Tag Archives: Captain America

“Joss Whedon is the Devil and the Russo Bros. Will Save Us”

Do you notice anything… off about that article title? Is it slightly polarised?

Polarisation is the name of the game at Marvel Studios these days though, with Captain America: Civil War just around the corner and the whole world waiting with baited breath to see the clash of two heroes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started selling ‘Team Iron Man’ and ‘Team Cap’ t-shirts and throwing us all back into the Twilight era… scratch that, someone’s definitely already made those. In any case, hype is in the air. I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say this is one of the most highly-anticipated movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a lot of this seems to be coming from the pure joy of a movie that looks really good after the disappointment that was The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant Man, which I’ve seen about two people talking about.

How can we be sure it’s going to be good? Well, it’s in the hands of the Russo Brothers, the creative team behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a high-quality movie that ensured their place as gods upon the mountain… especially compared to other creative devils like Joss Whedon, who betrayed and enraged everyone with the cluster-mess of Age of Ultron. The anti-Whedon backlash in the wake of Age of Ultron was nothing short of stunning, and a little frightening, and that same energy is now swinging the other way to praise and delight over the Russos and their work. They will bring Good Writing™ back to the MCU. They are the heroes we need.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t think they’re good—they did a damned good job on Winter Soldier on a technical level and clearly love the source material to bits—but we shouldn’t be too quick to put people on pedestals. Civil War has just as much potential to be a heroic mess as Age of Ultron did, because it’s actually facing a lot of problems from the get go. Continue reading

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Filed under Things We Need to Stop Doing

Pros and Pratfalls of Regenerating Your Cast

Being Human season 5 cast

[Spoilers ahead for Marvel comics and Being Human]

A series’ heart is its characters—whether it’s comedy, tragedy, fantasy, what have you, generally speaking, if you’re going to really capture the audience what you want is a good cast. You could have the most banal or wacky concept in the world, but if you have good characters people like and are interested in, people will watch it. Similarly, you could have the coolest and most fascinating backdrop ever, but without good characters to form that human connection, nothing’s going to glue. So, once you’ve got this band of characters that forms the bridge of audience attachment, you’d be silly to change them, right? Well, not always. Not every series revolves around the same set of fictional people for its entirety, and sometimes it’s beautiful and sometimes it’s bad.

Some series cling to their characters for decades, some change them every few seasons as a matter of course (like Skins), some bring back beloved concepts with new faces (Star Trek: Next Gen perhaps). Every long-running series has a kind of conceptual mould at its heart (e.g. Madoka Magica’s mould is “young girls fight monsters and discover the evil in the system they’re fighting for”) and a set of main characters (Madoka, Homura, Sayaka and co.). Sometimes, if they run long enough, these can get a little tired, so you have to change things up, unless you’ve got something truly episodic with no excessive continuity like old sitcoms. Generally, you can either change the characters (for example, bring in a new group of Magical Girls to follow) or break the mould (now instead of this being a story about fighting monsters it’s about fighting each other and their various dubious motivations).

Comics often keep their moulds, but get new characters within it. The new Thor comics star a woman (to the ecstatic cries of one half of the internet and the groans of the other, of course) not because Thor as we know him has been warped into a sex change, but because a new character has picked up the hammer and gained the powers therein, thus becoming the person to carry the title. So you can still have all your adventures that play with the universe and themes that suit that story, but to keep things fresh there’s a new lead to follow, get attached to, come to understand. It keeps the flavour and formula the same, but changes up the human connection to make things interesting and fresh. Thor was also a frog at one point, I’m pretty sure, so it’s not as if this is something new. Continue reading

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Hope, Symbolism & Why Steve Rogers is Still Our Hero

Chris Evans as Captain America

This is his patriotic judging face

If you knew absolutely nothing about comics or superhero movies and just heard the words “Captain America”, what would be your first thought? Possibly “Sounds like nationalist military propaganda” or “I bet he’s a real dick”. Well, in the case of the former, you wouldn’t entirely be wrong, and the latter isn’t an unfair assumption considering how self-congratulatory the embodiments of a country’s values can turn out to be. Yet here we have Marvel’s Steve “Captain America” Rogers, and company, one of the most three-dimensional and heart-tugging batches of supersoldier beefcake I’ve seen on a big screen recently.

I wasn’t particularly interested in Captain America (he seemed fairly ridiculous, and that’s even next to Thor), but you know, made sure to see The First Avenger so The Avengers would make sense, and went to see The Winter Soldier with WB because she half-dragged me there to the tune of the internet’s wailing about it. I don’t live under a rock. I’m not some old academic fuddy-duddy that thinks superhero movies (especially ones that dare to be fun. Yech!) can’t give you a poignant emotional reaction or possibly contain any value beyond passing a few popcorn-flavoured hours. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has generally swept me off my feet with how consistently good it is. Nonetheless, I’m still really impressed with the latest Captain America offerings, and everything they’ve done with the character and movies in general.

True to the aforementioned internet wailings, among other things The Winter Soldier successfully makes the viewer form an emotional attachment to a ruthless assassin who has about six spoken lines. The Marvel writers are wily—they make you love a human weapon, the same way they made you love a propaganda tool. Yes, Captain America has his roots in World War II morale-boosting. He is a Nazi-punching, golden-haired, wholesome as farm-baked apple pie sales tool to give people something to enjoy in frightening times. He seems pretty dated now, laughable even, yet Marvel made the decision to bring him back. And it really, really worked. Continue reading

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