Monday, May 2, 2016

Flashback: I have faith in Chris Evans as Captain America

Cary's Comics Craze continues to celebrate Captain America's 75th anniversary and his five years in the movies with this fourth straight Cap-centric flashback. 


Chris Evans as Capt. Steve Rogers
in "Captain America: The First Avenger"
In this CCC column written for the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper sometime in 2010, I discuss why I have faith in how actor Chris Evans would do as the Star-Spangled Avenger and how director Joss Whedon would handle bringing The Avengers to the big screen. (I now consider Evans one of Hollywood's legendary superhero casting decisions, so we know how I feel about the job Evans has done as Captain America!)

Enjoy!

Let's get this straight: I'm very excited to see what Chris Evans will do with his role of Captain America (aka Steve Rogers), not to mention Joss Whedon's take on the 2012 cinematic debut of "The Avengers."

Fans might consider both folks as thinking-outside-of-the-box-choices for their respective acting and directing duties, despite their long ties to the comic book industry.

First up, Evans.

The (then) 28-year-old actor deserves some props for two reasons: 1) Undertaking a crucial role that's been under fans', critics' and bloggers' microscopes for months, if not years, and 2) for his upcoming work schedule.

There's no doubt the already buff Evans (as seen in the two "Fantastic Four" films) is working out like crazy to bulk up and literally embody a World War II crusader created by the Super Soldier Serum.

Photo collage courtesy of Pinterest
Evans is going to have to have superhero-like durability to go straight from filming "The First Avenger: Captain America" into "The Avengers." (CCC does the fanboy/fangirl heaving lifting on why it's appropriate to refer to Cap as "The First Avenger" in this flashback op-ed.)

Filming for "Captain America" starts in Europe in June 2010 and judging from various online reports, "The Avengers" goes in front of the cameras in February 2011 or so.

Consider that the Cap film is a WWII-focused period piece sure to have Evans doing a lot of patriotic shield-slinging and engaging in fist-fights in many battle scenes. Then think about Evans having very little down-time before jumping into "The Avengers," a team film that is the culmination of Marvel Studios' master plan of bringing Marvel Comics heroes into the same film continuity. That's just grueling.

And how about the pressure Evans faces in playing the ultimate patriot?

Not only is Cap one of the most iconic Marvel characters around, he's been the leader of the comic-book Avengers for years.

So essentially, the success or failure of both films fairly or not falls on Evans' shoulders. After all, his Cap has to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, Chris Hemsworth's Thor and even Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.

And just as importantly, does Evans have enough of that elusive onscreen "it" to make us believe he can lead other American soldiers, not to mention the superheroes making up The Avengers, into battle?

Wow. No pressure, Chris.

Without a doubt, he has many acting challenges ahead of him.

Can Evans convey the necessary patriotism to play the hero nicknamed the Star-Spangled Avenger? Can Cap be played with enough sincerity without being hokey? In the "Fantastic Four" series, Evans oozed charisma and likability as Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch. But can he swap that swagger, playfulness and roguish air for compassion, dogged determination and inspired leadership?

Time and the reaction of fans and critics will tell, but "Captain America" director Joe Johnston chose Evans over no less than 10 other actors during what seemed like the longest casting call in recent history.

And, it sounds as if Evans snagged the coveted role without an audition. That's says a lot about the faith Johnston and Marvel Studios have in him.

And I have a lot of faith in Whedon. True, I haven't watched the genre TV series he's written, produced and at times, directed ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Firefly" and "Angel"). But he has the unbridled passion and knowledge of a comic-book fan.

Judging from Whedon's work on the TV and comic-book incarnations of "Buffy" and writing 25 issues of "Astonishing X-Men," he knows how to handle ensembles. That's the kind of director I want to see transforming Captain America, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Thor and Black Widow and I can hope for Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch, the Wasp, Hank Pym's Giant-Man, Ant-Man or Yellowjacket and even Wonder Man into "Earth's Mightiest Heroes."

"Avengers assemble!" indeed.

For the CCC review of "Captain America: The First Avenger," click on this link. 

Want to read more from CCC about Captain America? Of course, you do! Click on these links:


And of course, CCC has reviewed — speculated on — the two major trailers mean for "Captain America: Civil War":

  • "Underoos!" — what I call the second trailer that gave us our first glimpse at the new Spider-Man
  • "He's my friend" — my name for the first "Civil War" footage

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