We Are Not The Hero In This Story…

“There are people in this world who deal only in extremes. It’s naive to think that anything less than extreme measures will stop them.” – Amanda Waller, Arrow

Call it a fitting coincidence, call it good timing, but the Arrow episode, “The Brave and the Bold,” provided an unintentional precursor to the debate the U.S. is currently having about torture after the CIA report summary from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee released to the public on Tuesday.

Arrow does an excellent job with Amanda Waller’s character. She is not a hero in the traditional sense and often blurs the line between anti-hero and villain in the comics. However, in the New 52 version of Waller and in the show, she is a well-intentioned extremist who acts on her perception of the greater good.

Personally, this is my favorite version of Amanda Waller. There is more complexity to this character. Ultimately, she acts on what she believes is the greater good. She makes difficult choices that are, at times, morally shady; her character is even amoral. She cannot concern herself with what is and isn’t moral. For Waller, it is about the big picture — the greater good.

“The Brave and the Bold” explores the contrast between the type of hero Barry Allen/The Flash is and the type of hero (or anti-hero) Oliver Queen/The Arrow is. The question both men have to look inside themselves to answer is, what makes a true hero? And, what kind of hero does the world really need?

Allen is the archetypical hero. He believes there is a moral line that cannot, under any circumstances, be crossed or sacrificed even for the greater good. Arrow, as well as ARGUS agents and Waller, believe that to deal with the extreme, extreme measures are necessary — including torture to get information.

Arrow believes that by going to these extremes, he has sacrificed his humanity, but that is a necessary sacrifice to achieve the greatest good.

Is the United States not reflecting on a similar question right now? Instead of asking what hero we are going to be, we are asking what role we should be playing in the world and how much of who we are we are willing to sacrifice in pursuit of our enemies.

The U.S. was founded on the principles of due process and equal protection under the law. Due process applies to everyone — not just citizens. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, either in the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment, does it say that only citizens are entitled to due process.

The Fifth Amendment says, “no person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment says, “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Not just citizens… any person.

After reading some of the tactics used by the CIA to interrogate suspects, there are incidents of cruel and unusual punishment, which of course is in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

After September 11, 2001, we entered uncertain times. We were willing to go to war to fight terrorism. We were willing to go to extremes, and we adopted the very mentality that Amanda Waller has about fighting extremism. We were chasing people who only deal in extremes and we concluded that it was foolish to think anything, but extreme measures would produce results.

But in doing so, we forsook the very principles this nation was founded on. We violated our own laws and we turned our backs on any concept of right and wrong. Torture is wrong. There is no debate here. The only debate we can have is what role we want to have in the world — what image do we want to have?

Are we willing to sacrifice who we are — what makes us different from our enemies? Or, are we going to be the moral standard-bearer, the example that no matter how extreme the enemy is, we will not sacrifice who we are in our response to them?

‘Gotham’ May Do Well to Stay Away from the Joker


If I was a gambling man, I would bet money that the standup comedian from the Pilot episode of Gotham was not the Joker, despite a number of websites posing that very question. While some say it was on the minds of everyone watching the episode, I didn’t even consider him a possibility.

However, without Batman, I didn’t think creators of the show would touch the Joker.

I think the idea that creators of the show may tease different people who could possibly end up being the Joker is brilliant from a marketing standpoint. The Joker is a villain everyone — whether they are avid comic readers or not — wants to see. However, the Joker is an established Gotham villain that shows up after Bruce Wayne puts on the cape and cowl.

Even if they incorporate the Joker at some point in the Gotham series, it is way too early to even introduce the person who will end up being the iconic villain. As creators of the show said, the Joker is the “crown jewel” of Gotham villains.

Not just Gotham villains either, but DC villains. Of all the DC villains that have shown up in the comics, none of them can really be considered ‘sacred’ in the way the Joker is. Any story involving him, especially dealing with his origins, needs to be handled with care. Even the tiniest screw up will mean severe backlash from the fans.

It is true that Gotham could go with Alan Moore’s origin story for the Joker from The Killing Joke, portraying him as a struggling standup comedian, but it may not make much sense when they are playing the gang wars up as much as they are. If they do bring in the Joker at some point, we may see him first emerge as a rival gang leader who works behind the scenes and threatens the balance of power — maybe as the Red Hood — but then again this is pure speculation.

Without Batman, it may be best for the creators of Gotham to stay away from the Joker period. It may not go over as well with the fans if James Gordon confronts the Joker and not Batman. This is one of those delicate balancing acts that creators of the show have to consider, because there are some villains that are accepted as almost Batman exclusive. Batman has to be the one to face them and no one else.

However, as previously mentioned, some critics have raised a legitimate point that the show may not last long if it turns out to be just another cop drama about a good cop in a corrupt department or city. The show has started off well, but they have to continue to offer more.

It will be interesting to see what creators of Gotham do in future episodes. Personally, I am excited about the future of the show. I was excited to see it finally premiere on Monday. I look forward to seeing the second episode, “Selina Kyle,” on September 29. I think creators of the show have plenty to work with to make this not only a great TV series, but a series with a long run.

Whether They Buy The New iPhone or Not, Consumers Like to Feel Special

Recently, I read a list of 21 reasons why the author of the post was not going to buy the iPhone 6 or the behemoth iPhone 6 Plus. My initial reaction was an eye roll because, quite frankly, such a list comes off a little pretentious. When a new iPhone comes out, so many people go out of their way to tell people that they are not going to buy it.

Still, I read on because it was late and I had a few moments of free time.

The first reason that caught my eye was “bendgate.”

Yes, the iPhone bends, a problem that is much more serious with the iPhone 6 Plus because neither a person’s pockets nor their anatomy are shaped for a phone with a 5.5 inch screen.

While phones made out of plastic do not have the same bending problems (they can bend, but they will go back into place), applying enough pressure by, say, sitting on the phone or sitting a certain way for too long has the potential of damaging any smartphone. Sitting on a phone wrong with enough pressure could, for instance, crack the screen.

The iPhone 6 Plus is unwieldy. From the moment I saw it, my response was a simple, “No.” Personally, I don’t want to feel like I am holding a tablet up to my ear when talk on the phone. Since I have an iPad Mini with Retina Display (which has the same tech specs as the iPad Air. It is just smaller and costs less), it seemed impractical to get the Plus.

I haven’t owned an iPhone in 5-6 years. I stuck with Android for a long time, switching from Motorola to Samsung to HTC — all phones I liked. Before buying the iPhone 6, I had an HTC One. It is a great phone. The Samsung Galaxy S III I owned before that was a great phone. I am pretty adaptable to iOS or Android.

I am not the person who doesn’t like Apple just because they want to say they are not an Apple conformist and makes it their mission to remind everyone that they are not one of the “sheeple.” I am not an iPhone elitist who thinks they are special for owning the latest Apple product — which is always expensive.

I wanted a change, so I bought an iPhone this time around. Truth be told, because I work mostly on Mac computers and tablets, practicality once again played a role in my decision. Everything just syncs seamlessly and as time progresses, the iCloud Drive will really come in handy.

I do have my issues with the iCloud Drive right now, though, since I cannot sync the iCloud Drive on my iPhone and iPad with my computer because the version of OS X needed to sync with iOS 8 mobile devices has not released yet. Apple is far from a perfect company and will likely never return to its previous glory under the leadership of Steve Jobs.

Now, the longer I read this list of reasons why the author was not buying an iPhone, the more I found his list reasonable.

He listed the problems with iOS 8.0.1, which seems a little silly because users buy the phone with iOS 8.0. Despite having some bugs with the HealthKit (which he mentions as a reason he is not buying the new iPhone), iOS 8 has not been problematic. Apple pulled iOS 8.0.1., will patch it, and will re-release it likely soon.

If people didn’t buy a smartphone for every little bug that is found in a new version of an operating system, the market would suffer.

But, then the author lists some sensible reasons for not buying the new iPhone, such as Android winning the market share battle, the broader choices with Android, the fact that his iPhone 4 works just fine and he will keep it until it dies, and because it really isn’t much of a leap from the iPhone 5s.

If someone has been an iPhone customer for a while, if there isn’t much difference between the last generation of the phone and the newest generation, then buying the new phone simply because it is new is not a practical use of money. Since I have not owned an iPhone in half a decade, I am not going to notice just how small the leap is nor do I care.

Then, I read one reason I respected for its honesty:

“I’m not buying an iPhone 6 because I kind of like feeling superior, standing on the outside and looking in at a party that I don’t really want to join anyway.”

Though many consumers will not admit this out loud, the author is not alone in this. Most consumers like to feel superior or special. Plenty of people don’t buy the iPhone because they want to say things like, “I’m not buying an iPhone 6 because I’m not one of the sheeple.” (Another reason on the list)

Essentially, some Android consumers are the goth kids from South Park. They are the epitome of nonconformism and if you don’t mold your consumer habits exactly like them, then you are just another Apple conformist, hypnotized by shiny products.

But again, Apple consumers can be the same way. I know people who have bought every new generation of iPhone as soon as it releases, which baffles me when the major wireless companies require customers to have a two-year plan and a new version of the iPhone comes out at least once a year.

So, some people spend a lot of money just so they can have the latest product from Apple. It makes them feel special.

One way or another, consumers like to feel superior. There is not necessarily anything wrong with this; it is just a fundamental truth about American consumers — about people in general. People either want to feel like they are ahead of the curve or above it all.

Why Everything Gotham Has Done So Far Is A Good Sign

There has only been one episode of Gotham, but already there are plenty of things the show is doing right and certain things creators of the show need to keep in mind as it progresses.

Gotham is dark, gritty, and everything a fan of the Batman franchise wants to see from a show that centers around James Gordon, Gotham City, and the vast corruption that festered in the city before the Zero Year. It also promises a new look at the origin stories for Commissioner Gordon and some of Gotham’s most notorious villains.

Some critics have questioned the longevity of a show based off the Batman franchise that does not actually have Batman in it. On the surface it seems like another cop drama — something the market has been severely diluted with — and the familiar story of a good cop trying to make it in a corrupt police department and city.

Well, that is the story of James Gordon. When he arrives in Gotham, the city is controlled by organized crime. There are very few cops who are actually on the level and Gordon makes a lot of enemies before he makes friends.

However, the creators of the show are also working with the creators of the comics — Geoff Johns in an executive producer on the show.

There are plenty of origin stories to work with along with Jim Gordon’s — Selina Kyle (who was the first to appear in the Pilot), Edward Nigma (The Riddler), the Penguin, Poison Ivy, Harvey Bullock’s transformation from being a cop who is just looking to survive in the Hobbesian state Gotham is in to being Gordon’s right-hand man, other villains that will emerge, and the early years of Bruce Wayne after his parents are murdered — which is not something that has been explored much.

There is a major villain that is not established in the comic book cannon — Fish Mooney (played by Jada Pinkett Smith). There is a gang war in Gotham coming. Gordon will still be investigating the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Creators of the show have indicated that they will incorporate the Joker at some point, but they are going to treat his character with care since he is the crown jewel of Gotham villains. The Joker is sacred and one misstep in telling some form of an origin story for him will be met with severe backlash from fans.

Gotham has plenty to work with to keep the showing going for at least a few season. That is, as long as Fox doesn’t cancel it, which I wouldn’t put it past the network to do given its history.

Everything that the creators of the show are setting up so far promise a good show with a long run, but the concern that the show could just turn into another cop drama about a good cop in a corrupt town is valid. It is up to creators to follow through with what they have already set up in the Pilot.

So far, the only character I am not entirely sold on is Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred must become Batman’s tie to humanity, the one person who keeps him from going full dark side and keeps him in check. People have pointed out that Alfred came off mean in the Pilot, but I think meanness should not be confused with sternness since now he has the responsibility of being a father figure to Bruce Wayne.

Also, Alfred is ex-British special forces. They haven’t gotten into that in the show, and they may or may not do so, but since this is a younger version of Alfred than fans are accustomed to, they have some room to work with. These are all origin stories that creators of the show can take some liberty with — although not too much.

I always apply the three episode rule to new shows. It doesn’t matter if I loved the Pilot because I want to know that there is consistency, so we will see how the creators of the show do. So far, however, Gotham has met my expectations and I look forward to seeing where they go with it.

Batman: Assault on Arkham — The Review

2014 has been a big year for DC Entertainment, specifically with its DC Universe Original Animated Movies. First, Justice League: War released, the follow up to Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and the first Justice League movie to take place in the New 52 universe. This was followed by Son of Batman, an animated movie based off the graphic novel, Batman and Son.

On August 12, DC will release Batman: Assault on Arkham, which is the first movie to be based off the universe created in the Batman: Arkham video games.

Of course, Batman: Assault on Arkham is available on VOD through Amazon, Apple, Google Play, and VUD. If one is too gripped by anticipation to wait for it to release on DVD or Blu-ray (as I was), they can purchase it digitally now.

Too often do people mistakenly assume that because it is an animated movie, it must be for kids. Batman: Assault on Arkham is not for kids. In fact, most of the recent animated movies released by DC are rated PG-13 for a reason.

The language is not for kids. The partial nudity and sexual innuendo is not for kids. Even the graphic nature of the violence is not for kids. These movies are targeted at a more mature audience and seldom do they disappoint.

Whether one buys the movie through VOD now or waits until it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, Batman: Assault on Arkham is a must see, especially for fans of the Batman: Arkham video games or the Batman franchise as a whole.

The movie stars the legendary voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, who is considered by many fans to be the true voice of the Caped Crusader. Unfortunately, Conroy was not joined by Mark Hamill, who is equally respected for his voice work as the Joker. Instead, the Joker is voiced by Troy Baker, who has done voice work for both DC and Marvel, and first replaced Mark Hamill in Batman: Arkham Origins.

Baker maintains the voice of the Joker that fans have come to know and love so well that it nearly sounds like Hamill’s Joker, but at the same time there are certain qualities to his performance that make the character his. If anyone is going to replace the great Mark Hamill, Baker certainly sounds like he is more than capable of filling his shoes.

Similarly, after voicing Batman for over two decades, it is reasonable to assume that Conroy may soon retire, leaving the cape and cowl to someone else. Jason O’Mara, who voiced Batman in Justice League: War and Son of Batman, and will star in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, is proving to be a worthy successor.

Batman: Assault on Arkham also stars CCH Pounder, who has been a go-to voice for Amanda Waller since the Justice League animated TV series that ran from 2001 to 2006, Neal McDonough (Justified, Captain America: The First Avenger) as Deadshot, Hayden Walch (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Teen Titans) as Harley Quinn, John DiMaggio (Futurama, Batman: Under The Red Hood) as King Shark, Jennifer Hale (Justice League, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) as Killer Frost, and well-known voice actor Nolan North as the Penguin.

In Batman: Assault on Arkham, Amanda Waller, who is in charge of Task Force X (more commonly known as the Suicide Squad), sends the team of imprisoned villains into Gotham to sneak into Arkham Asylum and retrieve top-secret information from the Riddler. The team is composed of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider, and Captain Boomerang.

As it is often the case with Waller, nothing is ever 100 percent what it seems. There are a handful of people in the DC Universe whose role as hero or villain is never completely clear. Waller is the Iron Lady of the DC Universe, a well-intentioned extremist who is often portrayed as working toward the greater good (in the end), but can incorporate villainous means to achieve this end. She isn’t past getting revenge through any means either.

While the Suicide Squad is breaking into Arkham, Batman is hunting down a bomb the Joker planted somewhere in the city, a bomb that could kill half of Gotham’s population. With Harley Quinn on the team, it is not long before Batman suspects that she may have alternative motives as well and heads to Arkham.

Much like the Arkham video games, this movie has a full lineup of Gotham villains and an assault on Arkham eventually escalates into a war at Arkham. Don’t get too attached to any of the Suicide Squad members, either, because not everyone makes it out alive. You never know who is going to get the axe next — especially when Waller holds their lives in her hands.

Watching Batman take on all members of the Suicide Squad at once is action-packed in and of itself, but when things really get out of hand, that’s when the fun begins. In the end, you may be surprised by who ends up fighting whom.

Sinestro #1: Give In To Fear

If there is one thing DC Comics does better than any other comic book publisher, it is how it has designed its villains. The villains of the DC Universe are often complex — certainly far from two-dimensional. The best villains are not your archetypical villains. The greatest example, no doubt, is the Joker — pure chaos; no desire for power, control, or riches.

The reason, I dare say, I have come to be a loyal DC reader and am solidly on its side in the never-ending DC vs. Marvel debate is because of its villains. The villains were the reason I became such a huge fan of the Batman franchise because while Batman is a great hero, his character is molded by his villains.

The one type of villain DC does better than anyone else is the anti-villain. It is the villain whose cause may actually be considered righteous if they were not held to the same standard as their hero counterpart. It is the antagonist who is not purely evil, villains highlighted in the last few months during the Forever Evil crossover series.

After relaunching its universe is 2011 with the New 52, DC Comics is not necessarily relaunching it again, but reshaping it. Essentially, whatever the DC Universe looks like after the Forever Evil series (and I am excited to read the final chapter of this story) it is not exactly going to be the DC Universe fans grew up with. Then again, the New 52 universe isn’t entirely that, either.

One character that has already played a notable role in the reshaping of the universe is one of DC’s best anti-villains: Sinestro.

During the events of Green Lantern #20, a brilliantly-written end to Geoff Johns’ run on the title, Thaal Sinestro uses the powers of Parallax to not only fight the First Lantern — one of the greatest threats ring-bearers have had to face — but to go into exile where he would then release its powers. Despite how horribly the Green Lantern movie reduced Parallax, it is one of DC’s greatest antagonistic forces.

The Green Lantern issue will be remembered for many reasons, but the scene that will likely stick out most in the minds of fans is one particular exchange between Hal Jordan and Sinestro before they part ways:

Hal Jordan: I can’t… I can’t just let you go.

Sinestro: Before I release Parallax, I will use his power to take me far from here. I will leave you forever. But, before I do… you were going to ask me a question. Long ago, when we were trapped on Ysmault and we both believed we’d die. But you never did.

Hal Jordan: Were we ever truly friends?

Sinestro: That’s the tragedy of all this, Jordan. Hal. We’ll always be friends.

The relationship between Jordan and Sinestro was never black and white, and neither was Sinestro’s role in the DC Universe. Sinestro returned in the Forever Evil crossover series when Batman attempts to use a Sinestro Corps ring to fight Power Ring. In many ways, Forever Evil separates the villains who are truly evil and those who truly believe their cause is righteous or are just not completely evil.

Sinestro #1 opens with Sinestro powerless and exiled in forgotten space. He is found by Lyssa Drak, a Sinestro Corps member and keeper of the Book of Parallax, a record of the Sinestro Corps, along with other secrets. Drak was one of Sinestro’s first recruits into the Sinestro Corps and, according to Sinestro, “the most insane.” In the past, Drak would have the Book of Parallax chained to her wrist by yellow energy (believed to be from Sinestro). However, the book was destroyed — sort of.

The same book that revealed to Sinestro that the Guardians planned to replace the Green Lantern Corps with what was called the “Third Army,” reveals that there is a growing force of anti-emotion spreading throughout the universe and Sinestro is needed to stop it. While Sinestro initially refuses to come out of exile, telling Drak to “let the universe beg the Green Lanterns for protection,” she reveals another secret that almost immediately changes his mind.

No spoilers here, but if issue one is any indication of what to expect from the title, it is going to be an excellent storyline to follow.

With new purpose guiding him, Sinestro will need the help of his corps, the corps he abandoned to live in exile and is now in the command of Arkillo, Sinestro’s second-in-command, who has no desire to relinquish his control over the yellow ring-bearers. The situation is complicated enough as it is, but there is one more twist at the end to get the title off to a great start.

Silicon Valley: The Smart New HBO Comedy No One is Talking About

Ok. To be fair. It is not that no one is talking about the show. If you Google “Silicon Valley,” you will see plenty of reviews, but it is not likely a show your friends are talking about on social media or will follow the conversation starter, “Did you catch the latest episode of ___” at school or work Monday morning. Silicon Valley is a well-written comedy that is forced to dwell in the monstrous shadow of Game of Thrones.

For those who have not watched the series premiere of Silicon Valley, log on to HBO Go and check it out. It is not going to be a comedy that will appeal to everyone, but it may be the perfect comedy for the millennial generation.

The show was created by Mike Judge, who brought us Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, Office Space, Idiocracy, and Extract. Fans of these shows and movies should give the show a chance at the very least because there is a good chance they will enjoy this show too. Unfortunately, this may be the latest smart comedy HBO cancels well before its time because it is not going to have violence and sex in it, and that is what the audience wants.

Seriously. Who doesn’t like Game of Thrones? I love the show. Several members of my family love the show. It seems everyone I am friends with on Facebook loves the show. It has everything the average TV audience wants. It is a dark, high-drama thrill ride with violence, sex, scandal, more violence, and even more sex. It’s got dragons, zombies, dark magic, and plenty of twists and betrayals. How can a show compete with that unless the show in question caters to the same audience?

Smart sitcoms simply don’t do well on the small screen. It doesn’t matter if it is network television, cable networks, or online video streaming services, shows like Silicon Valley will have a specific fan base, but will be cancelled because they don’t get the ratings the network wants them to get. Unless a sitcom follows the same formula as shows like Modern Family, it is not going to take off with the average TV audience.

It is a shame, too, because Silicon Valley seems like it is going to be a good satirical comedy. It is perfect for a generation that has as much of an entrepreneurial spirit as previous generations, but as the labor market has changed, so has the focus of how to make it big in America. Who are the icons of these aspiring young entrepreneurs? They are the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world. They are the young billionaires who dropped out of college, but made it rich in the tech industry by introducing the right idea at the right time.

Young people go to Silicon Valley thinking it is going to be their golden ticket to the chocolate factory. But, what do they encounter when they get there? It is a culture of, as Judge put it, “true believers in something, and I don’t know what it was.” The show depicts the environment as cult-like and an enemy of higher academia. Judge worked in Silicon Valley briefly, but was turned off by the prevailing culture and quit his job in less than 3 months.

Judge’s experience in Silicon Valley, however, gave him all the material he needed to create his new show. As I said before, if you like the work of Mike Judge, check out Silicon Valley. However, it certainly is not be a show that will appeal to everyone. People will either love it or will not get it.

New Captain America Movie Takes On Government Spying, Targeted Killings

The creators of the film intentionally raise a moral issue with modern U.S. foreign policy: We must take out our enemies before they take us out.

“The question is where do you stop?” Director Joe Russo asked. “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?”

The lingering question, which the movie addresses head-on, is how much freedom are we willing to give up to feel safe? And, at what point have we sacrificed everything America is supposed to stand for?

Read the full article here.

If the goal was to create a political thriller, which Marvel wanted, then there is arguably no issue that should cause more anxiety among the populous than infringements on civil liberties by the U.S. government. Captain America: The Winter Soldier highlights the modern U.S. foreign policy of taking its enemies out before its enemies take us out, which raises some obvious moral questions.

What if government officials decided that by taking out a million people, America could be safer? It doesn’t matter if the people in question are proven threats to national and global security or that they are American citizens who are guaranteed certain legal rights by the U.S. Constitution — rights that are supposed to promote a system where people are innocent until proven guilty. What if an enhanced computer system was in place that used a certain algorithm to not only determine potential threats, but then used unmanned aerial vehicles to take these targets without due process and with zero accountability?

The questions posed by Russo are also raised in the movie Swordfish, in which John Travolta’s character gives a similar hypothetical scenario to Hugh Jackman. John Travolta plays a counter-terrorist in a top secret government operation to thwart future threats to the United States through preemptive measures designed to spread fear so no one would even think of attacking the U.S.

Stanley (Jackman): How can you justify all this?

Gabriel (Travolta): You’re not looking at the big picture Stan. Here’s a scenario. You have the power to cure all the world’s diseases, but the price for this is that you must kill a single innocent child, could you kill that child Stanley?

Stanley: No.

Gabriel: You disappoint me; it’s the greatest good.

Stanley: Well how about 10 innocents?

Gabriel: Now you’re gettin’ it. How about a hundred? How about a THOUSAND? Not to save the world, but to preserve our way of life.

Stanley: No man has the right to make that decision; you’re no different from any other terrorist.

Gabriel: No, you’re wrong Stanley. Thousands die every day for no reason at all. Where’s your bleeding heart for them? You give your 20 dollars to Greenpeace every year thinking you’re changing the world? What countries will harbor terrorists when they realize the consequences of what I’ll do?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is not the first movie to highlight the moral concerns with using extreme preemptive tactics to maintain security, but it may bring the issue to the attention of a much larger audience.

Films are a form of entertainment, but they are also a form of art and communication. They are a different medium of expression and speech. When the media doesn’t talk about these issues, no one cares. So why can’t movies pick up the slack?

The problem is the common response will be: it is just a movie. The storyline was founded on the biggest civil liberties and foreign policy issues to arise in the last few years: government spying, data collection, targeted drone strikes, and kill lists, but most people will not look any deeper into the movie than they want to. People go to movies to be entertained — to escape reality.

Still, the parallels are there and the question people should take away from the film is, how much freedom are they willing to give up to feel safe? In a post 9/11 world we have seen numerous examples of the government sacrificing individual rights and liberties in the name of national security. Yet, the only question the mainstream media wants to ask is if people like Edward Snowden are heroes or traitors.

There is absolutely no way of knowing how far the government is willing to go if the American people are kept uninformed of its actions.