Captain America: Not A Flag Waver?!
The movie version of Captain America will dress like the flag but won’t be waving it.
The director of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the 2011 summer blockbuster that will coincide with the character’s 70th anniversary, says the screen version of the hero will be true to his roots — up to a certain point.
“We’re sort of putting a slightly different spin on Steve Rogers,” said Joe Johnston, whose past directing credits include “Jurassic Park III” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” He’s a guy that wants to serve his country, but he’s not a flag-waver. We’re reinterpreting, sort of, what the comic book version of Steve Rogers was.”
Does that make him an odd fit to play the earnest and somewhat square superhero with the Betsy Ross fashion sensibility? Johnston answered that in his film — which is set in World War II — the character will fight the enemies of America but he won’t be a stiff, slogan-spouting guy.
“He wants to serve his country, but he’s not this sort of jingoistic American flag-waver,” Johnston said. “He’s just a good person. We make a point of that in the script: Don’t change who you are once you go from Steve Rogers to this super-soldier; you have to stay who you are inside, that’s really what’s important more than your strength and everything. It’ll be interesting and fun to put a different spin on the character and one that the fans are really going to appreciate.”
I’ve got no problem with rebooting decades-old comic book characters and tweaking their origins to fit modern sensibilities. After all, Marvel and DC have done this multiple times with their flagship characters.
But here’s the thing: They’re still setting Cap’s origins in WWII and having him as an American super-soldier fighting the Nazis (including, one presumes, the Red Skull). It would be incomprehensible for that character to be other than a flag-waving patriot, as that was simply the norm.
If Johnson were re-imagining the character with an origin in 2010, on the other hand, the change would be perfectly natural. American soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, for example, very much think they’re the good guys. But cynicism and ambiguity about the mission are part and parcel of their culture.
But a WWII Cap? It doesn’t make sense.