Winter Soldier v Captain America

The Super Bowl teaser for ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ didn’t add much to what fans have already seen, but it did go with the tagline: “In heroes we trust.” It’s a peculiar turn of phrase, given how millions of Christian Americans might take it. While most people will consider it an innocuous piece of marketing just meant to be a twist on the national anthem playing in the background, it still seems to be an odd move considering the sheer numbers of potential moviegoers that it will rub the wrong way — although Chris “God can be whatever” Evans probably doesn’t see it that way. More on that later.

Winter Soldier Shield

First, the lyrics to the fourth verse of The National Anthem. Francis Scott Key was inspired to write them after the battle of Fort McHenry in The War of 1812:

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

In the teaser, it looks like America is once again under attack by a foreign threat, but this time it’s not the British who are invading. One could make the case that if this generation’s Francis Scott Key saw Captain America and the Falcon defending the nation’s capital from terrorist attacks that “in heroes we trust” might make it into a modern anthem. Fair point. But would Captain America approve?

Winter Soldier In Heroes

Winter Soldier We Trust

We can infer from ‘The Avengers’ that Captain America is a Christan. As he dives into the fray between Thor and Loki he says the following:

Black Widow: I’d sit this one out, Cap.

Captain America: I don’t see how I can.

Black Widow: These guys come from legend. They’re basically gods.

Captain America:There’s only one God, Ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.

When I saw ‘The Avengers’ in 2012 I was actually surprised that Hollywood writers would let Cap say that; I give them kudos for doing so. I’m “pretty sure” that the character, if he could break the fourth wall, would say that it was a bizarre decision on Marvel’s part to take out God from such a historical, revered phrase.

So that leaves us with Chris Evans. Does he approve of the tagline? For that we should look at a 2007 interview he gave to Indie London:

Q: Did you have a religious education?

A: Well my family is Italian and I grew up in the Catholic Church but you know the church was just a place to have religious discussions. It wasn’t forced upon me and we didn’t go to church every week.

Q: The film poses some questions about religion versus science. Do you have a view?

A: Well, I guess I believe in science. I believe in evolution. I don’t necessarily believe in god, at least not the man with the beard and robes and things like that. God can be whatever you want it to be, they actually said this in class [for the movie ‘Sunshine’] last week, it’s the universe, the thing that connects all of us, this innate energy that’s in the air, animals, trees, that’s God; it’s this constant living thing and in essence the sun is the creator of that, the sun is kind of the maker of all of that.

Actually, Chris, you’re wrong — the Church is not “just” a place to have religious discussions. It’s where you receive the Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick. Perhaps you should have gone to Mass more often, because whatever “discussions” you had didn’t impart a proper understanding of the faith you ultimately rejected. Call me if you ever want to have a real conversation on the universal salvific will of God, Mr. Evans.

It’s safe to say that the guy who believes “God can be whatever you want it to be” wouldn’t see anything wrong with marketing ‘Winter Solider’ by stripping God out of a phrase that holds a very special meaning for millions of Americans. What a coincidence that most people who believe God is “whomever” or “whatever” they want Him to be usually define Him in such a way that allows them to never be held responsible for their behavior here on earth. But I digress…

Ultimately, ‘Winter Solider’ is going to make millions of dollars. It looks like a really good movie, even if there are warning signs that it might be laced with plenty of anti-American fodder for statist moviegoers around the globe to chew on.

‘Captain America’ was released as ‘The First Avenger’ in Russia to make a few extra million bucks, ‘Iron Man 3’ turned the Mandarin into a Westerner — and now this. Think of how much money Marvel is making hand-over-first with their productions, and then think of how much more they could make if they simply weren’t so tone deaf as to how millions of Americans interpret some of the decisions they make on the periphery of the movie-making process.

Related: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ keeps the Marvel movie train rolling full steam ahead

Related: Will ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ be the must-see blame America movie of the summer?

Related: Chris Evans: Ben Shapiro is like a mirror that reminds me I’m not a real hero, so I dislike him

Related: The Avengers: Marvel’s finest hour

Related: Iron Man 3: Americans will love it, but so will moviegoers who hate America

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

55 comments

  1. “I believe in evolution…”

    Naturalistic evolution?

    Why do I get the feeling that, if I were to debate him, he’d say that it’s as established a fact as ‘Gravity’ and that he also believes in aliens when it’s also established scientific fact that life comes from life and that if you believe in Naturalistic evolution you’d be appealing to the impossibility of undirected natural chemical processes on the early earth giving rise to the first cell and starting the whole paradigm when it’s been readily established that that’s not possible just like it’s not possible to break the light-speed barrier if you’re trying to appeal to aliens traveling light-years and creating us.

    1. It’s really annoying that modern celebrities disclose so much about themselves. So the guy who plays Captain America doesn’t believe in God. I keep thinking of the following conversation taking place:

      Reporter: “Where are our rights derived from, Mr. Evans? God?”

      Chris Evans: “I don’t believe really in God. They’re derived from men. Men like Harry Reid and John Boehner.”

      Reporter: “Doesn’t that contradict the Declaration of Independence?”

      Chris Evans: “I suppose it does. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Captain America scene to prepare for.”

    2. I too was shocked that Marvel allowed Cap to say that in “The Avengers.” I thought it was refreshing. It’s especially odd when you consider that Joss Whedon is a hardcore atheist.

      It is really irritating that celebrities disclose so much about themselves these days and turn people off with their leftist views. There’s a whole group of actors whose movies I won’t see because of that. Sean “Rectal Cancer” Penn is one of them.

      I’ll still see the movie, but I’m leery of what kind of anti-American claptrap they’ll put in the movie and I wish Evans would just keep his mouth shut about topics he knows nothing about.

    1. Emmanuel: Yes, he is, in addition to being a hardcore leftist whose parents (elites from NY) who thought socialism was “beautiful.” He once referred to the Judeo-Christian God as the “Invisible Sky Bully” and back when he was doing Buffy, Angel and Firefly he’d mock religious people through an atheist character. He used Malcolm Reynolds to do so on Firefly, although I do enjoy that show in spite of it.

    2. He once referred to the Judeo-Christian God as the “Invisible Sky Bully…”

      You mean like gravity, which is invisible but happens as an innate property of matter?

      Or how about Lenin and Stalin? Does he call them the ‘Visible Earth Bullies?’

      Yeah…I’m DEFINITELY not seeing anything more he ever decides to make…

  2. I’m wary of Robert Redford’s appearance in the film. He’s made enough disparaging comments about conservatives/Republicans over the years that I’m tempted to bag this film just b/c of him. That, and it looks to be yet another “insidious government conspiracy” type of plot that is supposed to make believe that [our] gov. is the most nefarious entity on the globe.

    1. Whose Robert Redford?

      You mean who’s?

      And seriously? You don’t recognize the name of one of the most acclaimed actors/directors of our age?

    2. I think there are two lessons here:

      1. There are times when utilizing the awesome power of ‘Google’s’ algorithm is the right decision.
      2. The tact (or lack of it) one uses today will affect how others respond tomorrow.

    3. LOL. Redford was a big star (and heart throb) in his time, but, evidently, that time has passed. The old joke about the five stages of a show business career: 1. “Who is Robert Redford?” 2. “Get me Robert Redford.” 3. (the peak) “We can’t afford Robert Redford, so get me a Robert Redford type.” 4. “Get me a young Robert Redford type.” 5. “Who is Robert Redford?”

    4. Not Redford related, but a coworker of mine was talking about ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ today and a new (young) hire asked if that had something to do with Seinfeld. D’oh! It’s always funny when stars act like they’ll always be stars…

    5. LOL, they thought Kramer vs Kramer had to with Seinfeld? Wow. I’m 23 and I’ve heard of the movie (with Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep), even thought it sounds like the kind of movie I’d never see.

    6. Wow, that’s a tough call; Hoosiers was amazing too. My favorite sports flick might be the original Rocky; if you like basketball; the documentary Hoop Dreams is most definitely worth checking out too.

    7. Yeah, Hube, I’ve had reservations about Robert Redford’s appearance in the film, too. The fact that they cast him based on his role in “All the President’s Men” and other 1970s conspiracy films is a little worrying to me.

      I’m as distrusting of the government as the next guy, but Hollywood constantly depicting the U.S. as a force of evil in the world gets real old, real fast. It seems like we’re the only acceptable target these days.

    8. Plus there’s the fact that I never cared for the retcon that brought Bucky back as the Winter Soldier in the first place. I never saw the point in that.

    9. I agree… I’ll see the film in spite of my reservations about it. I just hope it doesn’t devolve into anti-American claptrap.

    10. “I can’t lie…I think the international trailer looks pretty darn amazing. Arg! I can’t help it! I like it.”

      Whoa! Calm your tits and quite lactating…and salivating…and something else ending in ‘ating’ there man. You know your money’s just going to go to liberal causes.

    11. Perhaps. But I would live a pretty lonely and boring life if any time I perceived creative works inspired by liberal lines of thought I recoiled into a conservative man-cave. Besides, I can’t blog on the movie if I don’t see it.

    12. I’ll try to see it in the theater this time around. I didn’t see the first movie when it came out because I was on vacation up North at the time and actually didn’t see it until after the Avengers.

    13. I enjoyed the first one. It’s pretty hard to screw up a “good vs. evil” story set in World War II.

      Emmanuel’s comment reminds me of a debate I’ve had with social conservatives for some time now. I met quite a few of them while working at Heritage. They essentially cut themselves off from Hollywood, the entertainment industry, the arts, music, etc. because so much of it conflicts with their values. So instead of taking an active role in the fight for the culture, they huddle together in smaller and smaller numbers while patting themselves on the back.

      I can understand not liking certain artists, promoting their work, etc. I get it. But when a person basically cuts all ties with the culture and then complains about it I can’t help but shake my head. They made a conscious decision to get left behind, and then wondered why no one turned around to pick them up.

  3. “They made a conscious decision to get left behind, and then wondered why no one turned around to pick them up.”

    News flash Douglas, it makes no sense to be a part of something that takes all of the effort you put into it to stab you.

    1. Getting a “newsflash” by a guy who doesn’t know me or the laundry list of reasons why I do what I do is kind of funny. Even better: you read and comment on my blog, but if I took your advice it wouldn’t exist. Classic.

    2. America’s doomed Douglas. I would not feel any shame in draft dodging, even if the conflict was like a New World War 3 if that came up and letting the vultures eat on its wretched carcass. At the end of the day, the constitution is just a piece of paper and I could wipe myself with it and no one would care, because it’s not God on the throne and has no intrinsic worth aside what people put into it, which, let’s face it, not many people do. Even people who claim to believe in it.

  4. Why? Because I’m not deluded into going past saying ‘it’s the best given the human condition’ and deifying a piece of paper or fallen men or a nation like you and so many other people who identify themselves as cons like to? Because I’m not willing to my hide for deified paper, or fallen men, or a nation that’s ultimately going to collapse with what the kind of people that inhabit it now anyways?

    I meant it. With the number of bad folks we got running the show and scrounging on the show floor, I’d draft dodge the minute they were desperate enough to have to resort to using my body as a meat shield in some war in some country most of them couldn’t even pronounce let alone known of before.

    And I wouldn’t feel an ounce of guilt over it.

    1. I don’t even know what to say… sounds like he’s given up. Way too easily.

      I still think him calling me a “sexist” was pretty low, especially when you consider that I like Wonder Woman’s comic origin and all I said is that it wouldn’t be compatible with the DC Cinematic Universe and they might go the same route as the MCU’s Asgardians, since that would mesh better than the comic origin.

    2. Oh, it was definitely low. Like I said, I just feel sorry for him. He obviously has a lot of issues to work though if he can’t see how bizarre and uncalled for some of his statements (to people who have extended him an olive branch) are.

    3. “Deifying” is a strong word, but I really like that piece of paper….and thanks to people like Doug and his army buddies, who volunteer(ed), our nation is defended and there has been no draft to dodge. Instead of worrying over deifying, maybe it would be best for Emmanuel to stop vilifying everyone who doesn’t 100% agree with him from religion to Wonder Woman. Just with regular readers as an example; I’m way different than Tom and Lightbringer on religious views- and I really enjoy their posts. Carl and I watch different things and read different things and because of his comments and when he blogged, I’ve watched/read some things he’s discussed that I wouldn’t of otherwise….point is, give people a chance and maybe you will like and learn from them too. And maybe “the kind of people who inhabit” our nation isn’t all bad.

      As it is, insult Carl for no apparent reason and turn on Doug; Congrats Emmanuel! You’ve hit the Lizard Zone!

    4. LOL at Patrick’s comment about the Lizard Zone. Like Doug, the potential for him to be another Lizard is there. And I’m glad that you enjoy my posts, Patrick. I enjoy reading yours as well.

      As for Emmanuel, I feel sorry for him, too. I don’t know why he has to be an abrasive, obnoxious tough guy all the time and throw adolescent tantrums whenever someone disagrees with him and starting arguments for the sake of arguments. He’s not going to win people over with that kind of attitude; that drives people away.

    5. Him calling me a “sexist” in that post is just the latest tantrum he’s thrown because I didn’t agree with him. Remember in the Thor: Dark World review where he said I was the reason why comic book movies used to suck? Or, at my blog, he said I didn’t have “any right” to complain about the comic book industry because “you probably don’t have a script or NUTHIN, so what right do you have to complain?” This conveniently ignores that I’ve been working on various creative projects for a long while now.

      The off-topic comments get to me, too, like wanting to talk about the 1992 LA Riots on a Doctor Who-related post… seriously, what the hell?

    6. IMHO, it would have been “sexist” if Carl had said something like, “Wonder Woman should be portrayed as a helpless airhead who can’t fight, and who constantly has to be rescued by Superman, Batman, or some other male hero.” To say that her back story should be based in science fiction instead of fantasy or mythology is a whole separate (and gender neutral) issue. BTW, the “clay statue brought to life by the gods” version was itself a retcon. Like so many other long-running characters, Wonder Woman’s origin has been revised so many times that I don’t know if there is a definitive version.

    7. Thanks for elaborating Tom. I’d forgotten that the clay origin itself was a retcon; I believe it was from the Post-Crisis reboot of Wonder Woman in 1987.

      Hopefully Emmanuel will read your response and reconsider what he said.

    8. He should really channel his energies into something more productive than arguing with people online and instigating arguments for the sake of arguing. Having all that anger pent up inside you… isn’t good for your health.

  5. It is not surprising when people get worked up over controversial issues (politics, religion). But I have no desire to pick nits over “issues” such as Wonder Woman’s origin, whether Lex Luthor is Superman’s age or older, or whether mythological gods in a comic book story (repeat: a comic book story) should be portrayed as Von Daniken-type ancient aliens.

    1. Well-said, Tom. I just don’t like it when abrasive internet tough guys call me a “sexist” for wondering if Wonder woman’s origin would be changed to be more compatible with a more sci-fi oriented movie universe. There was no reason for him to get that worked up and call me that.

  6. “the church was just a place to have religious discussions”… he is referring to his life’s experiences. that was what church was like for him, he did not say, as you put it, that “the Church is [not] “just” a place to have religious discussions.” and then here… “So the guy who plays Captain America doesn’t believe in God.” he clearly says he believes in a version of God that is different than your systematic belief of God. sir, Get the fuck over yourself.

    1. he clearly says he believes in a version of God that is different than your systematic belief of God. sir, Get the fuck over yourself.

      Looks like I hit a nerve with Mr. Anonymous tough-guy in his bedroom, who starts a conversation by throwing out “Get the fuck over yourself.”

      Here is what Chris Evans said: “God can be whatever you want it to be…”

      That is an incredibly stupid thing to say. Sorry, but God can not be “whatever you want.” I suggest you think about the implications of having a God who can be personalized according to the moral code (or lack thereof) of 7 billion humans. No amount of attitude by guys like you, puffing out your chest anonymously over the internet, can change the fact that Chris Evans’ Burger King-inspired God — your way, right away — is laughable when confronted with the least bit of scrutiny.

    2. Trolls living in their parents’ basements rarely have anything substantive to say other than things like “Get the fuck over yourself.” Not to mention, Evans’ statement about “God can be whatever you want it to be” is a bit out there.

    3. I would have only enjoyed that troll’s comment more if he had said “sod off, you bloody wanker!” instead.

      But seriously, I’m not sure what guys like that get out of randomly swearing into the digital sea and then disappearing, as if swearing at me will change my mind about Chris Evans or alter my attitudes on the subject.

      Just because Chris Evans describes an experience, it doesn’t mean that he is accurately describing reality. Even the worst churches are not a place where you just “shoot the breeze,” as they say. I’m sorry that Chris Evans’ family did not take advantage of all the church had to offer. If he wants to give interviews where he makes it sound like the only thing his church did was sit around in a circle and say, “So Chris, what do you think about Jesus?” that’s fine, but I’m going to call him out on his ridiculous reading of what likely took place.

      If the Evans family showed up to Church a few times a year (e.g., Christmas, Easter), and maybe had him in a religious education program for a few years until he was confirmed, then of course he’s going to have an inaccurate understanding of what the Catholic Church is, what it’s about, etc.

      And again, the idea that God can be “whatever you want” is absurd. Using Captain America’s logic, he has no moral authority to condemn the Islamic State group for its actions across the Middle East because, “Hey man, their god is totally down with chopping off the heads of infidels, so that’s what they want him to be…and stuff. It’s all good.”

      Sorry Chris, but it doesn’t work that way.

    4. I always find these discussions interesting. I never found God “systematic”; those who become religious usually had a personal experience to give them a push in that direction. Nothing systematic about that. One can argue Jesus rebuking the pharasies was his declaration that God shouldn’t be fit into the box of a human system.

      Very good point about making God into whatever vs the moral high ground too.

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