(by Asawin Suebsaeng, Mother Jones) -- There are currently no plans to screen Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the White House, as far as the film's directors have heard. But if it makes it to the White House family theater, President Obama would be watching one big-budget, action-packed, and Scarlett Johansson-starring critique of his controversial terror-suspect "kill list."
This isn't me reading things into a mainstream comic-book movie. It's what the directors themselves will tell you.
"[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller," Joe Russo, who directed the film with his brother Anthony, tells Mother Jones. "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, preemptive technology"—all themes they worked into the film, working closely with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
In The Winter Soldier, Captain America and the rest of the heroes (played by Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, and so on) confront the government program Project Insight, which involves three Helicarriers (giganticautonomous killer drones, basically) that are fed large amounts of data and intel. The Helicarriers process the data to identify and preemptively eliminate potential threats to national and global security. And though the film's topical parts were all crafted prior to the NSA revelations, the directors say it's no accident that data mining is a key element of the plot: "It was all leading up to Snowden," Joe says. "It was all in the ether [already], it was all part of the zeitgeist. The Snowden stuff actually happened while we were shooting."