Is Marvel's Captain America movie in for a tough fight?
Marvel's future The First Avenger: Captain America movie might be facing an epic challenge brought on by the heightened expectations of comic book movie fans everywhere...
Sometimes the thing you have to be most wary of is becoming a victim of your own success. It is the same for most super-heroes in the comics: the more successful they are at fighting crime, the more villains they run across seeking to get a reputation by taking them down. For the future Marvel movie, The First Avenger: Captain America, the biggest foe it might face could well be the mountain of expectations that previous Marvel success will have built for it.
I am laying out some pretty simple logic here. With the first Iron Man movie, Marvel was just starting to lay out the foundations of its (then) newly adopted approach of producing their own movies which would all share a common continuity. As the movie went into production there waws the expected coverage and buzz about the progress of the project, but for the most part, comic fans were waiting to see how things all shook down with the finished product and the trailers that preceeded it before getting too worked up, since Marvel had no prior track record for making its own movies. Of course the huge success of Iron Man back in 2008 as well as the much more moderate success of the Incredible Hulk movie that same year earned Marvel some genuine credibility as a moviemaking entity.
Since then, Marvel has moved ahead with its master plan to put a series of other movies based upon various Marvel characters into production. Between the release of the first Iron Man film and the future upcoming Captain America movie, Marvel will be releasing Iron Man II and Thor, as well as starting production on at least one more movie, the Avengers (scheduled for a Summer 2012 release). One has to assume that with the natural progression of more early hype or buzz being seen for Iron Man II than there was for the first film and the likelihood that thor will carry with it a large amount of buzz because it will be helping to flesh out the Marvel movie Universe, that by the time Of First avenger: Captain america, the hype machine will be building to a much larger crescendo since Captain America will likely be treated as the linch-pin movie to the next year's avengers flick. That is a lot of pressure to live up to for any franchise.
There are also other factors to take into consideration.
For one, even though Captain America is one of those characters that is pretty iconic, having enjoyed such a long and storied history with generations of comic book fans, he has really never been the recipient of anything approaching a quality treatment on either the big screen or the small screen; In both film and television, Captain America has been the victim of low budget film making, repleat with weak storylines and (for the most part) poorly designed costumes. To see examples of this less than stellar history you can visit this Captain America movie site.
I guess it is something of a positive that the bar has been set so low in the past that it won't take much to raise it. However the standard costume of Captain America is definitely one of those that might not translate easily onto the big screen without some careful consideration . It will be interesting to see if the filmmakers decide to go with the historical costume of the character that includes the chainmail or scalemail outer protective covering, or if they instead decide to go with the more recent depiction of the character from the Ultimate line of Marvel comics that has adopted a bit more of a military look and feel to the costume. For my part, I hope that the original tri-cornered shield makes at least a token appearance! The costume can be made to work, it just will require some serious thought and effort.
Lastly, the choice of actor to portray the title character will have to be a very prudent one. The choice of Robert Downy Jr. to play Tony Stark/Iron Man was in hindsight a stroke of genius on Marvel's part and the company will have to catch lightning again, so to speak, to help ensure the movie's acceptance and success with its intended audiences. An actor that can emote effectively while adorned with whatever costume he ends up in wouldn't hurt.
I for one look forward to following the progress of all of the upcoming Marvel movie projects as they enter into development.