There are many who have been critical of the recent trend of superhero movies in Hollywood, but we don't think anybody has been quite so critical as the director of Die Hard. John McTiernan was responsible for some the greatest action movies of the 80s and 90s, however, he has little good to say about their modern successors. Among other things, the director blames Captain America for contributing to a hyper-masculine culture which does no good for the country.
In many ways, John McTiernan is responsible for the modern action movie. As the man behind Die Hard, he, likely inadvertently, launched an entire genre of "everyman as superhero" films. It's apparently this aspect of seeing everyday people as heroes that the director has an issue with. Superheroes are not everyday people, so there's little value for viewers to take from them. He tell's France's Premiere (translated by The Playlist) that Captain America is the worst offender of the bunch.
These are films made by fascists. Comic book heroes are for businesses. Captain America...The cult of American hyper-masculinity is one of the worst things that has happened in the world during the last fifty years. Hundreds of thousands of people died because of this stupid illusion. So how is it possible to watch a movie called Captain America?
While the translation of the interview is a little rough, and so some details might be lost, it sounds like John McTiernan, has seen some of the first couple of Captain America movies, but it doesn't appear he's seen any of the films in their entirety. It's understandable that the director could have this reaction. We live in a much more global culture than we did back in the golden age of comic books. The name Captain America -- a character who, via a special serum, has all of his traditional masculine traits, size, strength, etc. increased -- certainly may not fit with the modern world we live in.
Having said all that, the point of the character is that Steve Rogers was just as brave and selfless as a 90-pound weakling as he was after the experiment. He earns his power as a reward because he was just as a big a hero when he was an everyman. In addition, after World War II, the character evolves. His name may still be Captain America, but he's not a hyper-masculine force trying to impose his will on the rest of the world. Rather, he tries to embody the greatest of America's qualities and help people. He doesn't really recognize borders when he does it.
It's true that movie heroes are no longer the everyday people that they once were, but such is the evolution of storytelling and cinema. These days, even John McClane is something of a superhero, though I hope we can all agree that's a bad idea. What do you think of John McTiernan's comments? Let us know.