Friday, December 31, 2021

Die Hard/The Destroyer - Film

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Everyone loves Christmas. It is a time to be with family, appreciate friends, buy gifts for loved ones and, of course, watch one of the most important Christmas films of all time, Die Hard. Most people have missed some important features in this beloved holiday classic, and because I'm as high as funk on The Christmas Spirit it is the perfect moment to tell you these things, for the benefit of future generations.


"The Christmas Spirit" costs $150  an ounce, by the way.

Sure, there are other Christmas films to watch. Elf. Miracle on 34th Street. White Christmas. Black Christmas. Argyle Christmas (it's the Irish version of Black Christmas except the villain is a Red Cap), Scrooged. It's a Wonderful Life. So why is Die Hard also a Christmas film? Simple. It takes place near Christmas. The Nakotomi Plaza is having a Christmas party. When that one evil hacker finally opens the Nakotomi Plaza safe, Christmas music plays and he even says, "Merry Christmas." Bruce Willis, as McClane, defeats Snape with holiday wrapping paper. They even play that Christmas song by Run D.M.C.


Moving right along, Die Hard has some pretty amazing symbolism going on within the film, a hidden reference most don't know enough to appreciate, and a message for American feminists that isn't very nice at all. What am I talking about? Let's keep reading...but first, if you haven't watched Die Hard yet, please understand I am going to spoil the frack out of this movie. I'm also not even going to reiterate the plot, because that's boring for my average reader, who usually has above average intelligence and has seen this movie along with the other films and television shows I'm going to reference.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE VIETNAM WAR

I grew up surrounded by people who had been in the military during The Vietnam War. You are never going to understand how it fucked them up completely. Before 'Nam you could believe in the government. You could believe in corporations. You could believe in the CIA (ha ha ha just kidding after JFK nobody believed in the CIA).

What happened in Vietnam changed all that. People were angry. They had seen friends die. They had followed orders...and died. They had believed in the draft...and lost friends, family or died. You can see this absolute hatred for the power responsible for the loss of life during the Vietnam Conflict in the decades of film and television that followed. Not merely the government, but a combination of government and corporate forces called corporatism, which is just fascism with corporations in charge of the government. Just ask Nazi Germany.


Magnum P.I.

Most of the main characters of Magnum P.I. were in 'Nam. Magnum took on wealthy elite government influencers all the time. The Equalizer was about a man that avenged people who had been wronged by more powerful entities that were above the law like the government, corporations or organized crime. The A-Team fought these people all the time. Knight Rider did the same thing. So did Spencer for Hire. And Charlie's Angels. Just about every James Bond movie deals with this problem.


The Equalizer

Wherever an evil government official, evil foreign government (like the USSR), or corrupt businessman existed, some uniquely good person or group steps up to expose the wrong doers and punish the guilty...and the guilty usually weren't small time hoods robbing banks...they were banks, the military industrial complex, or just greedy, soulless murderers in business suits, making money from death, immune to prosecution because they were wealthy elite with government connections.

The bad guys in Die Hard are basically evil European businessmen with military training and hardware who are stealing a lot of money from a corporation. That's it. Sure, one of the FBI agents was in 'Nam, but you really don't have the same references as another famous American action movie. Snape and company are just pretending to be terrorists. They do, however, represent the greedy corporatists blue collar Americans hated for funding wars, influencing the government, and destroying their economy. They even sound like Nazis, or the same evil Swiss bankers that laundered their money.


Because yet another Lethal Weapon movie is being released, 
I guess he wasn't getting too old from this sh*t.

LETHAL WEAPON PARALLELS

Die Hard and Lethal Weapon have much in common. It's quite a list. Both films feature a black man and a white man working together to defeat the enemy while forming a friendship. Both films feature scenes with helicopters threatening the main character. The villains in both films are professional business types. They wear suits and obviously have military training. Each film has cops taking on well-connected elites. A car gets shot up by semiautomatic rifles in each film. Protagonists are stripped bare and tortured. One of the bank robbers in Die Hard even plays a torturer in Lethal Weapon.


If this man is in the film you are about to watch, 
you are about to watch an awesome film, my friend. 

There's an explosion at the end of each film. They both take place around Christmas. Both films feature two men fighting each other in unarmed combat, and in both films the bad guys are even blonde. It's as if somebody watched one movie, kept a checklist, and then threw the elements into the next film. However, Lethal Weapon has the unmitigated balls to mention Project Phoenix. Die Hard, however, doesn't reference The Vietnam War in such a direct way, although at one point an FBI agent mentions participating in the conflict. 

Project Phoenix was pretty fucked up. Basically, rogue elements of the CIA started to sell heroin in the USA by shipping bags of the stuff back overseas in the bodies of dead G.I.'s. This really happened and was pretty damn controversial. Even Marvel's comic book series, The 'Nam, ended up discussing the dark deed. Lethal Weapon wasn't the only film to do this.


The 'Nam

ABOVE THE LAW

Although it can be fairly said that his later films are unrealistic, pretentious and predictable, Above The Law is yet another example of a movie that is the shadow of 'Nam. In this movie Steven Seagal, as the main character, is a former CIA operative (or maybe asset, but definitely not an analyst like Jack Ryan used to be) who ends up quitting when he discovers Project Phoenix. Later on he also uncovers a plot by the CIA to kill a Senator who is messing up their business.

Like I said, a lot of films in the 70's and 80's were made by very angry people for people who were still very angry at their government, corporations and others for what happened in The Vietnam War. At the end Seagal basically beats up the CIA, corrupt government officials and criminal types...and he's basically taking revenge on corporatists and the military industrial complex...two major players responsible for the horrific tragedy that was 'Nam.

BLUE COLLAR AMERICA VS. THE FOURTH REICH

You see, what many don't know is that after World War II the Nazi elements of the Third Reich kept going. They had gold. They had connections. While many did end up dead or in jail, films and books featuring this surviving Nazi ideology and power structure still being a threat to us all were at one point very popular in American culture. 

Sure, Hitler ended up dead in ditch as a burning corpse (good, fuck 'em) but people like Hans Kammler (the Nazi that designed and oversaw the construction of concentration camps, as well as being in charge of their entire fleet of submarines) ended up with a lot of money, as did many other Nazis, and they invested in banks, corporations and pharmaceutical cartels in order to survive in the dark, long enough to take over with banking money, psychological propaganda and big business instead of military might. Politicians, journalists and military experts referred to this cabal as, "The Fourth Reich."

Of course, the Lethal Weapon bad guys are evil CIA selling heroin to poor American people, a conspiracy theory proposed by many whistleblowers and journalists. The Die Hard bad guys are bank robbers disguised as terrorists who are willing to do mass murder to make money. Regardless, they are surrogates for the very real, fourth Reich Nazis American's feared throughout the 70's, referenced in films such as The Parallax View, Three Days of the Condor, The Boys from Brazil and Marathon Man.

In Die Hard the good guy is a working class man, a police officer, taking on professionals in business suits whose power allows them to operate above the law. Their accents resemble the same Fourth Reich operatives in Marathon Man. The symbolism was there for a reason. It's always fun killing Nazis, neonazis, or the coldhearted bankers that foreclosed on your home right before Christmas.

WIFE ARGUMENT

As a happily married man that supports his wife moving up in the professional corporate business world, it is somewhat alarming to me that McClane starts out the movie upset at his wife for moving across the country to take a job at Nakatomi Plaza. She has the kids, too, and he doesn't like that they are all separated because of her ambition. They even argue about it, to the point of shouting, right before the robbers take over the building.

As an unprofessional family therapist with zero relevant education and no experience whatsoever, my humble observation is the McClane should chill out. His wife took the kids to the west coast. They live in a nice house. They even have a maid. Her job is in Los Angeles. That's where she has to be...there are really no other options. He's a New York City detective. He could easily move out to L.A. He could easily join LAPD. In fact, they'd be amazed to have him. Asking her to grab the kids and move back to New York City is selfish.

A character so important to the franchise she's gone by Die Hard III.

He should be relocating to join the family...after all, the money she will make as a business executive in a firm that has so much money they warrant technologically elite paramilitary bank robbers kicking in their door tells you she has a future, not him. What if he gets shot? How much does an NYC detective make, compared to what she's going to make? She can't move back to NYC. His argument makes no sense because his wife is right. The tragedy of this film is that he never admits that to himself, so no lesson is learned.

SHIVA

The art inside the Nakatomi Plaza are rather odd. The business is basically a Japanese zaibatsu. Why do they have Chinese and Hindu decorations? You'd expect katanas and samurai armor. Instead it's a conglomeration of Han era weaponry, various pieces of art from Asia, and a statue. A very, very important statue. So important in fact, that at one point it dominates the screen entirely.


In the scene McClane knows the Nakatomi plaza has been taken over by bad guys and is making his way through the place, scanning his surroundings. As the head bad guy, played by Alan Rickman, taunts him over the radio. When Rickman asks, "Who are you?" the camera drifts to a statue of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Not a coincidence. In fact, the statue appears at the precise middle of the film, 55 minutes and 15-20 seconds in, and it's the only thing you see, because McClane is completely out of the scene. It's just Shiva, the Destroyer, staring at you.


Study up on film, cinematography, symbolism and all that art. Directors don't just film things by accident and leave it all in randomly. Even on a subconscious level your mind sees everything, so good directors do their best to eliminate any imagery antithetical to their story. McClane doesn't answer, but the statue does. It's the answer to the audience. By the end of the film, we all know what happens to McClane's enemies, everything in the building and parking lot. Again, McClane doesn't answer Snape's question. The camera does.

THE DESTROYER

Have you ever watched the news and wanted a team of martial artists with near superpower levels of ability to step into the situation and just murder all the bad guys that deserve it, even though they are above the law like the big tech companies, multimedia conglomerates, and evil corporatist masters of the world you live in? Yeah, so did Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir so they created a book series about a Korean martial arts master assassin and his American student doing that. In The Destroyer, every episode was basically the annihilation of a sacred cow/societal evil by the two as they cracked jokes about doing so, leaving gallons of blood on the ground as they did.

Don't worry, they killed enough Nazis and neonazis to fill a cemetery.

The basic premise was that every novel, I mean, uh, paperback book, was an ultraviolent fantasy where Chiun (which is Hebrew, by the way, for Saturn/star/idol/king), a Korean master of Sinanju, the ultimate martial art, and his American trainee, Remo Williams, teamed up to destroy the Mafia, corrupt politicians, fascists, corporatists, terrorists and anyone else that had to get horrifically murdered for CURE, a super secret United States organization set up by JFK (before he died) to eliminate threats to the country that could not be dealt with by the usual legal, political or military means, or as Chiun sort of summarizes, "CURE is an organization that does not exist created by a President who is dead to protect a Bill of Rights and Constitution that does not work. All hail the wisdom of the west!"

While the upside was that every book dealt with a problem that really was something worth destroying, from terrorists to neonazis to insane genocidal scientists, the downside is that every episode of The Destroyer was really, really racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ethnocentric, problematic, patriarchal and even possibly funkadelic. The books were written in the late 70's and 80's, after the violent political demonstrations of the 60's, the government corruption, The Vietnam Conflict and everything else, so they reflected the popular opinions of the time. Unfortunately.

Remo Williams was a white cop from New York City, so he basically acted and sounded like a blue collar working class man who kind of didn't give a fuck about corrupt politicians, businessmen, sensitive people, feminists or anyone else. Of course, at one point Remo is so dedicated to being an assassin for Sinanju that he kind of doesn't care that he's even American. Being completely outside of the social structure of anyone he deals with, from comedians to actors to military personnel to cultists to congressmen, means he says what he wants to whoever he wants, making him the ultimate stand up comic as he delivers one liners that summed up his jaded, cynical, lower/middle class American mindset.

So while Remo occasionally tells feminists and minorities to go to Hell, it's Chiun who is really so problematic you will probably never see The Destroyer series on film or television. To him all people on Earth are useless subhumans except for Koreans, and even then only Koreans from his home village, Sinanju, are worth anything to him. Women are best reserved for staying home and having babies, preferably boys. He's basically Archie Bunker mixed with Pai Mei from Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2. He only trains Remo Willliams (who he occasionally refers to as, "A pale piece of pig's ear") because of his ego...if Chiun can train the dumbest, most uncoordinated animal on Earth (a white American man) to be a master of Sinanju, it will make Chiun the greatest Sinanju master ever since he turned a lump of dung into a diamond.

Like Remo, McClane is a cop from New York City. They are both blue collar white guys. Here is something interesting, though. Every once in a while Remo ends up in really deep mortal danger, so he goes into beast mode. He basically gets possessed by Shiva, the Hindu god of Destruction. There's even a speech he gives where Remo announces he's Shiva and proceeds to act and speak like the deity while he murders everyone around him that has it coming with even more horsepower and precision. Whether or not the statue I mentioned earlier in the Nakatomi is a reference to The Destroyer, it is obviously a reference to the absolute destruction McClane is about to unleash.

It's worth noting that later on in the series, the attitude Chiun has for Remo changes. He eventually decides Remo is like a son to him. Remo starts to call Chiun, "Little Grandfather." The two start out not liking each other. By the end they are family.

AVATARS

In Hinduism and Shinto an avatar is simply a human that is also a reservoir for Something Else, whether it is Shiva, Vishnu, Kali, Ameratsu, or otherwise. This can even be the spirit of an ancestor. This happens in horror films, when a person is possessed by a demon. Shinto calls these beings "akitsumikami," or, "incarnation of a god."

Avatars of gods happen all the time in the religions of the far east. Shiva has plenty, from Kereet, an archer that tested the bravery of Arjuna, to Krishna Darshan, an avatar the stressed the importance of yoga to humanity. Vishnu has several as well, from Krishna (some modern Hindus believe Jesus Christ was just an avatar of Krishna) to Narasimha, a half man, half tiger warrior who destroys those who persecute religion to Buddha, a religious icon one can find in Thailand, China and Japan.

Americans can understand avatars, though. The best superheroes seem to be them. Captain America is an avatar of the country. Spider-Man seems to be an avatar of spiders. Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman. Comic book villains are great when they are avatars, like Electro, who is the avatar of electricity. In Christianity, the antichrist is basically an avatar of Satan. Some of the most famous, influential people from history seem to embody a cause, nation or the times they lived in, which is why we love seeing films about them, from Nikolas Tesla to Malcom X.

I ditched high school to see this film on opening day,
 just like Spike Lee told me to.

That's not to say John McClane literally becomes Shiva, the Destroyer, when he looks at the statue. Nobody in the film says this, so it didn't happen. What's more important is that the director introduced the concept of Shiva, so this includes concepts such as spiritual possession and incarnation. Whether it's actually happening is meaningless, the symbolism tells our brains all we need to know.

NAKATOMI

Poor Joseph Takagi gets shot early on in the film. He's like a human sacrifice that gets the brawl rolling. His name means, "tall tree." Joseph, in Christianity, is the father of the avatar of God. The name Nakatomi is more interesting. In Japanese history the Nakatomi clan is synonymous with Shinto, since the family includes a lot of famous priests in their history and have close relations with the divine Emperor. There's also a lot of samurais. So Nakatomi isn't just a name, it's carefully selected to get us to think of spiritual combat, sohei (warrior monks), possession, avatars and destruction. Considering what the occult says about possession, it's easy to consider that part of the reason McClane does so well against his adversaries is because the spirit of the Nakatomi clan is with him.

PROBLEMATIC ANTIFEMINIST TRUTHS

While Die Hard is a film about one man taking on an army of elite, better educated, better equipped, better prepared and better dressed European bureaucrats, it's also a film about a man arguing with his wife about how she moved to the west coast with the kids and left him because she got a job at Nakatomi Plaza. They argue about this, and then they stop. There is no verbal resolution to this disagreement.

It would have been nice if McClane had just decided to swallow his pride and follow his wife. She's the primary breadwinner, so enjoy the toast, pal. He's a hero to LAPD, he already has a best friend on the force, he's famous, moving west would be the best. But nooo...there is no conversation that solves the issue. He doesn't concede to her point. There is zero compromise. Even if the hero of the film isn't right, by the end he is because of total destructive force, not logic.


"You know what honey, you're right! Go ahead and keep your job."

A HAPPY CONCLUSION OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION

When you summon a god of destruction like Shiva, you get results. By the end of the film it isn't just the bank robbers that are destroyed. Everything is destroyed. A helicopter. A police car. An armored vehicle. The Nakatomi Plaza. The parking lot. Their money and stocks. Many members of the LAPD and the FBI. Their CEO. Many cops. McClane's wife's job (Where is she going to work now? Her boss is dead, the corporation is annihilated, even their stocks and lost...and who in the business world would want to hire a person involved in such a controversial tragedy?). He didn't just win the argument, McClane (that is, The Destroyer) took out the very fundamental reason for the argument. He destroyed everything. The final shot of the film reinforces this fact.

May as well move back to New York City, New York, right?

The end.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Pyncher's New Single is a Hit - Music


PYNCHER!

If you peruse this website carefully, you'll notice that I have interviewed at least more than five very successful musicians/bands that have created timeless music, like Digitalism, Imagine Dragons, Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony, Mac Miller, Steve Aoki and others. So it has been said by wise elders in the industry that this writer understands what good music is. That's probably why, according to this website, I'm rich!


This website lies so bad that not only does it lack an ass, it's pants are very much on fire.

With this on the brain we ponder, why listen to Pyncher? Who are they? What do they want? How do they sound? Should we fear them? I was terrified of what would happen, if my ears didn't experience Pyncher. You just can't sit around in your house, all alone, listening to bands like The Misfits, Agent Orange, The Cramps, Black Flag, Dead Kennedy's, Sonic Youth, and Black Market Baby. It's demoralizing.


Pyncher, keeping it real.

One must experience either new music, or inevitable entropy. That's the truth. I knew a guy once that just listened to old Soundgarden albums until he morphed into a stained, slightly damaged Styrofoam litter bucket full of dented cans of Coors Lite beer. It was disconcerting. Personal evolution means answering your email to hear more mighty musical majesty, at least for me. New music helps us transcend old consciousness.


Pyncher rocks.

"Dirty Feet," a brand new single by Pyncher that they will release this Friday, reminds me of The Beatles. Woah! Calm down! What I mean is that the reason we keep listening to that band is because they had figured out a killer formula: each song The Beatles made is actually three songs. That was their secret. Pyncher utilizes that same power in their new, ferocious single that is an audio odyssey worthy of the ears of Oddyseus.

Like a fine film with three acts, "Dirty Feet" goes beyond the usual formula to tell a story. The song starts fast with a howl that could make Alan Ginsberg happy, introduces background feedback throbbing with sonic power, electrifies with drippy, surf-worthy guitar licks that would make Dick Dale cry, and suddenly stops to cruise across semi-familiar landscapes of fast audio adventure, only to transform again, evolving into a final crescendo worth 4 mintues and 23 seconds of your good time.


Pyncher is a solid rock band from Manchester in the United Kingdom, where Britain comes from. I had the honor of getting some words from the band about their new tour de force single. "I write the main foundation of each song," says Sam, who plays guitar and supplies vocals. "Harvey plays lead guitar, Jack plays drums, and Britt bass." Time and work went into this creation. "I wrote the riff in July and it sat there over the summer. Everything else I did just before we had a rehearsal."

"Then as we do with most of our songs, Harvey, Britt and Jack added their bits. I had the vocals done for the verse but the chorus was a matter of trying new things in rehearsal until I got what I wanted." This craftsmanship shows. Epic songs have layers hiding dimensions. "I started the lyrics with a story in mind, but I don't know what's happened to that. There's a story somewhere in the song. I'm not too sure about the meaning."


Music is personal, even for the listener. It's OK to hear a song and decide it's meaning is different for you than it is for others. Sam knows. "I like to write with ambiguity as I intend on people all having different ideas of what they could mean. More often than not, the music comes first and then I'll take lots of listens to the demo or recording before the lyrics are there."


"Dirty Feet" will please fans of Pyncher that have been looking forward to a new single which has everything we enjoy about the music they play. It's hard to earn the mad skills necessary to be damn good. Harder still to combine so much genius properly into one audio creation that features them all. "A couple of our songs are written around some lyrics I've got and that's always a bit harder for me, but fun." Sounds awesome to all of us. Play it again, Sam.

You can check out more of Pyncher's majestic music right here: https://soundcloud.com/user-952207358

"Dirty Feet" will not be released to the general pubic until Friday. The presave link is right here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/pyncher/dirty-feet

Follow Pyncher on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pyncherband/

Monday, November 8, 2021

Tigers & Flies - Music

With millions of megabytes of music available online to everyone, forever, how do you pick a good band without wasting valuable keystrokes? Look up Violette Records, where musicians like Tigers & Flies are making music with heart, soul and originality. 

The band known as Tigers & Flies are Arthur Arnold, on guitars and vocals, Eddie Wigin doing bass guitar and vocals, Arvin Johnson performing drums and backing vocals, Matteo Fernandes playing trumpet and flugel, plus Risha Alimchandani on trombone and Harry Badger handling the saxophone. Together they are a band searching for something fresh in pop music, using their personal musical individuality to do it.


Photography by Ellie Rankin.

"Among Everything Else," their latest sensational creation, has been compared to everything from the Gang of Four, XTC, The Velvet Underground and Factory. The fact is definitions can fail since every play of this album offers more to the listener's ear than what has been heard before. Although the work won't be released on vinyl and digital formats until November 12, some fortunate individuals have had access to the album, thanks to Violette Records. How to describe it?

After playing this album at full blast on my Creative iRoar (cheap plug) many times all I can tell you is miracles can happen, you just have to believe in checking your email and listening to new musicians. Trust your ears and instincts. Modern music can be boring. Too much repetition. Not enough innovation. "Among Everything Else," is modern originality, not boring mediocrity. 


Without giving away all of the surprises, Tigers & Flies created something worth saving in a jar for a few million years, to play later for future generations and possible extraterrestrials. Ten songs telling a tale, so what's the story? The first song, "Night Time Mood," summons a sensation similar to Richard Hell and the 1970's post-punk band Television, blending delicious organic string acoustics with a rough bass guitars and fun progressive drumbeats.

After that fast takeoff "Among Everything Else" soars, entertaining you with "Ben," a nice song featuring haunting vocals, evocative guitar licks and an overall beat reminding one of early Paul McCartney or modern popular indy rock, thanks to it's timeless composition. Maybe I've been listening to too much music and taking it personally. Perhaps, but "Ben" is telling a story about growing up and falling in love with somebody. It could be you. Maybe it's both of us.


There are more songs worth listening to as much as typing about, so I'll finish it off by thanking the band for, among other features, wisely using the saxophone and trumpets to maximum effect. From late 70's era Gerry Rafferty's legendary hit single "Baker Street" to modern successful punk/ska groups like Operation Ivy or NOFX, brass instrumentals are best used with great care. This band did so, and the album is better for it. Please buy this record before supply and demand makes it cost one million dollars. It's worth it.

Check out Violette Records here: https://violetterecords.com/


Monday, September 27, 2021

That's Not Captain America's Shield! - Film


INTRODUCTION

Extreme, loving, close attention was paid to the legendary shield of Captain America in the Disney series The Falcon and Winter Soldier. It was such a big deal. Who would inherit the legacy? Who would take up the mantle? It seems so emotional, so meaningful, except that...it's not Captain America's real shield.

SPOILER ALERT!

If you haven't seen The Falcon and Winter Soldier or Loki, please do, they are very worth watching. Having grown up reading Marvel comics, I appreciate every detail the writers put in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films. It's like watching sequels to Iron Man, The Avengers and Captain America. I am about to give away many secrets and plotlines, so don't read any more of this if you aren't caught up and don't want to know.

THE REAL SHIELD

In the original Captain America his shield is given to him by Tony Stark's father. It's a silver disc made of concentric circles. There is a star in the middle.There are no gaps or black symbols. The star in the middle is basic. It's made entirely of vibranium.There are no lines bisecting the circles. No strange, black, trapezoids along the lines. Within the stars there are no coffin-shaped designs. Just a star, a circle, and radiating, circular lines. It was destroyed by Thanos in Avengers Endgame.


Look closely.

THE REAL, REAL SHIELD

In the Marvel comic books (Earth-616) Captain America's shield is an admixture of vibranium and admantium. Vibranium absorbs impacts and is invulnerable because the force is redirected by the metal. Admantium is just damn hard, but like any tough metal if you hit it rough enough, it cracks.

In the movies the real reason Captain America's shield is destroyed by Thanos is because The Mad Titan's impacts were so devastating Captain America's pure vibranium shield couldn't redirect the force, so it shattered from the vibrations. That's why Black Panther is so badass. His vibranium outfit absorbs hits until he redirects the force into a blast. In the comics Captain America's vibranium/admantium shield is destroyed because of The Infinity Gauntlet, not a sword made of uru.


Ah, the good old days...

THE IRON MAN SHIELD

Throughout the Iron Man films there is a variant of the shield that shows up on occasion. You keep seeing it throughout the films. Something important to remember is that after Captain America ended up frozen in Antarctica, research continued. Stark's father certainly kept going with is ideas, and given the amazing abilities of Iron Man's armor thanks to nanotech, there are so many possibilities. They keep showing us this other shield for a reason.


Probably not a coincidence.

If Captain America had ditched the vibranium shield and asked Tony Stark to design a new shield, built to withstand Thanos and utilize all the technology and innovation Iron Man made use of, what would that shield be like? In both Avengers Infinity War and Endgame, Iron Man uses a shield. The first is nanotech. The second is some sort of energy field. This is an important detail. After Captain America debriefs Stark, the inventor could give him a shield that is prepared to take on Thanos and more.

THE FALCON AND WINTER SOLDIER SHIELD

At the end of Avengers Infinity War, an old Captain America shows up after a younger one takes off to the past to return the Infinity Stones. We are not shown this adventure. It is presumed that the stones were returned. So we have no idea what really happened after young Captain America took off and came back.


Notice the gaps in the groove.

Assuming he isn't a Skrull or variant, this Captain America gives Falcon a shield. Everyone is cool with this. It's unusual, when you think about it. The real shield was just destroyed by Thanos. Where did this one come from? Since we just watched Thor steal a Mjionor hammer from the past, this new shield was assumed to come from the "normal" past. It didn't.  

There's another problem. Captain America was returning Thor's hammer. So, isn't taking a shield from the past bad if we have to return important, iconic, unique artifacts like Captain America's shield and Thor's hammer? So this older version of the hero is a variant from an alternate reality, right? And Loki taught us variants aren't always good things. As soon as that new shield was handed over to Falcon, Hulk should have intervened, considering the advice he just gave.

Something to remember is that this older version isn't dead. He's out there, somewhere. Is he in the same dimension as Falcon and Winter Soldier? Did he return to an alternate reality? Is he still talking to Hulk, or any of the characters? We don't know. Watching a meeting between old Captain America and his younger self would have been incredible, and the conversation would have had profound effects on the MCU.

Obvious differences.

THE DIFFERENCES

Having personally done film before, I can assure you a lot of attention is paid to making sure everything in the last shot matched the next one. If my character hands you a Rossi .357 magnum revolver, and in the next scene you are holding a .45 Springfield semiautomatic pistol, that's a problem. Observing viewers will notice the difference.

Hulk warns Captain America about traveling back in time and creating new realities. He describes them as, "nasty." A warning is given about returning the stones to the exact places they were left. However, Loki informs us that when an Infinity Stone is displaced, a new reality results. When Captain America chose to stay behind all new possibilities, as well as problems, surfaced. He didn't even return the way he was expected to.

Now, really think about what just happened. Captain America's return is practically a punch line. "Don't screw up," Hulk warns him, and The First Avenger returns, very old. Looks like somebody screwed up, bad. Remember, when The Ancient One showed Hulk the problems of an alternate timeline, it is presented as an ominous, dark cut branching out from the original. Obviously, this is intended to show us how terrible these places are.

Instead of showing up in the time machine, he is just there, sitting on a bench by a lake. Captain America gives a shield to Falcon. After watching Loki it's important that this person giving his symbol away could be just a variant of Captain America. He didn't return via the machine. He just appeared. Out of the hundreds of others that exist in the multiverse, hopefully this character didn't return with a different agenda and a new piece of equipment.

This shield is vastly different than the one Captain America just lost to Thanos. The new one has a black line bisecting the inside white/silver circle of the shield. Black symbols the shape of trapezoids break up the line. The star symbol inside the blue of the shield has coffin shaped designs inside the arms of the star. There is another symbol inside the center of the star. This new shield seems designed to open up, somehow. The trapezoid symbols could be part of a hatch.


Not the old one at all.

Since we saw Agent Carter getting arrested in the background of Loki, something is probably going on behind the scenes. The audience is told that The Avengers were supposed to do what they used time travel to do. When young Captain America is replaced by an older one with a different shield, nobody notices because of the sweet, sad music and feelings, despite the fact that Hulk's advice was obviously just ignored.

LOKI AND KANG THE CONQUEROR

At the end of Loki it is revealed that Kang did, and always has, won. The Time Variance Authority could have existed the entire time The Avengers films were happening, and we wouldn't have noticed since the audience has been told Kang allows the time travel heist to happen. Why wouldn't he? It's how the Conqueror probably conquered.

Since the effects of Kang's supremacy are immediately felt throughout time (at the end of Loki the statues within the TVA change, reflecting Kang's eternal supremacy) it's easy to see why a Captain America leaving, and then a different, older one with a strange shield showing up is a bad sign.

Look at this all from Kang's perspective. Thanos is a rival. The Avengers are your enemies. How is the playing field looking like by the end of the films?

If you are going to conquer a realm, the best bet is to get that realm to fight itself, slaughter the survivors and sweep once the civil war is over. Thanos is gone from one timeline and dead two times. His army is obliterated. Asgard is destroyed, Loki is dead, Thor has left Earth and been replaced by a person who deserted their post once and even betrayed Thor for money. The populace of Asgard is also decimated. No Odin either, so his advice won't help.


The bad new shield?

Tony Stark, the only technical genius that might understand how to defeat Kang, is dead. Hulk's arm is shriveled. Black Widow is dead. Captain America is a geriatric octogenarian. The Vision, an immortal machine man privy to the greatest secrets of two of the most intelligent minds Earth had to offer, is also dead. From Kang's perspective, killing The Vision would be very important. There is no team of mighty superheroes to stop him. If the circle and the trapezoid represent his supremacy, the five coffin shapes within the shield may as well be for his potential adversaries. No wonder he won.

Another fact is that in the comics, Kang just can't fight Thanos. The latter is too powerful for the former to combat directly, and Thanos is smart enough to figure out just about every plan or technology Kang could use. The one weapon the Conqueror had (aside from surprise) was time, and he used it on Thanos to win.

GOOD OLD CAPTAIN AMERICA

When Captain America went back to the past and stayed there, he didn't just sit around and keep his mouth shut. He didn't just have to stones, he had Thor's hammer. The events surrounding his adventure to return all that could easily be the plot for an entire series. Since he planned on staying in the past, his plan probably included preparing it for the future. This meant telling his story.

Think of all the things he knew, from how his vibranium shield would be destroyed by Thanos, to The Snap that killed half of all life in the universe, to Loki's invasion of New York City, Bucky's fate, how to stop Hitler, the destruction of Asgard...everything. Since time was on his side (where he went, Tony Stark had not even been born yet) he and the people Captain America warned had plenty of time to prepare. It's annoying that we don't know if he came from the past, or another timeline.

If he stayed in the same past as Falcon, doesn't that mean there were two Captain America's? Where was this other one hiding out? Was one frozen solid while the Captain America from the future was talking? Did they just keep frozen Captain America on ice, and he's in Antarctica while future Captain America is handing his shield to Falcon? What a headache. It gets worse when you consider that old Captain America could actually be one from a different reality. With all that in mind...what's in that other shield he brought back from the past?


Still alive? An old advisor, or frozen hero?

Remember, this man is an epic superhero. If he could go back in time and bend/break the rules to warn everyone and save the lives of billions, including his personal friends like Tony Stark and Black Widow, he would. The older Cap could have come from a happy, benevolent utopia where everything worked out for the best. From his perspective, the timeline he came back to could have been a wrong one.

CAPTAIN AMERICA...ON ICE!

By the way, it's worth noting that right now, in the MCU...a young Captain America is frozen in Antarctica. What? If he went back in the past to be with his girl, the other one is probably not around. Why would his girlfriend want to be with two men? Leaving the other one on ice until they thaw him out later would make sense. He even has a vibranium shield, which is why future Captain America didn't come back with that. He returned with something better.

THEORIES

To understand the future let's look at the past. Black Panther's vibranium armor stores up kinetic energy and then releases it. We have yet to see the new shield take a really hard hit. Since Thanos hit the other one so hard to shatter it, channeling that energy into a blast to whup the ass Thanos sits on makes sense. Iron Man also creates an energy shield at one point. Maybe the other Captain America shield does that now.

Another is that Tony Stark left a hologram that talks to everyone after he's dead in Avengers Endgame. Putting a hologram like that in the shield to warn everyone about Kang would be a great idea. At the right time, with the right trigger, he could pop out and tell the future about what the past figured out.


The good old shield. 

That shield has a lot of room, and Tony Stark eventually used nanotech. For all we know there are tiny cameras and microphones inside the new shield, transmitting information to another timeline or somewhere else. Once Kang starts to be a problem, glowing people could appear and offer solutions.

The shield could even be a time travel device. Sure, Captain America could have just been hanging out for many, many decades until he made his stealth roll to sit on a park bench. Or he could have used the shield to send him there from another timeline. TVA technology can create doorways to travel through time. They could also have sent him over using some technology until they beamed him back after he dropped the shield off. At the right moment, that shield could go off, making everyone teleport to the same timeline.

SYMBOLS

The symbolism of the five coffins is easily understood. Thanos, Iron Man, Loki, Black Widow and The Vision. The coffins also represent the fact the Avengers team is effectively dead. The circle within the white circle on the inside of the shield was a warning. Since Captain America is basically super old now, the fifth coffin could represent him.


Old shield with no line, gaps, or coffins.

Again, pay careful attention to what The Hulk says to Captain America. He says to watch out for bad potential timelines. Almost as if it was the punch line to a joke, when Captain American vanishes he is immediately replaced by an older version sitting at a bench. We saw a similar logic in place when Ant-Man kept coming back messed up, so this was foreshadowing. 

The black line and trapezoids on the shield is foreshadowing. In Loki, Kang's supremacy is symbolized by a circle representing The Sacred Timeline and a strange shape, similar to a trapezoid, that is Kang's castle. Since Kang won (he tells us so in Loki) Captain America basically left and came back with a shield showing Kang's victory. If he had come back with a shield that had a hammer and sickle on it we would have noticed something was wrong.

Kang's castle looks like a trapezoid. Each one on the shield could also represent the flawed, murderous rule Kang's supremacy lead to, since each one symbolizing a timeline created by Captain America going back in time with the Infinity Stones with the circle symbolizing Kang's own timeline. Since The Time Variance Authority are all mind controlled slaves with their memories wiped clean who kill whole timelines to preserve Kang's rule, a trapezoid is a proper symbol.


Look familiar?

BAD OLD CAPTAIN AMERICA

There's also something else to consider. We are given no real evidence that the old Captain America that shows up is the same one that vanished. He doesn't have the same shield. He's older. Could he be a robot? Kang mind controls people by wiping their memories clean. He could probably plant new ones. Maybe this older Captain America is evil, and the real one is somewhere out there, lost in time.

This older, variant Captain America might also be from a timeline where he is evil and America is a fascist dictatorship. The strange shield he brought back could be a danger to the past, which is Kang's present and our future. The new Captain America shield could be a time bomb! Like we learned in Loki, not all variants of a hero, or villain, are the same. Older Cap could also be Older Evil Cap, working for Kang. Either way, good or bad, he helped The Conqueror.


From the original film. So, how many actually exist?

THE END..?

The next movies coming out set the stage nicely for the new Captain America, featuring Falcon. I'm glad he got a shield. Flying around without a helmet in a jetpack while other heroes like Iron Man and War Machine get indestructible armor is insulting. That new shield is going to be a factor in the film, and by then we are going to know more about Kang the Conqueror because there's going to be another Spider-Man film, another Doctor Strange film, and another Ant-Man and Wasp.

Most of these movies include the other characters. If that shield has any special properties, we are going to learn about them. There's also another Avengers film coming out, and it would be a fun surprise if a shield that has been in the audience's face for so long is revealed to be completely different and essential to the story line involving Kang.

There's also something else I've noticed.

At the end of Loki the camera backs out of a black hole. We see a spacecraft flying towards us for an instant, as if trying to leave. Is that The Avengers? The X-Men? The Fantastic Four? All of them have access to spacecraft. Why are they leaving? Where are they going? We then see another black hole. Why two? Why not five or six? Is Kang lying? Did he just photocopy the universe and conquer that? When Thanos used the Infinity Stones to destroy them, since energy can neither be created nor destroyed, a new universe was probably created (we were told they were created during The Big Bang) when they were.


Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, so the 'Stones became another universe.

We leave the black hole and escape the singularity (how did we do that?) and end up in another black hole. Further and further the POV travels until we are at Kang's castle. So Loki is inside a black hole with a copy of another universe in a black hole inside of it. That clears things up nicely. Not.

Now that I've really thought about it, the ship you saw leaving the singularity from the last episode of Loki, season 1, was probably owned by The Collector. What was he collecting? Or who?


The Collector's ship.

When Star Lord is first introduced, he is dancing along to "Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone. In Avengers Infinity War, he is doing the exact same thing on the exact same planet in the exact same position listening to the exact same song. It's practically synchronized. Sure, it could be that Star Lord does that alot. Or it could be that the events of Avengers Infinity War and Avengers Endgame take place in a completely different universe.

When Doctor Strange first sees the multiverse, it's not parallel universes. The imagery is psychedelic. When The Hulk talks to The Ancient One, she says infinity stones create universes. In Avengers Infinity War, Doctor Strange saw many, many universes where Thanos was not defeated. Only one timeline allowed The Avengers to win...one where anyone who is a threat to Kang is destroyed. How convenient.


Where did he go? What did he get? Where is he going? Why?

When we catch up with Star Lord it could be that it's a clue the audience is watching a parallel universe, where Star Lord already met his friends before ending up where he was, again, only for him it's the first time. I honestly don't know. Maybe that other universe we saw in Loki is a photocopy created from the destruction of the first set of Infinity Stones, and all of the characters that died in the first universe are in that one.

That's enough mystery for today. Sorry I cannot answer any of these questions that have just been created. We'll have to be patient. What does this new Captain America shield truly represent, for the future of the MCU? Only time will tell.