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America’s heroes

Comic-book hero Captain America makes his film debut this July. His big-screen appearance—and that of other superheroes—reveals the US’s new unease

By Nick Harkaway   179

The best defence: Captain America—played by Chris Evans in the new film—has been an icon for US soldiers since he first appeared in 1941

This year will be a festival of hero movies, and I’ll be watching every single one. And so should you, even if they’re not usually your kind of thing. Why? Because they’re more than primary-coloured stories for kids (though no doubt that is what the studio bosses are hoping to turn out). These movies are a struggle to understand what it means to be a hero—or just a good guy.

July will see the release of…

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