When the Captain America: The First Avenger TV trailer aired during the 2011 Super Bowl, even some of the more skeptical fans did a 180° turn and started to believe that Chris Evans, the man who brought Johnny Storm to life in the Fantastic Four movies, might actually pull off a pretty convincing onscreen version of Captain America/Steve Rogers.
For our part, we had already started to believe in Evans when official Captain America images started hitting the Web. The actor had clearly shed his funny-man persona from films like The Losers and was seemingly ready to deliver a serious and respectable portrayal of one of the most revered and iconic heroes around.
However, by now we know just how fickle - if not downright brutal - comic book geeks can be when it comes to the onscreen adaptations of their favorite characters. Every new image, poster, trailer, set photo, piece of concept art and interview quote gets scrutinized down to the very last letter and/or pixel, and fanboy reactions to these promotional materials tend to range from strong to rabid.
So while there have been a lot of new additions to "Team Evans" in the last few months, not everyone is yet sold on Chris playing Cap, nor are they sold on director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) and Marvel Studios being able to do Cap justice on the big screen.
Evans is all-too-aware of the tidal wave of fan opinion he and his movie are up against, and in talking with Total Film, the actor addressed the precarious balancing act of bringing Cap from the page to the screen intact, while still being able to inject something fresh and new into the character's movie counterpart:
"It's important, you know at the end of the day we are doing this for the fans. And if they're not happy, we've missed the mark...You go in and do as much research as you can from the comic books, but you're also trying to make something your own. This is an origin story."
"I think a lot of the comic books deal with after he's become Captain America, so to some degree we had to take some liberties. But you want to make sure you've done your homework....You want the character to be the icon, but if you reduce him to a red, white and blue outfit it makes him shallow."
"It wasn't until we got our hands dirty with the script and had a good couple of scenes in the can, that I thought, 'Man, I think I'm actually getting this guy.' I feel like the character now, much more than a shield or a mask."
It's an ongoing debate we see here amongst our Screen Rant readers: Where do you draw the line between faithfulness to the source material and 'taking liberties' for the sake of a blockbuster movie? I know some fans will read into Evans' quote about 'having to take some liberties' and start on a long furious rant...but what else would you expect from the "Screen Rant" comment section ;-).
For my part, I'm all for filmmakers breaking away from the (literal) boxes of comic book pages - so long as they always preserve the core essence of the character(s) they're working with. I'm not mad at Matthew Vaughn (yet) for changing up the canonized history of the X-Men for his approach to First Class - nor am I raging that Marc Webb is using a new costume design for The Amazing Spider-Man.
I don't see the point of using film to simply imitate what is offered by a comic book; if I wanted to immersed in the exact same world I read about on the page, I would simply pay for a new comic book issue, not a movie ticket. When I go to see comic book movies, I expect to see a film that takes the best of comic books and expands upon it in the way only movies can. But that's just me.
Captain America: The First Avenger will deploy in theaters on July 22nd.
Source: Total Film