Ten questions for Captain America

28 Apr
Ha! I can catch your magic shield with my magic arm! Wait, but why didn't that nice doctor give me two of these arms? And the same tech in my legs? And why don't I have one of these indestructible shields?  Why is there only one of everything??

“Ha! I can catch your magic shield with my magic arm! Wait, but why didn’t that nice doctor give me two of these arms? And the same tech in my legs? And why don’t I have one of these indestructible shields? Why is there only one of everything??”

On the recommendation of almost every movie critic in the world (89% on Rotten Tomatoes with a 94% audience rating) we went to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It was utter garbage, and shame on you for liking it.

If you’ve yet to see it, from here on there are numerous spoilers, which I actually consider a public service to you, but I’m warning you anyway.

Firstly: why the critics liked it. It explores the oh-so-novel theme: ‘Those enemies of freedom must never be allowed to take away our freedom’, via a rebooted Nazi world domination plot (cf. reductio ad hitlerum). Apparently the topical issue of govt invading personal liberty in order to preserve public security is enough depth to get critical buy-in. The fact that the commentary is as complex as ‘I think it’s bad, you guys’, and padded out with 120 minutes of punching, seems not to matter.

But here are some other puzzles that the Marvel Universe threw up this time. In no particular order:

  1. Why is Cap’s shield sentient sometimes? How does it come back?
  2. Why, while shooting endless bullets at Cap’s shield with no effect, does no one think to shoot his legs? “Shoot him in the shield!! … It’s not working! … I know!! I’ll shoot him in the shield!”
  3. Dear pretty CIA nurse lady, if you are a superhero-level marksman (marksperson?) holding a dangerous special-ops guy at gunpoint, is it utterly necessary to stand within knife range?
  4. Why is it interesting to watch two invincible foes fighting each other? It either ends nonsensically or not at all, neither of which seems worth watching to me.
  5. Which sensei did these guys train with? Why in every fight does one hero finally get his deadly hands on his defeated adversary, only to toss him aside like it’s WWE. “I’ve got you right where I want you, so now I shall… throw you away from me to safety!! Take that!!!”
  6. If Nick Fury’s car has windows that can withstand all assault weapons and a swat battering ram for about five minutes, why can Winter Soldier assassinate the pilot of one of SHIELD’s planes through its windscreen with a single shot from a handgun? Why is there only one of everything?
  7. If you’re going to fake your own death, isn’t it a bit risky to do it by getting shot unexpectedly by an assassin that your enemy hired to kill you? And assuming therefore that it was a plan-B situation, who came up with the plan while Fury was busy being mostly dead? And why did the plan maker need to deceive even the doctors who were trying to save his life? To keep the secret very secret? How then did some other lot of doctors who did know the plan get his ‘corpse’ and save his now-even-more-threatened life in time and with no one noticing (so as to ruin the secrecy)?

    Some muppets did this in the live action version too.

    Why, CapAm, why?

  8. Why did the bad guys make their super soldier out of a broken American one that they found lying around instead of a well-made German soldier? Oh and he was also coincidentally Cap’s best friend. Surely this was not all just to manufacture human drama, surely?
  9. If you can make a near-immortal super-soldier with a super-strong bionic arm, and if you can do so even out of left-over soldier casualties, why wouldn’t you make another one, and another? And give them Capn America shields? Why only one hero for each side? Do superheroes get jealous and cannibalise one another? Why is there only one of everything?
  10. Given that Tony Stark is named in connection with the project on which the story is focused, why does he not bring his army of Iron Men to help out when the world is about to go belly up? You know he was going to be near the top of the bad guys’ hit list, but no need for a little warning there? Perhaps he was busy filming Iron Man 3.

And exposition! There’s going to be eleven questions now, it turns out. Why would Hydra go to the trouble of hiding their brains-trust in a hidden lair under old-SHIELD, and yet when the enemies of shield discover it, the brain in question blurts out all their secrets for no reason? When Samson told Delilah that cutting his hair would render him powerless, she at least had to nag him to tears, and even he faked her out three times first.

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