We're back! It is early days into the Summer Season, a time when many a blog can hit the productivity skids, so to speak, with everybody finding more and more reasons to be out and about, and less and less reasons to be sitting indoors writing about some movie that is over a year away, lol. Today, however, if you are reading this then you are twice blessed, because not only do I - the man-turtle of post writing - have a new post for you to enjoy, I have the real pleasure of presenting you with a guest post from a cool blogger by the name of Chris La Tray, who is easily as much of a Captain America fan as myself (if not more so!). So without further ado, here are Mr. La Tray's thoughts on The First Avenger: Captain America...
Bring on the First Avenger!
I can remember the first time I saw a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring. I was at some other movie and the opening trailers started rolling. Before I knew it, the music swelled while a straggled line of weary travelers moved across a mountainous landscape. My heart was in my throat – I knew immediately what it was, even though I hadn’t yet heard of the existence of a trailer. Seeing characters come to life that had been in my heart and mind since I was a kid was almost overwhelming. I had been anticipating the movie so much, and seeing actual scenes from the film stoked my enthusiasm for its release so much I could hardly contain myself. I was nearly verklempt.
I expect the same reaction the first time I see a trailer for Captain America – The First Avenger on the big screen.
Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is one of those fictional characters that have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. He’s up there with Batman, Conan, Tarzan, and all the other heroic figures I read as a youth, whether it was novels or comic books. I had action figures, comics, t-shirts, everything that was available to a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s. Which is odd, because Captain America is such a “good guy” through and through, and my interests tend to run with characters that live a little more in the gray areas. But he was always so heroic, and really just a regular guy without the amazing super powers of his peers. Nonetheless, the strength of his commitment and convictions, and his ability to inspire others, was such that even Thor, the mighty God of Thunder, was willing to follow him into battle to save the world. I always thought that was cool. The old Avengers comics and Jack Kirby’s Captain America and Falcon stories were a big part of my childhood.
Which brings me to thinking about the new movie and the possibility that Hollywood might totally screw things up. I’m not all that worried about it. When it comes to their “big” movies; I’m talking the Spider-man franchise, X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man, etc., Marvel has been excellent, especially with the first movies in whatever series they are rolling out. Hell, I’ve even liked some of the movies that others consider terrible, whether it is the 3rd Spider-man movie, the 3rd X-Men movie, the Wolverine movie, and even Ang Lee’s version of Hulk (though I have to admit hoping the Cap film is way better than any of those!). They weren’t all great, maybe not even good; but they weren’t necessarily terrible either. At their worst, they have at least provided a couple hours of escapist entertainment to experience with popcorn, which was what I’d hoped for.
We’ve seen the foundations for the Cap movie being hammered into place for at least three big, blockbuster movies. The moment I knew it had the potential to be awesome occurred during The Incredible Hulk (the one with Ed Norton as Bruce Banner). There is a scene where the military is trying to capture the Hulk on a college campus, and Tim Roth’s character (Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination) has already taken a dose of the “super soldier” serum in an effort to make him a match for the big green monster. Roth’s character is running circles around all the other soldiers, and then goes one-on-one with the Hulk and pretty much holds his own . . . for a while. Watching that scene, all I could think was how cool they would be able to portray Captain America in action. With The Avengers movie as the culmination of the work done on all these films – Hulk, the Iron Man movies, and the upcoming Thor movie – looming closer, I feel even more confident that the Captain America release will be among the best. Cap is too important to get wrong, and Marvel certainly understands this.
I’m pretty easy to please, though, I have to admit. When it comes to these movies I don’t get all wrapped around the axle over the leaks of tiny bits of minutia that emerge prior to release. I’ve heard the story about how Cap’s origin will be fiddled with so that he does time performing in some kind of song-and-dance routine, ala the USO, before getting in on the action in Europe (I’m very happy the movie is set during World War II, by the way). That notion may have me scratching my head, but I shrug it off. If I were writing the story I wouldn’t think of doing that, but knowing about it I can see how it could be managed and why, and I’m fine with it. Most recently there has been some concept art leaked of Cap in costume, setting off a storm of fans loving it and fans hating it. I think it looks cool enough, but nothing ever looks as good as a static image posted on the internet as it does when your ass is parked in the movie theater and the character is moving on screen, so it really doesn’t tell me much. I don’t see the point in getting overly worked up over the little details, at least not yet.
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America works fine for me, at least as well as anyone else whose name was mentioned, and certainly better than most. Hugo Weaving as Red Skull is perfect – I love that guy as an actor, and the dramatic nature of his voice will be awesome. I’ve very pleased with that bit of casting, and I’m stoked that Red Skull is to be the villain (the hero is only as good as his nemesis, right?). Everything else – other characters and who will play them – really don’t matter to me. We’ve got Cap and Bucky fighting the Red Skull in occupied Europe, and budget big enough to make it awesome. I think you’d have to make an effort to screw that formula up!
Captain America – The First Avenger has an excellent chance to be something special. The timing of its release, the importance of its success to Marvel’s future endeavors, and, most importantly, a timeless, somewhat tragic character steeped in heroic qualities perfect for the big screen should make for exciting adventure cinema. With Marvel’s track record, I’m confident in their ability to deliver the goods. I’ve always wanted to see Captain America on screen, flinging his shield and battling the Red Skull. It looks like I’m going to get my chance.
Chris La Tray is a writer and musician who lives in Missoula, MT, and travels the USA fairly frequently to poke his nose into
www.chrislatray.com and can be found socializing at http://twitter.com/chrislatray and http://www.facebook.com/chrislatray.