With the Avengers movie fast approaching I’m scrambling to catch up on all the prequel films. I finally watched Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) this weekend; just Thor (2011) left to go. It was an enjoyable comic romp, if a little hurried (packing an origin story, a global menace and an inevitable jump to 2012 into two rushed hours). The question that really distracted me throughout though was why is the Human Torch now pretending to be Captain America?
Chris Evans is a good actor. His Johnny Storm/Human Torch was the highlight of The Fantastic Four (2005), cocky but still funny and likeable. His Captain America was decent to, if a little more youthful than I pictured the Captain being. But why get the same actor to play two iconic Marvel superheroes? Hollywood is littered with talented performers who have the requisite chops and pecs to don Cap’s costume. Choosing one who fans already associate with another Marvel hero is bizarre choice. They didn’t look much further when casting for Cap’s nemesis, the Red Skull. Hugo Weaving was a great choice, with acting talent to spare, and a face / voice combo tailor made for the part. But again, here’s a man whose footprint in the comic and fantasy world is already substantial. Weaving is the sinister Agent Smith, the voice of Megatron, the elegant Elrond, the gun-powder plotting V. Can we separate him from these roles enough to believe he is the Red Skull as well? The imprint of his previous characters is somewhat distracting.
The same goes for Nick Fury. It’s always a pleasure to see Samuel L. Jackson on the big screen but I’m sure I’m not the only one expecting him to explode with an "Avengers assemble motherfuckers!” when the superhero group finally get together in cinemas next month.
DC have been just as lazy, thieving Marvel’s Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) to fill Green Lantern’s boots. And with filming starting on Deadpool’s own movie soon, you wonder what on earth is going on over Hollywood way. Is the casting couch that empty? Are casting directors that lazy? Its not the first time the hero net has been so weakly thrown (Han Solo / Indiana Jones) but when fans are picturing these comic characters running in the same circles it helps to have different actors playing them. Especially if the Fantastic Four turn up to help out the Avengers, their Marvel stable mates. That’s going to be all kinds of awkward.