Originally Posted by Kurosawa
I agree with everything you said. I think WWII is still held in such high regard and the US Military itself is still so respected-probably the only US Government institution that people generally respect-because of the unity they represent. Even people who are strongly against the wars are not against the servicemen (which was the case to a degree in Vietnam).
The grenade scene is fantastic.
I don't want to get too off-topic (I'm always a sucker for political debates), so this will be the last thing I say that's not directly related to the movie itself. I agree with what you said, but it's a fine line between respect for the military and a dangerous glorification of militarism. I think the difference with World War II was that it was the last major conflict (not counting the Cold War) where the U.S. faced an enemy of comparable strength. Vietnam definitely soiled the image of the military for a lot of Americans, but blaming the soldiers themselves was totally stupid and counterproductive, since they were basically following orders. Unfortunately, I think we've now swung to the opposite extreme, where any criticism of the military is absolutely forbidden - an especially dangerous development when the current wars the U.S. is engaged in are so controversial.
There's a personal element to this for me, since my father is in the Canadian Forces and just finished a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. I'm against the war personally, but I know my father is a good man and I have a lot of respect for him putting himself in such a dangerous situation. I think the relative lack of controversy of World War II - Nazis are the definition of political evil - makes it easy for me to like CA: TFA. Now that Cap is in the present for The Avengers
, I feel they'll have to ignore politics more for the sake of not alienating potential audience members. One of the reasons I like Cap so much, despite my Marxist (read: internationalist) politics, is the idea that he stands for American VALUES, not necessarily the American government - this has been one of the ways Marvel has handled the character since his 60s resurrection in the Vietnam era. But in terms of the Avengers movie, this inevitably means they'll have to avoid pointed commentary on America's current military entanglements in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
That makes sense from a business perspective, but I can't help imagining, if Steve Rogers were a real person, what his views on the current American wars would be. Given that the wars are so controversial, I can see why Marvel would avoid having the character comment on the wars; remember the uproar when a recent Captain America comic included some mild criticism of the Tea Party? Current issues just stir up too many passions on all sides and taking a firm stance on any of them would alienate a large portion of Cap's potential audience. Like a Rorschach test, people want to see themselves in Cap. If you're anti-war, you want him to be against the wars, and likewise if you're pro-war you would want him to support them.
Clearly, the way they'll handle this in The Avengers
is by having the team tackle distinctly non-political threats, like the Skrulls or Loki. Again, that makes total sense from a business (and likely from a creative) perspective. I guess it all comes down to what you're looking for in your entertainment. Most people are probably looking for pure escapism - I know sometimes when I'm sick of reading about politics I come on this board to think about something else (and, of course, often end up starting political debates - sorry, I can't help myself). But Cap is different in that his patriotic image can naturally lead to debates about U.S. foreign policy. I think this is why my favourite Cap stories take place in World War II; there's less moral ambiguity. Everyone hates Nazis, so you can just enjoy a rollicking good vs. evil adventure story without getting too bogged down in complex political reality.