ED NOTE: if you haven't seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier or played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater... there will be spoilers... you have been warned.
written by Omar Castillon (@omar_castillon)
Now that the dust has settled with the hype and enthusiasm over Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I think we can spoil just a little bit for the sake of fiction. You may be thinking, “Why is this going to be spoiled?” Basically, I’m going to do the impossible and compare Captain America’s character in the recent iteration of the franchise with none other than Big Boss aka Naked Snake from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
The purpose of this clash of franchises is to point out the similarities as well as the differences in the situations both characters are involved in. From betrayal to patriotism, both characters have more in common despite the fact that they are from two extremely different cultures.
First let’s lay out the foundation for each character. Captain America, at least in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has the drive and passion to become a soldier for the United States during World War II. Sure he looks scrawny at first, but after good ol’ science comes into the picture, Steve Rogers becomes the super soldier known as Captain America. He has to pay his dues on the other hand playing more of a propaganda figure for the allies during the war. After he rescued numerous POW’s, including his buddy Bucky Barnes, he developed the super soldier persona of Captain America. He finds a purpose to fight for the government. He is driven to be all he can be (insert patriotic music here). After he suffers loss from both Bucky in the train raid and the rest of his crew when he was nose diving Hydra’s secret weapon at the end of the first film, he goes through that whole frozen in time dilemma. He is unsure of what he is fighting for at first in The Avengers. Of course he and the rest of the crew do save New York City in the film from aliens, but that’s not the point. The point is that he starts to question his beliefs on what he is really fighting for. He didn’t have this problem in WWII but I guess that’s what several decades of being frozen in the middle of nowhere do to a person.
As for Jack aka Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, his back story is a little more complicated. His military history was during The Korean War. He served with The Boss or The Joy rather; she was Snake’s mentor in CQC (Close Quarters Combat) and there was a deep connection between the two tools of war. For the sake of staying on topic, I’m only going to focus on MGS 3 because it is just way too much to cover in terms of the complicated relationships Snake has had throughout his entire life time. In MGS 3, Snake is sent to rescue Sokolov who is a scientist that is being held against his will in order to create weapons for the soviets in 1964. Snake soon discovers during his Virtuous Mission The Boss’ betrayal and that causes a whole chain of emotional hardship for Snake. He would wonder why The Boss would defect and basically question her loyalty to her country and even his own loyalty to the United States since they are the ones who want Snake to assassinate The Boss in order to maintain a shady but neutral relationship with the Soviet Union at the time.
Now that the foundation is set, let’s start to compare C.A.T.W.S. with MGS 3 in terms of both protagonists feeling a sense of betrayal and all of that fun stuff that makes a good story memorable. The betrayal aspect for Captain America in the newest iteration of the MCU series is more of an in-house shocker.
When Captain America finds out that the senior leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. is working with Hydra the entire time, of course that would make super patriot Captain America question his loyalty to the United States government or rather S.H.I.E.L.D. in the decisions that were being executed. As most of us who have seen the film realize whenever Nick Fury “dies” everyone blames Captain America for his sudden assassination. He becomes a fugitive and goes on a crusade to find the truth behind why he was being double crossed by the people that he trusted most. Layer on the whole Winter Soldier aspect being Bucky Barnes working in favor of Hydra’s agenda and Captain America is just stomped by the idea of why this sort of thing would happen to him.
This sort of storyline can parallel with what happens to Snake in MGS 3 since he also feels that sense of betrayal and confusion as Captain America does in the film. Snake is dead set on finishing his mission the first time, but again, once The Boss betrays her country and works with the Soviet Union, Snake questions her loyalty as well as his own. It wasn’t until the very end of the story that The Boss confesses that she was loyal to her country in the end and was just a tool of the U.S. Government to patch things up with the Soviet Union after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Snake is praised in the end for his efforts but in his mind he still has a sense of shame when he is given the title of Big Boss. Funny how a mission like the one Snake went through in MGS 3 led to everything that transpired in the MGS universe at first in his favor and then becoming the villain we know from the first Metal Gear game on the MSX.
Both characters are tools of war as well. With Captain America, he wanted to be a tool of war to help win WWII of course. What he didn’t expect is the government intervening and telling him what to do after he was created to become a super soldier. Like most patriotic citizens, anything they are told to do will be accomplished without question. It wasn’t until Captain America came back to modern society that he realized how skeptical he felt about being part of the government. Same goes for Snake when he is ordered to assassinate The Boss for her supposed betrayal to the U.S. Government. That’s not to say that Snake was not a part of the generation of patriots fighting for what was right. Then again once Snake felt he was just a tool of war for shady operations, it really pisses him off. The Patriots were in a way an answer to Snake detaching from being in control of the U.S. Government. But that opens up a whole can of worms with Snake’s involvement with The Patriots and Major Zero competing with Snake to try and find out what The Boss’ will was after she died during the Snake Eater operation.
And there I go on a tangent once again nerding out over two of my favorite characters in fiction. I can’t believe Snake and Captain America would ever really be mentioned in the same context for certain things. Then again that’s what happens when you enjoy a film like the new Captain America movie and just bring in aspects of other stories that come from different franchises. I know there is a whole storyline with The Winter Soldier in the comics but to be honest, I have yet to read that series. Flame shield is up now just in case there is any backlash. Same goes for the entire Metal Gear series. That series is so tangled up in conspiracies and adventure that I can still have fun with it. If you haven’t seen the new Captain America film, GO SEE IT! You will have fun, you will have a couple of nerdgasms and you will appreciate the storyline. And if you haven’t played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, DO THAT TOO! Anyways, that’s all I have to nerd out about for now. It’s time to go back to the insane world of broadcast television where the hours are long and the fun never stops.