Monday, February 7, 2011

Emails #2: Beacon of Liberty

Original Email Dated: 2-20-08
From: Ben
To: Rick


I totally hear you. This was a take on Cap being a shining light instead of a wraith. To take all eyes off the Brits. My intent was to put the Brits on the brink (good suggestion), but I see I didn't really indicate it. This was kind of a rapid throw down of ideas so, it's bound to be more "fan" than good writing:) Heh, I was wondering if that felt too long for him to drop. You're right, that would lag on screen.

Still, on the Beacon vs. Legend point, I think a more dramatic reveal to the audience would be good, but I'm not sure the same goes for the Nazis. Is he the Beacon of Liberty or is he the Wraith of Justice? Perhaps my focus is off. Is he a Beacon to the the folks back home and a whispered legend on the battlefield? In that way, in America there might be idealized (the comic book) images of him in bright colors, whereas in reality he's in fatigues only slightly different from other soldiers. My version is similar to the Ultimates' WWII Cap seen here: which is between the two.

I guess overall I thought Cap could be used as a firebrand. He'd make a huge splash in this first battle so the stories would spread that a star fell from the sky and devastated their forces. In future missions he could be more discreet, but this also felt like a big splash for the start of the film. The visual of a flare behind the chute lighting it up like a TV screen in the sky is indelible in my mind. I suppose perhaps that could be the focus-- I meant it to be a balance between us spending time with Cap and then watching from the Nazi's POV. I suppose though, we could save a lot of that for future scenes and be more mysterious by keeping it more from the Nazi's and Brit's POVs. I think there's a way to do both Beacon and Wraith and it could really make sense and heighten the action.


Original Email Dated: 2-20-08
From: Rick
To: Ben

Beacon v. Wraith. Out now from Marvel in eighteen different colors. And strawberry scented for the ladies....

The more I mash around my feeling for Cap and the whole time period, the movies and series and stock footage, the more I am reminded that Cap is a time traveler. When he gets frozen in the ice, however that happens, he is fighting his darkest villain the Red Skull! World War Two is ending or has just ended. The world still hasn't come into the light. It is a boxing match where both opponents are so exhausted, neither can really rise to their feet. Britain and Europe sustained extremely heavy losses. They lived for YEARS in a nightmarish nether land of war, destruction and death that was all too close to them.

He awakens in present day. Compromised ideals. Red and Blue states. Trampled ideals and a gutted Constitution. Oh, and dollar value menus...

While Cap lives through the war, he is as beaten, bloodied and broken from giving his body and soul to the effort to vanquish the Nazis. What would be more likely, that Cap was so damn strong that he could handle anything OR that his strength, stamina and determination were all that kept him from quitting. He sees the horror. He sees the bullets tear soldiers apart. He sees the rape and murder. He knows that to keep going, to keep attacking, to keep striving for extra miles, yards and inches makes all the difference in the world. Makes the only difference. To die fighting evil. Not wanting to die only wanting to fight and grind and sweat and bleed and pray to God for his mighty hand in guidance....

To the Allies, he becomes a legend, a beacon that shines brightly for all to see.

To the Germans, he is a wraith. Noxious. Poisonous. Cutting the bluster, the morale, seeming almost supernatural. He is a ghost. A General's nightmare and an infantryman's paranoid fancy.

Cap can be both with the same action being interpreted differently by either side. In real life, that is how it would be. Hero to some. Villain to others.


If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.

Winston Churchill

1 comment:

  1. Beacon vs. Wraith. The question Ben is forming here actually cuts to the heart of the Captain America myth. What is most essentially about Cap's character. When looking at him as a writer, as a filmmaker, does Cap set a shining, inspiring example for all to see OR is he at heart an instrument of fear striking at the heart of the German army. Simon and Kirby intended Cap to kick ass and take names. Bones broken. Wooden doors splintered. Bullets ricocheted. Spy rings smashed. I answered the question as he is both. The vital impact of Captain America is always the inspiration and hope he generates. This comes directly from his leadership and not necessarily from his powerful right cross. Yet, Cap's ability to diffuse dangerous situations with his fists earns him the respect of every fighting man in the war. Only a closer look will hint at an answer to the question of whether he is possessed of two highly different qualities. We come to an easy agreement here and then spend the rest of our time trying to fill in the pieces of Cap's character to make him make sense. What does the Captain America myth suggest and what kind of journey is Steve Rogers on? Will it end in triumph or tragedy? As readers, we know there is a block of ice looming in his future. Can he escape it?