Waiting for Captain America


"Captain America is not here to lead the country. I'm here to serve it." -- Captain America

Tomorrow's the Fourth of July, America's Independence Day. When I think of fictional characters that embody patriotism and all the symbolism of the ideals of the United States, Captain America comes to mind. And it surprises me that of all the superheroes who have been brought to life on television and the movies, there hasn't been a definitive version of the pure-hearted super soldier with the adamantium shield who has dedicated his life to protecting his country and its citizens. Yes, there were two made-for-TV movies in the 1970s (he was more Evel Knievel than heroic Avenger), some cartoons, and a very low-budget movie (horrible), but so far nobody has gotten it right. A new movie is being planned as part of Marvel's live-action renaissance, but will it succeed in capturing the spirit of the character and everything he stands for?

I'd prefer that they don't spend the entire movie recapping his origin. Don't get bogged down in the World War II era, or the details of him being in suspended animation -- just jump right into a modern day story. Captain America can address some powerful stories about America's legacy and role in the world. He represents the best of the so-called American Dream and all the positive elements of "truth, justice, and the American Way" (that the alien from Krypton has come to symbolize.) Yet, he's also anti-establishment, a guy wearing a costume to fight crime, international dictators, and home-grown corrupt politicians. He's fought Nazis, Commies, Fascists, Anarchists. He represents a moral Idea not a specific political party or government regime. He needs a story that can embody all of that and appeal to a global audience. Steve Rogers is a great character, and he needs a great story to serve him well. (Maybe even use the super soldier serum plot device to address the issue of performance enhancing drugs? But don't lose the action and America!)

Fingers crossed that the new movie-makers get it right.

Comments

Jeff Singer said…
I like the origins stories. And the origins of the villains, too. But I think the filmmakers should stick to the original source material as much as possible. When the film makers start thinking for themselves (re: Spider-Man 3), the films end up, uh, sucking.

The Captain America film starring Matt Salinger (J.D.'s son!) and Ned Beatty was wonderfully awful. Lapses in logic were amazing. And the stunts! I knew Captain America was like a super gymnast, but not as fast as they don't show in this film!

(Off topic -- another wonderfully awful film is the Legend of the Lone Ranger with Klinton Spilsbury, Christopher Lloyd, and Jason Robards as U.S. Grant.)

So yeah, I'd like to see Captain America fight more modern criminals than WWII Nazis, although if treated right, that might be pretty good.
Nick said…
I still haven't seen The Legend of the Lone Ranger. I hear there's a new version being made (with Johnny Depp if I'm not mistaken?) Looking forward to it!