According to the directors of the new Captain America sequel, the action film takes on Barack Obama and his terrorist kill list. In an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Joe Russo explained that he (and brother Anthony) wanted to make a "political thriller" and added, "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."
Mother Jones writer Asawin Suebsaeng explained, "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." Joe Russo added, "It was all leading up to Snowden...It was all in the ether [already], it was all part of the zeitgeist."
The Mother Jones article concluded:
But at the heart of the explosion and melee -filled film are the political themes, including targeted killing. "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?"
Obama's "kill list" drew chiding and worrying from the New York Times on May 29, 2012:
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
In the Washington Times's review of the new Captain America, Peter Suderman asserted, "...There’s a not-so-subtle political undercurrent, as the story essentially pits Captain America against a radically amped-up version of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance efforts."
According to the Washington Post:
For a script that presumably has been in development for more than a few years, “The Winter Soldier” uncannily taps into anxieties having to do not only with post-9/11 arguments about security and freedom, but also Obama-era drone strikes and Snowden-era privacy. Indeed, there are moments that, in their taut writing and ingenious staging, recall the icy-hot paranoid thrillers that Redford himself made back in the 1970s.
Will liberals in the media, who reflexively defend Obama, appreciate a movie that attacks him. Even if it could be seen as an assault from the left?