07 January 2010

The Once and Future CAPTAIN AMERICA (Part I)

We've waited to get our blog on with Captain America - make that, The First Avenger: Captain America, since that's its full title -- with the hopes that a few cold, hard facts might leak for us to quickly snatch up and satiate the news-byte hungry droves of dabblers that wait somewhere beyond our wifi's outer limits.   Yet despite our patience, not so much as the nickname of the film's Best Boy's girlfriend's uncle has surfaced.  When compared to the amount of press Thor's received as it marches into production,  Marvel Studios' Captain America feature -- the more significant film of the two, considering the character involved - appears to be pulling a 'Spider-Man 4.'  Considering The First Avenger's set for July 22, 2011 release date, and the fact no one has been cast yet to play Cap, makes us more than a little concerned. 

Despite The First Avenger's ticking clock, there are a few points of light on its otherwise ambiguous horizon: (#1) Director Joe Johnston's Universal re-make The Wolfman lands in theaters February, after which he'll be drafted into Cap's army full-time. (#2) Chronicles of Narnia screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are attached to write the script, which is  reportedly set in World War II -- and in good standing with everyone involved. (#3) Rumors of Captain America's casting have been bandied about the blogosphere for almost two years now, with everybody from Will Smith to Brad Pitt cited as a front-runner. At the head of the rumor-race today is Avatar's Sam Worthington, but thankfully overall conjecture doesn't  come close to setting off anyone's Spider-sense.  

The First Avenger's final light is its brightest: (#4) In his interview with Fangoria last week, Johnston mentioned that he's presently readying himself and his heroic  crew to begin production in June. 

Our Conclusion - - - - - - - - - 
Johnston's movie will have to move swiftly, and runs the risk of playing catch-up as well as second fiddle to its kindred production, Thor.  On a level playing field, Thor's the harder movie to sell; Captain America films - very low-budget 70's and 90's knock-offs - have already been made, and the character's comic book adventures have been published since the early days of World War II.  Johnston's house seems to be in good order, aside from the real possibility he's yet to cast his movie's leading man, not to mention a supporting cast.  Despite the big Hollywood names being tossed about, Johnston's likely leaning towards a relative unknown -- which we think would be his best call, and may be the reason for First Avenger's relative silence, too.  Regardless, the Captain America movie is - -and has always been - in a much better place than Spider-Man 4.  Johnston's movie is crucial to Marvel's overall plan leading toward 2012's Avengers, and it's a plan that has to move like clockwork.  

We predict that The First Avenger will end with its title star frozen in ice, only to be revived once Avengers hits theaters. This makes Captain America one of the major plot devices in the Avengers epic, and the set-up will need to be super.  To that end, Johnston's already received tons of  Marvel's attention, as well as  the  support of Jon Favreau (Iron Man 2) and Kenneth Branagh (Thor).  Whatever friendly competition that will exist between all three directors' films, each is a piece of a larger puzzle, events in a chain of which none of them intend to be its weakest link.

So what do you think about The First Avenger? Is a Captain America movie something you're excited about, or is Kenneth Branagh already bowling you over?  And what if Johnston's in a tighter place than we suspect - are Sam Raimi's problems going to afflict yet another Marvel movie? abbracadabbling wants to know what on our dabblers minds --  be sure  your Back Issues get read!

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