Humanity and Iconicity in the Captain America Trilogy

The following is a piece I wrote for Audiences Everywhere as part of a feature they ran in March. The third month of this year is trilogy month for AE, with various interesting pieces being written about different three-film sagas and thematic trilogies, from the original Star Wars series to John Carpenter’s apocalypse trilogy. Here’s mine, articulating some thoughts I’ve had about Steve Roger’s relationship with his own symbolism across the three Captain America movies.


Iconicity is the relationship of similarity between the two sides of a symbol—its form and its meaning. The closer the form and meaning are to one another, the more memorable the symbol is likely to be. An iconic symbol is one whose form resembles its meaning in some way; the opposite of this iconicity is arbitrariness.

The red and white stripes, star, and ‘A’ of Captain America’s costume is pretty clear as to what it represents, but the man is less clear. Part of the difficulty of communication and judgement through language is the physical world’s resistance to being reduced to the same rules. The costume can be evaluated by this standard, but with a man wearing it, humanity will often fail to settle between the lines that are drawn in linguistics. Continue reading →

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The State of Comic Book Movie Continuity

There’s been much of talk of “superhero fatigue” recently. As far as I see it, the superhero film is the popular idea of the moment, and while some people are bored of it, most seem to be okay with it. Either way, it’s undeniable that we see more superheroes on the big screen with every passing year. The success of Marvel Studios’ Cinematic Universe has boosted the confidence studios have in their properties, and we’re getting films based on comic books that didn’t even sell that well in the first place. But as these franchises live on past their sequels, prequels, spin-offs, and shared-universe outings, they are finding themselves in uncharted waters. When it comes to what’s canonical to the ongoing narrative and how both the creators and the audience think of continuity film-to-film, we’re through the looking glass. There’s really only one medium that is comparable, and that is, unsurprisingly, the comic book.

Continue reading →