Russia, like many countries all over the world, tends to import a fair amount of culture from the United States.  Whether you hate American “imperialism” or benefit from an alliance with our government, it may actually be harder to escape the grip of our pop-culture than our foreign policy.

In the past few decades, superhero movies have become an established and successful genre, bringing in billions of dollars for American studios and exporting our unique brand of masked or caped escapades to the world at large – and there sitting high atop the heap of profitable spandex-based franchises is the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its flagship platform, “The Avengers.”

If you think folks like Vladimir Putin missed that four of the top fifteen highest grossing movies of all time feature a team of heroes led by a guy named, “Captain America,” you’re giving the man’s social life far too much credit.

Enter “The Guardians,” Russia’s response to The Avengers and their attempt at cashing in on both the superhero trend and patriotic nostalgia… all wrapped up under a neat anti-American propaganda bow.  The movie opened at number one in the Russian box office in February, though quickly faltered thereafter thanks to a poor critical response and lackluster performances from most of the cast – but at a paltry $5 million budget, it was likely profitable – and if I may be so bold, it was also pretty damn impressive on the special effects front.  Almost impressive enough for me to lose focus on the heavy pro-government and anti-American sentiment laced throughout the film… almost.