"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.