The true power of Captain America

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But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

In the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU as it is otherwise known I was never really a Captain America fan. I didn’t dislike the character but I boxed him off into all American boy, patriot, soldier who was no big deal and could just throw a shield at people.

Previously I had been a Spider-Man guy. The wise cracking wall crawler with his quick wit and web swinging abilities was my favourite. ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ was the mantra and the cavalcade of colourful, interesting villains also kept me on the hook even when the films were fairly ordinary fare.

As the MCU grew though something in me began to move towards Steve Rodgers and over time Cap has grown on me. He has got under my skin.

He was different to other heroes. He didn’t have an accident like Peter Parker to gain his powers. He wasn’t a multi billionaire philanthropist with a great eye for design like Tony Stark.

Steve Rogers was chosen. He was picked by the government to be injected with a super soldier serum that gave him his power.

He wasn’t picked because of his size, strength or intelligence.

He was picked because of his heart.

The verse from 1 Samuel  is taken from the story of David being selected as king of Israel. Samuel has walked down a line up of Jesse’s sons. The big, the strong, the potential warrior kings that could lead Israel to dominate their neighbours for years.

As Samuel walks the line and each is rejected by God to the point where there are no sons left. The story tells us they have to go and get David he wasn’t even considered worthy enough for the line up!

When David arrives God informs Samuel that this is the chosen one, the future king. The son who was rejected by his own family for the line up is selected.

Why David? The verse tells us it was because of his heart.

Steve Rogers couldn’t get drafted into the army, slipped in through the back door after countless rejections and ended up Captain America.

At one point in the First Avenger a grenade is thrown into a crowd of soldiers and Steve flings himself on top to protect those around him. While others run he puts other lives ahead of his own.

At this point the officers around him see the potential for a  true hero. In this moment Rogers is chosen. Not because of physical prowess, intelligence or size but because of his character.

He is chosen because of his heart and consequentially becomes the moral compass of the MCU.

In the Winter Soldier when actions are taken in the name of security and patriotism Cap stands against it because it invokes not protection but in his mind fear.

Captain America is not driven by a super serum but rather principle, ethics and the desire to do what is right.

In today’s world perhaps we need to re examine not what makes up popular, powerful or gains us status among peers. Perhaps we should instead check our hearts to see what condition it is in.

2016: Plenty to look forward to

2016 is almost here and I’ve picked out several films that have already got me excited for the New Year.

Thanks to all who have read, shared and interacted with posts from the blog over 2015 I really do appreciate it.

Happy New Year!

Ant- Man, Fantastic Four and the onset of fatigue

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Ant-Man. If ever there was a hero that I didn’t deem necessary, from the Marvel canon, to see on-screen it was Ant-Man. Never a big fan of the comics and finding the entire premise a bit dull I wasn’t overly excited going in.

I shouldn’t have worried though Marvel have again pulled a fairly decent movie out of the hat and they should be applauded. The cinematic juggernaut that is Marvel continues to roll out decent viewing from its massive universe of characters. Paul Rudd gives a decent performance in the lead role and brings his on-screen likeability and humour to it. It suffers from the normal Marvel problems (lack of decent villain primarily) but is a decent and enjoyable watch.

The setups for the next films are there to be spotted,  a great cameo sequence and the obligatory post credit sequence are all there.

These films are the cinematic equivalent of a bingo card, redemption of character <tick> , underused villain <tick> , set piece battle at end <tick>.  Let me be very clear however, they are not bad films, they are highly enjoyable with lots of great sequences that as a comic book reader you would only dream to be possible. My frustration is at myself for my lack of excitement before the film starts.

I really enjoyed Ant-Man. I really enjoy Marvel movies. I’m a comic reading  cinema attending regular these, more than any other genre, should be my cinema going highlight. Why then the lack of enthusiasm?

I have a theory.

I suffer from hype fatigue.

You see I’ve known about Ant-Man for a couple of years. I’ve read the possible casting stories. I’ve read the articles telling us the problems with the shoot. The loss of the original director (Edgar Wright), the exclusive screen shots, the teaser trailer, the official trailer teaser trailer, the ACTUAL trailer, the article breaking down all the things we my have missed in the trailer and the list goes on.

The Fantastic Four is released this weekend (6th Aug to be precise) and in the last couple of days the final trailer has been released. This time however the trailer for an (as yet) unreleased film has a teaser at the end (I’ll not spoil that if you haven’t seen it). We are now at the stage of trailers with post trailer teasers!

I therefore understand now my lack of enthusiasm.

Even the trailers are beginning to link to the next coming attraction.

When the Marvel juggernaut started its journey all those years ago the films felt more like events. You didn’t know what was coming you didn’t know what to expect. Now we seem to know most of what we need to know before the first crunch of popcorn.

To avoid this information in 2015 is difficult. The social media frenzy when trailers are released can be unavoidable.

I can however make choices. I can choose not to engage with the links to click bait journalism.

I could decrease my use of social media to avoid these things.

I suffer from hype fatigue.

I must do whatever I can to ensure that my cinematic excitement returns.