Right now, all eyes are on "Captain America: The First Avenger," which is the last lynchpin in the ongoing road to "The Avengers," and casting rumors are flying. Cinematical first broke the news that John Krasinski was the top choice for the role, and since then, we've seen the full list of names in consideration leak via Michael Fleming. Now word is that Krasinski has tested twice and that Marvel Studios is pretty much sold on him playing the part.
And, predictably, fanboys are already gnashing their teeth and angrily posting messages in all caps with several exclamation points afterwards.
At what point does the fanboy nation realize that they are terrible at being casting directors? When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker in "The Dark Knight," you would have thought he had broken into their homes and pooped on their grandmothers. Oh, the outrage. Oh, the tears. If they'd had their way, Crispin Glover would have played the part that eventually won Ledger an Academy Award, and which has now become the iconic version of the character. It reminds me of how with my own children, both still under the age of five, any time I suggest we try to eat something they've never eaten before or watch a movie they've never seen before, they protest and cry and resist, absolutely sure they're going to hate it, only to reverse their opinion after they actually try whatever it is. It would be funny if it didn't waste so much time and energy on something that seems inevitable.
That's nothing new, of course. It seems like most comic book casting is controversial, and the fanboy nation almost always freaks out as soon as an announcement is made, only to later reverse their opinions completely once they see the actual work. Sure, there are people who never change their minds because they are completely dug in with the opinion that their interpretation is the only interpretation, but for the most part, it seems that the choices that are most controversial are the ones that almost always end up working out in the most interesting ways.
Here's the thing... you haven't seen the screen tests they've done. You haven't seen Krasinski in the costume. You haven't seen the other contenders on film or in costume as well. Right now, Marvel is as focused a company as I've ever seen. They're like Disney Animation in the early '90s, or like Pixar in... well, like Pixar all the time. They have an endgame in mind, and they are being single-minded in the way they pursue it. There are a lot of moving parts in play here, and Kevin Feige and his amazing team of producers and executives are working closely with every one of the filmmakers they're in business with, all of them focused on trying to get these films right.
I've seen more than I can write about at this point, but when I am able to write about what I've recently seen firsthand from Marvel, I hope I'm able to fully explain why my enthusiasm is as strong as it is. They're making some big, difficult choices, and I think they're going to pay off in ways that even comic fans aren't prepared for. One of the things that will be most important is how Kraskinski plays off of Robert Downey Jr, Ed Norton, and Chris Hemsworth, who all have strong personalities to start. Captain America is supposed to be a leader, and for him to lead those three guys, Krasinski is going to have to show us something on film we've never seen before.
But if they cast him, rest assured... Marvel's seen it. And in the end, I'll trust them over a nation of guys whose kneejerk crybaby tendencies have driven me further and further from fandom each year. I'd rather wait and see how something pays off. Sure, there are some companies I've learned to distrust instinctively with this sort of material (coughFoxcough), but Marvel has proven to me that they care about getting these films right, even if it means making unconventional decisions.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" will be in theaters July 22, 2011.
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