Since 2010 ‘s Iron Man 2 , Marvel Cinematic Universe chose to be apolitical until Captain America:Winter Soldier(2014). While Captain America: First Avenger (2011) was set in World War 2 and featured Nazis, the movie did not comment on social issues like racism. The movie ended with Captain America almost dying in ice field and freezing until he is defrozen 70 years later. He is able to stay alive because of the chemicals that turned him from skinny Steve Rogers into superhuman Captain America. In his next movie, Avengers(2012) , he fights alongside superheroes like Iron Man in modern world. In this movie , he is trying to adjust in modern world. He also realizes that modern world is quite different from 1940s. In 1940s, for him, the biggest enemy of USA is Axis Power. In 21st century, biggest enemy of USA is…well…USA itself.
At first, previous line might sound surprising but this is what happens in the movie. And the directors and scriptwriter intentionally did this to comment upon how present generation views USA in comparison to how Steve Rogers generation viewed USA during World War 2.
After it was exposed that there were no nuclear weapon in Iraq in 2006 , Chealsea Manning’s leak on Iraq War on Wikileaks in 2010 and Edward Snowden’s expose on NSA surveillance system in 2011 , Americans became cynical towards their government over their actions in War On Terror. For them War on Terror was just an excuse to violate fundamental rights like right to privacy in the name of security through 2001’s controversial PATRIOT ACT. NSA leak had confirmed their worst dream come true.
While the movie did not have CIA as villain like Bourne series did, it did have S.H.I.E.L.D. portraying the same role. In the movie there is a dialogue that goes on something like “We are holding gun on everyone ‘s head and calling it security”. It was supposed to comment on current security paranoia.
Not only S.H.I.E.L.D. is shown as surveillance body but also exposed to be in bed with Hydra since the defeat of Axis Power in World War 2, where it is shown many senior leaders of Hydra co-operated with S.H.I.E.L.D. This was similar to how Nazi scientists were later used by Soviet Union and USA after World War 2 for scientific purpose. While the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. , Nick Fury is shown to be totally unaware about this dirty secret. He helps Captain America along with Black Widow and Falcon to expose this secret to world. Christopher Pierce, senior leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. vows to protect the secret from being leaked. Kind of like how US government locked up Chelsea Manning after his/her leak on wikileaks. What ‘s interesting about Christopher is that he is played by Robert Redford, the guy who acted in anti-establishment films like All the President Men(1976) and conspiracy fiction like Three Days of Condors (1973). Table had turned this time.
Captain America also has to fight Bucky who was his best friend during 1940s but now has become a super villain called Winter Soldier. He however had small role for a villain and was kind of disappointing. One of the best things I found about this movie was not only new Captain America costume but the fact that I found Captain America entertaining unlike his portrayal in Avengers and First Avengers. Captain America was now cool and rootable. Zack Snyder can learn a thing or two on how to make Superman cool from this movie.Overall I found the film nicely shot, strongly scripted and well directed. It was the only solo MCU movie I found good beside Iron Man.