15 April 2014

What Captain America Missed Around the World

At one point in the Avengers movie, Captain America is excited to finally recognize one of the pop-culture references people are throwing around: “Flying Monkeys.”

You see, Captain America was trapped in ice at the end of World War 2 and thawed out only recently. When I was a lad, “only recently” meant the early 1960s, which was no longer that recent, but the basic conceit was established.

The new movie series allowed the corporate storytellers to move the date of Cap’s thawing up to the twenty-first century. Chris Evans plays him as a refugee from the 1940s trying to keep up with modern times. He knows the MGM Wizard of Oz but not much since.

The new Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie carries on that theme by showing how Cap keeps a to-look-up list consists of topics he’s missed and needs to look into. These include I Love Lucy, the Moon landing, the Berlin Wall’s rise and fall, and someone named Steve Jobs.

However, As Comics Alliance reported, a Reddit user collected screenshots from different versions of Captain America: The Winter Soldier from around the world, showing that Marvel/Disney tailored the hero’s to-look-up list for different audiences.

For Russian audiences what’s self-evidently important about the last seventy years are Yuri Gagarin, Vladimir Vysotskiy, the USSR breakup, and Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears.

For South Koreans, it’s Dance Dance Revolution, Ji-Sung Park, Old Boy, and the 2002 World Cup in soccer.

For Mexicans, it’s the Chilean miners, Maradona’s “hand of God,” Shakira, and Neri Vela.

And so on. It would make an interesting social-studies lesson for teams to identify what all those variant items are, and why they’re as important to other culture as I Love Lucy is to ours. Every nation has a different perspective on space, it appears, and almost every nation but the US is mad about soccer.

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