Every now and then, my creative friends and I step out from behind the mics and indulge in a bit of stage or video parody. Here’s a short comedic tribute to the George Reeves Adventures of Superman from the 1950s, directed and edited by Lew Aide, and starring my dear departed friend Jim Childs.
Tom Sawyer. Huck Finn. Oliver Twist. The Artful Dodger. Tarzan. Rhett Butler. Scarlett O’Hara. Peter Pan. Alice in Wonderland. To some of us, characters like these, and their many, many young siblings, are more real than the people we work with, go to school with or meet on the street. Their images are indelibly stamped on our hearts, so well did their creators fashion them. They are alive for us.
All of these characters have been revisited, again and again, by authors not their creators. That’s because they are so powerful. Because we want more adventures with them. Because they fire the imaginations of even the most imaginative people… and, yes, sometimes the imaginations of the dullest of people as well.
I daresay Captain America is such a character now, for millions of Americans. Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in the pages of Timely Comics (now Marvel Entertainment, thank you very much!) during the early days of World War II, Cap was re-engineered by Kirby and Stan Lee beginning in 1963. Starting as just another patriotic-themed Nazi-buster, in the 1960s, Steve Rogers became a stranger in a strange land, Rip Van Winkle, Buck Rogers, a man who goes to sleep and wakes up in a time not his own. Of course, in 1963 he’d been asleep for only 18 years. Now, since World War II can’t move in time, the movie version of Cap awakes over 65 years in the future, still young, still ready for battle.
My wife has a flag in our yard during the warm months. It features the Peanuts gang, dancing their little, undersized legs off, and it’s emblazoned, “Dance like no one is watching.” Many of us are nervous about dancing in front of others. I know I am. I can’t. I have no rhythm. I have no grace. My best dance moves, I was once told by a dear friend, resemble those of a geriatric drag queen.
This is going to be a controversial review, I think. This film has already been noted to have divided comics fans. We seem to either love it or hate it. And, sadly, we also seem to be directing a good deal of hate at those who don’t agree with our opinions. That’s too bad.
And yet this movie represents some trends in modern entertainment and storytelling which I think need to be identified and discussed, so I’m going to share my opinion no matter how much it pisses off those who disagree. If you disagree with me, I’m sorry. But I’m not going to hide or deny my opinions simply because you don’t like them.