“The price of freedom is high…and it’s a price I’m willing to pay.”
Steve Rogers – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014 release)
Captain America – A Cut Above
As far as Marvel super heroes go, Captain America stands a cut above the rest. Known for his patriotism and integrity, he fights for justice without compromising his principles. Now that’s the kind of hero I can get excited about!
The real question is this – do the movies contain the same quality as the leading man? Fans loved the first Captain America film, but many will tell you that the latest addition to the franchise, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was released on DVD this month, is a sad disappointment. While I agree that the second film didn’t quite “wow” me as the first one did, true Marvel fans will still find plenty of things to get excited about in this sequel.
The witty banter between Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson will keep you smiling, Samuel L. Jackson – that tough-as-nails director of S.H.I.E.L.D. – is just as much fun to watch light up the screen as always, and forget The Way We Were – Robert Redford makes an incredible villain who you will love to hate! Of course, the film does include quite a bit of senseless violence and multiple fighting scenes – something that will have older teens cheering, but that really will be a bit much for younger children.
To be quite honest, though, my favorite part of the film is its clever title. In the film, the term “Winter Soldier” is used to describe the leading thug, a villain with super strength who just happens to be Captain America’s childhood friend. American History buffs will also recognize the strong patriotic overtones of the title, however.
The “Winter Soldiers” of Patriotic History
Thomas Paine, who wrote passionate patriotic materials during the American Revolution, wrote the following in his tract, “The American Crisis,” to inspire the soldiers who were suffering from the harsh conditions in Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778:
“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
In this context, then, a “Winter Soldier” is one who continues to stand strong and fight for what is right, even when conditions grow harsh and unbearable. While this is not directly discussed in the film, this is exactly the type of soldier that Steve Rogers (Captain America) embodies. Even when the enemy infiltrates the U.S. Government and turns the entire nation against him, Rogers continues to fight for freedom and justice.
The Need for “Winter Soldiers” Today
As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but feel saddened by how rare this mentality is today. In today’s “culture of comfort,” people are glad to stand for what they believe in… just as long as they’re in the majority opinion. At the slightest sign of discomfort or danger, however, they tend to back down.
Unfortunately, the same is true of modern-day Christians. While our early church fathers were willing to lay their lives down for the right to practice and teach the truths of Scripture, many Christians today hand over these rights without the slightest protest! But this is not the type of Christianity modeled for us in the Bible. In fact, Scripture makes it very clear that Christianity isn’t for the weak, or for those who love worldly comforts.
James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
When trials and challenges come our way, do we take joy in the opportunity to suffer for our Lord? Are we resolved to stand for what is right, even when conditions grow harsh?
If so, we can be encouraged that the God who gave the following promise to the Israelites is the same God who watches over His people today:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Friends – we serve a mighty God. And today – more than ever – as Americans and as Christians, we need to be willing to stand for what is right, even when the going gets rough.
So you see – I love Captain America because he is a true “Winter Soldier” – and that level of commitment and resolve is something our world desperately needs more of.
When It Comes to Your Faith and Life Principles, Are You a “Sunshine Patriot” or a “Winter Soldier”?