Joe Johnston Directing Marvel's The First Avenger: Captain America!
by Alex Billington
November 9, 2008
Marvel has officially announced that Joe Johnston will direct the upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America. Johnston previously directed Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer, Jumanji, October Sky, Jurassic Park III, and Hidalgo, and also has The Wolf Man coming up in March. Johnston now joins the ranks of Jon Favreau, Louis Leterrier, and Kenneth Branagh as Marvel's dream team of directors set to turn bring the real Marvel universe to life in a series of films that will eventually converge in The Avengers in 2011. It's pure coincidence that this news hits on the same evening that I wrote about the return of WWII movies, considering The First Avenger: Captain America will be set during that time.
Marvel first met with Johnston two years ago and their meetings have continually led to Captain America. Marvel's Kevin Feige is producing the film, which will be set during World War II, although no writer is attached yet. Marvel claims they are still hearing pitches on story ideas and will hire a screenwriter soon. Unfortunately Johnston isn't the most exciting choice for director, although Feige references other elements of his background to the contrary. "This is a guy who designed the vehicles for Star Wars, who storyboarded the convoy action sequence for Raiders of the Lost Ark," Feige said. "From Rocketeer to October Sky to The Wolfman, you can look at pieces of his movies and see how they lead to this one."
Captain America was first created in 1941 by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon and is the alter ego of Steve Rogers. Rogers volunteered for a top-secret defense project called Operation: Rebirth after he was deemed too sickly to join the army. He was the first human test subject for the Super-Solider serum which transformed him into a human with maximum efficiency, greatly enhancing his strength and reflexes. The man who had created the serum was killed and the ability to duplicate the process was lost. Thus Captain America was born, and combined with his iconic indestructible shield, he served as both a counter-intelligence agent and a propaganda symbol to counter Nazi Germany's head of terrorist operations, the Red Skull.
I never would've imagined so many years ago while watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids or even Jumanji that the same guy who made those movies would years later bring us a live-action version of Captain America. Looking at this news now, that's not a good thought. Johnston may have been great doing behind-the-scenes work on Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark, but he's not a great director. October Sky may prove that he can direct character-driven movies, but nothing in his filmography proves that he's capable of taking on such an ambitious and highly anticipated film as Captain America. I hope my fears as wrong and, just like Jon Favreau, we find out that Johnston was the perfect choice in the end. Thoughts?