It was just announced today that the movie First Avenger: Captain America now has a director. That director is Joe Johnston, a veteran special effects artist who has worked on such films as Star Wars IV: A New Hope and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and a veteran director who has directed such films as The Rocketeer, Jumanji, and Hidalgo. As to the story, the last I heard half of it would be set during World War II, while the other half would be set today.
For those who don't know the back story behind Captain America, he was created by the great Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. He debuted in his own magazine, cover dated March 1941--the first superhero to do so. Captain America was one of the most successful heroes of the Golden Age and definitely the most popular character published by Marvel Comics during the Golden Age. The original run of his title ended in 1949. The character would be revived briefly in 1954, but was not a success. He would be revived again in the pages of The Avengers in 1964. In issue #4 of that comic book it was revealed that Captain America had been in suspended animation since 1945 (conveniently overlooking the 1954 revival). This revival would prove very successful. In fact, so that Captain America would survive until being killed off in March 2007. Here I must point out that Captain America was not the first patriotic superhero as often assumed. That honour goes to The Shield, published by MLJ (now Archie Comics).
Personally, I find this to be very good news Joe Johnston is a capable director. I enjoyed Hidalgo and I absolutely loved The Rocketeer. In fact, I have to wonder if The Rocketeer was not why he was chosen for the project. For those who have never heard of it, The Rocketeer was based on the late, great Dave Stevens' classic comic book series of the same name and centred on a young pilot in the Thirties who stumbles upon a prototype rocket pack and then becomes a masked superhero. The movie not only captured the flavour of Stevens' work, but that of the heroic pulps, movie serials, and Golden age comic books as well. Given that Captain America is a Golden Age hero (he debuted in his own magazine all the way back in 1941, Johnston has then already proven that he can handle such material well. My primary concern is that the movie is to be set partially in World War II and partially today. I worry that this might make the movie a bit uneven. In fact, I have to wonder that the World War II half won't be better than the modern half!
Ultimately, I suppose that we can only wait and see. First Avenger: Captain America is set for release on May 6, 2011.
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