Is Obama The New Captain America?

Barack Obama's presidential win wasn't just have been a milestone for race relations in America, it may have changed the tone of the Captain America movie, as well. Is there nothing this man cannot do?

The rumor that the currently-in-production Cap movie is feeling Obamania can be traced back to Entertainment Weekly; the magazine having picked up on the idea that Obama's election has made a movie about the ultimate American soldier somewhat more of an easier sell internationally than it may have been under the current administration by quoting Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige:

The idea of change and hope has permeated the country [in the wake of Obama's election], regardless of politics, and that includes Hollywood. Discussions in all our development meetings include the zeitgeist and how it's changed in the last two weeks. Things are being adjusted... If a film called Captain America, with a red, white, and blue color scheme, can be met with anticipation and even with promise around the world, as opposed to skepticism, I'm going to be very happy.


But how much influence will Obama's presidency really have over the cinematic fate of Steve Rogers? After all, the New York Times reported just earlier this month that, despite international disapproval of the Bush regime's decisions, the rest of the world was just as eager - if not moreso - for American movies and television shows, and any talk of "change and hope" is, at this point, still campaign rhetoric until Obama takes office next month. Is Marvel really reworking their movie to match a viewpoint and optimism that could seem dated (or worse yet, naive) when the movie is released in 2011?

The answers are most likely "very little" and "probably not," respectively. Captain America as a character has always been written as an inspirational figure that represents the American ideal much more than any particular political viewpoint (Something that the fan sites have run with), and perhaps more importantly, the movie is rumored to take place entirely in the 1940s, thereby avoiding any clunky references to the current president as a representation of how America can fulfill its promise. The selection of the somewhat-fluffy Joe Johnson as director (announced post-election, but so close that it had obviously been decided pre-) suggests that Marvel were always planning to go relatively light and heroic despite the wartime setting, and that those hoping for a superhero version of Saving Private Ryan may have to look elsewhere.

The election of Obama, and the world subsequently feeling more positive about America as a political power in general, may help a movie about an American hero who fights to make the world a better place seem more timely and contemporary - or not, depending on what happens over the next couple of years - but that has much less to do with any recreation of Captain America's character than it does smart spin on the part of Marvel Studios. After all, if they were really going to try and cash in on Obama, they'd base the movie on Captain America: Truth.

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