Thursday, June 30, 2011

Captain Obvious On Captain America

A not so long time ago, in a galaxy right down the street, I was penning a blog that centered around people and the really stupid shit they say. However, there were a few problems that arose from that blog: First, in generalizing society, I began to tread in that non-politically correct place where stereo-typing becomes offensive. My sarcasm didn't translate very well in the written form, and my comments were often taken incorrectly and/or out of context. That alone wouldn't have been enough to shut me up, yet... Secondly, my inner nerd has lately begun screaming for an outlet. With geek being the new chic, I felt I needed a forum to dispose of the posuers and wanna-bes that were really dragging the true nerds back into the dark ages.

And so, without further ado, I'd like to open No Shit, Sherlock with a post regarding the most important upcoming event to take place in your meager lives. The Captain America movie.

Let me be clear here; I am going to rant about the most important aspect of this movie and it's hero. Not about Chris Evans as the lead (I love the guy and think he is perfect), not about being eager to see a Marvel movie that doesn't feature one of their new Ultimate characters (Nick Fury is a bald black man, hoo-rah), not about the fact that Cap is finally getting his due with acknowledged star power and a decent fucking budget... All of those things are inconsequential. Let's talk about what really matters: the costume.

Way back when the rumours about this movie began to circulate, the hullabaloo was whether or not Cap would still be sporting the wings of Mercury on his helmet. Tears and blood were shed in mothers' basements across the country at the idea of such an atrocity. Marvel, in it's ultimate wisdom, decided to keep them. The rest of the costume, however, became fair game.

Personally, I love it. Outside of the helmet looking like a cheap piece of plastic and the fact that Cap is sporting a sidearm, I think it's awesome. I had vivid nightmares of a suit designed out of chainmail and spandex that could hang in the wall of shame next to Ben Afflack's red leather S&M suit from Daredevil. Something the Village People could borrow for their next reunion tour, if you catch my drift.

The argument at hand is that the new costume is based on a more realistic approach. Cap no longer looks like a 'superhero'. Good. Because, Captain America didn't start out as a superhero. He started out as a super soldier. And, as far as I'm concerned, the uniform in that picture above screams just that.

Captain America is a hard hero to bring to the big screen. The reality is, he is the embodiment of ideals and beliefs that this country doesn't really take to heart these days. Honor, Duty, Patriotism... these words have lost their meaning for us, or at least shifted their definitions enough to be little more than disclaimers.

Cap is the kind of hero that people are afraid to have these days. He is a soldier. He fought a clearly defined enemy for a cause that was noble and pure. He did it without killing (his weapon is a shield, an item designed for defense), and always clung to his principles and sense of obligation to the men and women of his country. He was a morale booster for soldiers fighting an actual war and facing a very real super villian.

In this day and age of dark anti-heroes and vengance seeking costumed clowns, the idea of a hero like Captain America probably translates like a unicorn frollicking in the butterfly meadow. The last thing he needs to overcome is a costume that makes him look like he just stepped out of a gay bar at last call in his bright red boots.

Whether or not Marvel finally does justice to such an icon remains to be seen. Personally, I'm taking a socket wrench with me when I go see this movie, because if Cap pulls that sidearm and shoots anyone, I'm unbolting my seat from the floor and throwing that fucker through the screen. Yet, I feel they've already done him some justice by moving away from the spandex and creating a costume that can be taken seriously. As a long time fan, I'm pleased by what I see: an overly patriotic steroid induced soldier ready to kick the shit out of some nazi douchers.

It already beats the hell out of the past attempts we've seen for a hero that just fucking deserves better. Don't get me wrong, I love a dark hero as much as the next guy. Hell, I have the bat symbol tattooed on the back of my neck. But, this is a time when we need a real hero. A hero that was so pure, the author killed him off because he didn't feel America deserved him any longer. A hero that does things because it's just the right thing to do, not for the pay off at the end. Captain America is that kind of hero, and if I have to live with some alterations to his costume to see those ideals and principles brought back, so be it.

I view it like thus; it could always be worse. Cap's costume could be purely CGI. Yes, Ryan Reynolds, I'm talking about you and the epic failure I will wait for on DVD that is no doubt an abortion to one of the better comic book heroes. Is it just me, or do the trailers to that movie make you want to kick a puppy? That shit makes me want to give The Fantastic Four movie a second chance...

I'm anxious to see this movie. I'm as excited and trepid as a seventh grader going back to school and discovering all the girls have breasts. I want Marvel to finally get it right and for Captain America to blow the minds of it's audience for all the right reasons. My expectations are higher than your average college student on 4/20. At 37 years old, I'm still not ashamed that a lot of what I took away in life, I learned from comic books. And, Captain America was among the best of them. That comic preached ideals and beliefs. I feel the costume design is good, that it looks serious enough to overcome the superhero stigmata and allow the audience to focus on the story. God willing, that holds true.

And God willing, Chris Evans will be doing another action scene in it set to a ridiculously slow Journey song!

Next Issue: Why the New Hope has just become hopeless.