“Is Captain America, as some have suggested, a symbol of American proto-fascism or a Tea Party hero before the fact?,” asks New York‘s Andrew O’Hehir. “One answer to that question is to say that it’s a stupid question to ask about a comic-book hero and another, given the overall left-libertarian leanings of the Marvel universe, is to say no.

“I’m not sure either answer is adequate in the long run, but this origin story effectively ducks the question, by pointing out that Captain America was a weapon created in a moment of global emergency. He’s unquestionably an argument for American exceptionalism, in that he seems cooler, more humble, more self-sacrificing and just flat-out nicer than those who sought to enslave the world. That’s an important aspect of our national mythology, and Captain America is a nostalgic tribute to the time when it still felt true.”

Could a perception that Captain America is a veiled rightwing movie on some level be an unacknowledged, underlying reason why some critics are pissing on it? If this is a factor then I can only emphasize my agreement with O’Hehir and repeat what I said yesterday, which is that it “dream[s] a little dream about what it was to be a true believer during World War II, and to be a kind of goody two-shoes type of guy who wants to serve and salute and defeat the bullies. It’s not in the least bit ‘realistic,’ of course, but it’s a highly sincere and convincing visitation of an imaginary yesteryear.”

Shame on the enemies of this film. It’s simply too well made and too finely honed and harmonized to dismiss as “just another superhero movie.”