I just came across something interesting that I thought I would share with everyone. After watching perhaps arguably the greatest Marvel film to date, I could not help but think about the similarities I found between these two films. Now granted, these films are very different in a lot of ways the most obvious being a superhero film and a sci-fi film. So here we go!
In Minority Report, a futuristic PreCrime police force is run by John Anderton (Tom Cruise). PreCrime “uses visions of the future generated by three ‘precog’s,’ (mutated humans with precognitive abilities), to stop murders before they happen.” The idea of this organization is to arrest and prevent any felony before the criminal ever has a chance to come up with a strategic plan to murder.
The computer or more specifically a “precog” will tell the corporation who is going to be responsible for an assassination. This will allow the police force to take any means necessary by taking action. Anderton foresees the association PreCrime going nationwide and having been taken over by the government. John Anderton somehow becomes convicted of a murder he is supposed to commit in the future. Anderton believes he is being set up by someone and is ultimately chased throughout the rest of the film.
In the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers must battle a topic for debate: Freedom. S.H.E.I.L.D. is developing an Anti-Terrorist attack system called ‘Project Insight’ which involves three massive Helicarriers “linked to spy satellites designed to preemptively eliminate potential threats to national and global security.”
In one of the most pivotal scenes in the movie, Rogers explains his stance on the initiation of Project Insight. The full dialogue between Rogers and Fury can be found below:
Nick Fury: These new long range precision guns can eliminate a thousand hostiles a minute. The satellites can read a terrorist’s DNA before he steps outside his spider hole. We’re going to neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen.
Steve Rogers: I thought the punishment usually came after the crime?
Nick Fury: We can’t afford to wait that long.
Steve Rogers: Who’s we?
Nick Fury: After New York I convinced the world’s Security Council we needed a quantum surge in threat analysis. For once we’re way ahead of the curb.
Steve Rogers: By holding a gun to everyone on earth and calling it protection.
Nick Fury: You know, I read those SSR files. “Greatest Generation?” You guys did some nasty stuff.
Steve Rogers: Yeah, we compromised. Sometimes in ways that made us not sleep so well. But we did it so that people could be free. This isn’t freedom. This is fear.
Nick Fury: S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be. And it’s getting damn near past time for you to get with that program, Cap.
Steve Rogers: Don’t hold your breath.
These two films are similar in the aspect of the importance of civil liberty. Now I’m not going to get into all the political debates on the topics but I will mention what Minority Report director Steven Spielberg had to say on his film later in this article and his stance on the issue.
In both films, the plots begin to explain that certain organizations have the ability to detect future crime before they occur. The associations (S.H.I.E.L.D. and PreCrime) establish just that and wish to take all the precautions necessary for halting further violence. Not to spoil anything in the films, but I’ll just say that those plans do not work out the way they were designed to. Things began to backfire and eventually the organizations become corrupted.
It is no surprise that some of the issues are being brought up in society today. Ever since post 9/11 America appears to be more paranoid for having more protection than what may be necessary. This I believe is the main reason why these films are being produced in such a political way.
Hollywood is trying to bring attention to what is taking place in the world we live in. Spielberg previously in 2002 made his case and point when asked about the reality that is today. He states, “we’re giving up some of our freedom so that the government can protect us.” Spielberg also continued on to mention that he would be against any sort of PreCrime system if it ever were invented by saying that he believes that if it did in fact exist, “those in control of it would undoubtedly abuse its powers.”
I also recently read an article that talked about the political attributes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Russo brothers made it very clear that they were going towards a ‘political thriller.’ This is what I believed made the film very successful in that it appealed to today’s audience.
In the interview the brothers exclaimed; “[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller…So we said if you want to make a political thriller, all the great political thrillers have very current issues in them that reflect the anxiety of the audience…That gives it an immediacy, it makes it relevant. So [Anthony] and I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president’s kill list, and preemptive technology.”
But the importance of the film relies heavily in the political themes in which I touched base on earlier. The most significant being ‘targeted killing.’
Joe Russo again gave his thoughts on the political theme of the film; “The question is where do you stop?” Joe says. “If there are 100 people we can kill to make us safer, do we do it? What if we find out there’s 1,000? What if we find out there’s 10,000? What if it’s a million? At what point do you stop?”
So what do you guys think? Do you agree with the comparisons between both of these films? Are there any other films that you have seen that have brought up political themes involving civil liberties? Share your thoughts below!