.

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