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Scott Mendelson

Scott Mendelson

Posted: November 10, 2008 01:15 PM

Joe Johnston to Direct Captain America (Yay, Marvel!)


I know I give Marvel all kinds of crap (the recutting of Incredible Hulk and Daredevil, forcing Sam Raimi to use Venom in Spider-Man 3, playing chicken with money issues on Iron Man 2), but I consider it tough love. It's not because I hate Marvel, but because I'm a fan of their properties and their comic lore.

Oh, and now that the truth about the Don Cheadle/Terrence Howard Iron Man 2 situation has come out... wow. Marvel looks a little better and Howard looks really bad. Regardless, I still mourn for the loss of continuity.

But, I digress, I come here today not to bash Marvel but to praise them. Entertainment Weekly seems to confirm this, so I'm treating it as fact. Marvel has just signed Joe Johnston to direct Captain America, which is still on track to be released on May 6th, 2011 (by the way, I refuse to use the 'The First Avenger' prefix as it's stupid). This is a wonderful, surprising, and creative choice. It gives me hope that I'll spend more time in the near future praising Marvel than criticizing them.

For those who don't know, Joe Johnston is the man behind such gee-wiz period adventure films as The Rocketeer and Hildalgo. He also directedHoney I Shrunk The Kids, the solid drama October Sky, and the much better than it had any right to be Jurassic Park 3. He is currently in post-production on The Wolfman. I can only hope that there is some correlation between the hiring for the Cap gig and the quality of the updated werewolf thriller (like most Johnston pictures, it certainly has a great cast).


I know I wrote a couple months ago that The Rocketeer hasn't aged well, but the big problem with the film is that Johnston and company didn't have enough money to include all that much rocket-action. The film remains wonderfully cast, impeccably acted, and evokes a nice sense of period. I'm assume money for action set-pieces won't be an issue this time around. And Johnston is one of those directors who knows how to stage an action scene so it is coherent, easy to follow, and contains a clear sense of geography.


Now Marvel needs to finalize the Thor deal with Kenneth Branagh and cast Jon Hamm as Steve Rogers. And, of course, the big question is who are they going to use to directed the big one? Who do they recruit to directThe Avengers? Assuming they don't use someone already in their employ, and assuming they don't go for a pie-in-the-sky choice (James Cameron, Peter Jackson, or Terrance Malick), my vote goes for Martin Campbell (yeah, I know, Mendelson just praised Campbell, it must be Monday). Who do you think should get the 'big job'?

-- Scott Mendelson

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