Hi, everyone. I am back and fully recovered from my 100 consecutive viewing odyssey of the War Horse trailer. So let’s do this then, shall we?
Last night, I was watching the trailer for Captain America (one of the 158 superhero movies that swamped theaters last summer) and I had somewhat of an epiphany: Nazis aren’t really relevant anymore as far as movie villains go. Sure, when Captain America first graced the pages of the comic book world in the 1940s, there was a desperate need for the superhero to kick some serious Nazi ass and preserve American ideals but why did the 2011 film adaptation have to feature Nazis as the mustache-twirling baddies? The evil Nazi character has become an antiquated idea in today’s Hollywood- a reliable, if not entirely relevant, bad guy.
So this got me thinking about a current cultural fear that would necessitate the return of Captain America. Perhaps the fear of the plunging American economy and the rise of China as the new global superpower? On second thought, this fear would make for a pretty pathetic action movie. Watching Captain America combat the sagging American economy by furiously tapping out numbers on a financial calculator, sitting in on corporate board meetings, and scribbling complex math equations on a notepad would be the last thing that viewers would want to see in a superhero movie.
And then it hit me. Of course, how hadn’t I seen it all along? If we are looking for a current cultural anxiety with which an updated version of Captain America will do battle, we need look no further than a depressing recent trend in American health: childhood obesity.
In America, appearance is everything. Carbohydrates and unsaturated fats are viewed as unspeakable crimes against American waistlines. There is a pervasive cultural anxiety over the fact that a majority of America’s youth is unable to see their feet while standing.
Clearly, we would have to make a few changes to the origins of Captain America for this new adaptation. First, we will establish a new purpose for Dr. Erskine’s human performance-enhancing experiment. Instead of transforming meek American men into Nazi-fighting super humans, the serum will be used to transform an obese Steve Rogers into a diabetes-destroying, sugar-fighting soldier. The new and improved version of Captain America will possess superhuman strength and agility, thanks to a well-balanced diet and an adamant avoidance of trans fatty acids. He will also be able to emit a body-fat burning laser beam from his eyes. His shield will be capable of deflecting the heaviest of artillery fire, including Wonder Bread bombs.
Dr. Erskine recruits Rogers to take part in this risky experiment to help save the country from the evil grasps of childhood obesity, an unhealthy movement that will be spearheaded by a mustachioed children’s cereal mascot. Captain America’s new nemesis will be none other than Cap’n Crunch.
The evil Cap’n Crunch will be far different than his sunny portrayal in television commercials and cereal box advertisements. This version of Crunch has created a thoroughly addicting sugary children’s cereal, which contains a secret chemical that transforms its consumers into fat zombie sailors. After eating the tasty cereal, these obese-zombie-sailor-children are stolen away from their parents and resigned to completing 100 years of indentured servitude on his ship, The Good Ship Guppy. Along with his deceptively cute and cuddly cohorts, Tony the Tiger, Trix Rabbit, and Lucky the Leprechaun, Crunch aims to mass-produce his secret formula, conquer America, and interrupt the peaceful rule of his much-adored Cereal King twin brother, the Quaker Oats Man.
But this is absurd, you say? Pure hodgepodge? Well, when you have conquered the world, like Captain America did in the 1940s, the only other problems left to face are the self-created ones. Carbs have overthrown Nazis as the new bad guys in Hollywood.