Why one fan says, 'bring on the Captain America movie', ...

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.


Bio

Chris La Tray is a writer and musician who lives in Missoula, MT, and travels the USA fairly frequently to poke his nose into
places where cool shit happened. He’s loved most of the recent comic-based movies, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and even had fun at the critically-despised Jonah Hex. He’d love to see a movie or HBO series based on Scalped. He keeps a blog about whatever pops into his head at any given time at www.chrislatray.com and can be found socializing at http://twitter.com/chrislatray and http://www.facebook.com/chrislatray.

A year before the Captain America merchandising blitz hits

A while back, I went and placed a big old ugly Amazon.com ad block at the bottom of my blog. Now I just did this out of a sense of curiosity. (really, does anyone really click these kinds of ads much anymore?) I was curios to see what kinds of ads, considered relavent to my site would be shown on there. Of course I already had my suspicions but I just wanted to see it for myself just to satisfy my suspicions.  What ended up being displayed on there was your typical mix of Captain America related merchandise: Captain America T shirts, Captain America Mugs, Captain America comic book collections (otherwise known as graphic novels), Captain America action figures, and even the old 1990's Captain America movie. Yep, pretty much what you would expect.

  So what was the point of me mentioning this here? Well I guess I am trying to illustrate a point about the influence of the future Captain America movie on the whole Cap franchise; beyond just the expected hype for the movie itself, we will be inundated with merchandising for the character, the likes of which we have never seen for him before. Right now, any search for Cap-related merchandise will give you a real mixed bag of stuff.  A year from now we will be almost smack dab in the middle of the media marketing blitz that we know will be coming; there will be  Captain America merchandise pushed at us from all sides, from restaurants to convenience stores to big box stores, all of them competing for our precious dollars.  It happened with Iron Man, remember?  A year before the movie therewas no deluge of movie related action figures or t-shirts or plush toys or coloring books, Now, it can be hard to remember what it was like before the movie since back then the character was not as high profile as, say, Spider-Man or the X-Men.

  I guess that the same thing could be said for both Thor and the Avengers: both may have some level of popularity with the regular comic-buying crowd, however I would argue that they are by no means as much a part of the public consciousness as Spider-Man, Iron Man or the X-Men, all of which have had a successful movie franchise to bolster their reputations with the moviegoing public.

I guess the point that I am trying to make, in a roundabout way, is that you should make a mental note of the Captain America landscape now, circa Summer 2010, because soon enough everything is going to change and in the midst of the Cap hype it might be neat to be able to stop and think to yourself, 'wow, things sure changed a lot in a year'.

  A follow up to this point is the idea that if there is a specific t-shirt or poster or other Captain America item that you have wanted to buy but have been putting off, you might want to go and get it now because it is pretty likely that a lot of the stuff out there will be discontinued and be dissapearing off of store shelves and online soon after.

  Along these lines, if you think that you might be shopping online at the official Marvel shop (Marvel.com) or anywhere else for such items then you should consider first going over to Mr. Rebates and signing up for free and then doing your shopping because you will get some cash back on your purchase.

Who knows, you might just save enough on your purchase to help pay the ever-growing price of a movie ticket next Summer...