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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is a film critic for The New York Post and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    “Captain America” and Adolf

    By Kyle | July 22, 2011

    I totally disagree with my senior colleague Lou that there’s something vaguely suspicious about “Captain America: The First Avenger” and its relationship with Hitler. As far as I could tell, the writers had this thought: Hitler was way too serious to turn into a comic-book villain. So we need to put the focus of the evil in the movie on a different character, one with supernatural backing, so we can all relax and forget about the grim history of what really happened. It’s much easier to hiss Red Skull than it is to hiss Hitler, because after all Hitler succeeded in murdering millions of people. Let’s not trivialize that by turning Hitler, or even Nazism in general, into the heavy of a comic-book movie. I think it was a wise choice. (As commenters point out, Red Skull has anyway always been Captain America’s opponent.)

    Moreover, as someone who lived in Germany for nearly two years while serving in the Third Infantry division (and at one time spoke pretty fair German, though leider ich habe gleich alles vergessen), I find it slightly hilarious that Lou thinks contemporary Germany has mixed feelings about Hitler or gets offended by references to Hitler or something. Germans in general are super-liberal. Except for a few teen jerks and cuckoos, the rightmost boundary of respectable opinion is a bit to the left of Bill Clinton. Some Germans, particularly older ones, may be slightly touchy about how much responsibility the average man in the street bore for the atrocities of the war but they are utterly united in their loathing for Hitler and have no problem at all with Hitler being portrayed as the ultimate villain.

    Topics: History, Movies | 6 Comments »

    6 Responses to ““Captain America” and Adolf”

    1. JimmyC Says:
      July 22nd, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      So would Lou prefer that the filmmakers had thrown out the comic book’s main villain, Red Skull, and had Cap take on Hitler instead? If so, then the movie could only have ended two ways (a) the hero succeeds in killing Hitler and history is rewritten, Inglorious Basterds-style, or (b) the hero fails at his mission/dies, and everyone leaves the theater depressed.

    2. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      July 23rd, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Have to agree with Kyle. I have been to Germany many times and have only met any German who did not speak of Hitler with loathing and/or contempt. And the Red Skull was always Cap’s main villain – like the Joker was to Batman or Lex Luthor to Superman.

    3. Ron Wagner Says:
      July 23rd, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      I agree re the liberalism of Germans. I spent 26 months there 1963-65. Was in the 7th Army. They don’t even want to spend the money to defend themselves. They have enjoyed our protection since WWII. Mein Kampf is illegal there. They do have lots of other socialist groups though.

      Why doesn’t Hollywood ever want to do movies about the horrors of Stalinism and Maoism? The Chinese still revere Mao!

    4. Avg Joe Says:
      July 23rd, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      The problem with all of this is that Hitler was a LEFTIST, not on the “right” as so many would like us to believe. Never forget that he was a SOCIALIST first and that the eugenics movement that gave birth to his racism came from liberals like Sanger.

    5. Robert P. Says:
      July 25th, 2011 at 11:36 pm

      Isn’t the bigger outrage not caving with Hitler as the villain, but caving to re-name it “The First Avenger” for certain foreign countries?

    6. Kyle Says:
      July 26th, 2011 at 8:49 am

      Doesn’t bother me. They do what they need to do to try to have a profitable experience. I’d blame national attitudes rather than market research that correctly reads national attitudes.

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