I saw X-Men: First Class this weekend. Spoiler alert - it's set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis, with the main characters of the film playing key roles in manipulating and resolving that conflict.
I was born well after the CMC, so to me, it's about as "real" as the fall of the Roman Empire. However, I couldn't help but ponder what someone of an older generation, someone who lived through those two weeks of tension where it looked like Russia and the United States were on a collision course that nearly lead to all-out war. Is it crass to depict a version of history where a comic-book super villain is responsible for fostering that crisis? Is it equally disrespectful to show superheroes being responsible for saving the day?
I know that if a superhero movie depicted 9/11 as part of a scheme masterminded by Dr. Doom that most audiences would be appalled by the lack of respect. (Then again, the Cuban Missile Crisis ended without incident, counter to the lives lost on 9/11.) Should our popcorn movies reduce major history to plot points for characters in tights and capes?