Ah, memories. Like the corners of my mind. Knitted together they form nostalgia - a warm blanket of contentment, shielding your mind from the harsh bleakness of the modern world.

But, are you sure that those rose-tinted spectacles are the correct prescription? Venture too far into the corners of your mind and your might find something you might not like...

Which brings me to Captain America.

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In 1991 this was a movie that I rented so many times that I'm surprised the video shop didn't let me keep the damn thing. To my fresh and uncynical 8 year old mind, this was quite possibly the most awesome production ever to have been committed to celluloid. A dark and complex tale of war, loss, betrayal and redemption. A film of depth and emotional honesty featuring world class acting and jaw-dropping action sequences.

My near obsessional fascination with the film led me to create my own Captain America shields out of cereal boxes (they were always disappointingly small) and to re-enact key moments with my school friends who, for some reason, had never even heard of the film.

Inevitably, in time I moved on to the next craze and Captain America was filed in the part of my brain marked "awesome". And that is where it would and should have stayed forever. I should have left it alone. And I would have done if it wasn't for that pesky meddling internet.

Having recently watched and enjoyed the new Iron Man film, my thoughts turned to all things Marvel. Everyone has their opinion on the best superhero movie. "Batman"... "No...no...Batman Begins" .... "What about Spider-man?"...

Pah, they were all wrong. Invariably I would offer my two cents. "Actually, the best superhero movie is Captain America". This would be met with blank stares and a change of conversation topic.

But I was right....I KNEW I was right. I would show them. So one fateful afternoon I ordered myself a copy of Captain America on DVD from a specialist website. Earlier searches on main DVD retail sites proved fruitless. Why in the name of heck wasn't this movie on DVD? Every other classic had been granted a release... Citizen Kane! The Godfather! Heck, even George Lucas had finally managed to regurgitate the Star Wars trilogy onto shiny digital disc, even if was accompanied by a sickly computer generated belch.

After a number of weeks (mail here in the UK is still delivered by horse and cart), the biggest disappointment in my life plopped through the letterbox.

Watching the movie was one of the most unpleasant experiences I have ever had. Gone was the masterpiece of my memory, replaced by a badly acted, poorly-written, pathetically directed excuse for a film with a higher cheese content than the entire Netherlands.

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What the hell was going on? Why were the special effects so offensively bad? Who had ripped out all of the drama and replaced it with arse-clenching schmaltz? Had someone created a reverse special edition of the movie, removing everything good? WHO HAD STOLEN MY MOVIE?!?!!

The credits rolled and what should have been a content sigh of satisfaction emerged from me as a weary sigh of deep disappointment.

Bereft of any kind of community support, I logged on to imdb to share my woes. Perusing the message board, I discovered that I was not alone. Amongst the standard flaming and bashing I found a pocket of individuals who were admitting that they loved the film as kids. Their tone was apologetic...confessional....like AA members admitting to their earlier relationships with whisky.

Just like me, they had revisited the film years later and had the warm cosy rug of nostalgia cruelly ripped from under them...and now, like me, found themselves standing bare-foot on the cold linoleum floor of reality.

But why had this happened? Had our collective tastes been so very bad as kids? Had we changed so much? Become so cynical?

Then I thought about Star Wars. They say that every red-blooded male does so roughly every six seconds.

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I can't overstate my love for Star Wars in all its forms. I am quite convinced that if the Star Wars franchise could take physical form, I would marry it and give it babies. Even if it looked like this:

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So I proposed an experiment to myself - I would watch the original Star Wars and try my damndest to pretend that I was watching it for the first time. To judge it on its own merits and to shed it of all sense of nostalgia. To see if it could evoke the feeling of extreme disappointment that had befallen me upon watching El Capitan Americano.

The result? I couldn't do it. As soon as that title crawl kicked in, I was in a galaxy far far away and wanted to clap my hands, dribble and rock back and forth with glee. It's a brilliant film. A complex tale of war, loss, betrayal and redemption. A film of depth and emotional honesty featuring world class acting and jaw-dropping action sequences.

I was about to give up on my quest to discover what was wrong between me and Captain America when I realised something. I had watched Star Wars as a kid. I had loved Star Wars as a kid. I had watched Captain America as a kid and loved it as a kid. But there was one crucial difference - I had never stopped watching Star Wars. It had always been part of my conscious mind.

I had grown up with it. In a sense, I still watched it in the same way because of this. There was no gap of 20 years in which my memory could play tricks on me. The continuity between my child and adult viewings of Star Wars was uninterrupted.

I had carried that sense of childish wonder with me...allowing me to view it without cynicism. I had gradually become aware of certain flaws - the odd shonky special effect, the occasional flat piece of dialogue...but I had forgiven these as soon as they were noticed. Additionally, I began to appreciate it on different levels. I appreciated the artistry behind it. The way it invokes archetypes from myth and legend. Nostalgia had combined with rationality to create something special.

Watching and loving Star Wars for all of its flaws...it's like knowing someone for years. Forgiving their foibles, finding yourself appreciating them in different ways - nostalgia providing the catalyst for this fluid transition.

With Captain America, it was like meeting someone you hadn't seen for 20 years. You notice that they look old. Hell...maybe they never looked that good. And you know what? They were probably a bit of an arsehole to begin with.

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