I figured out at an awfully-young age that a hero is only as good as his villains, and that the latter are usually way cooler. This tried-and-true piece of knowledge largely informed my childhood idolization of The Joker, Boba Fett, Darth Vader and the James Bond villain Jaws (who I used to emulate by wrapping my teeth in tin-foil for hours on end. No joke, I wasn’t very bright even back then.)
Thus, my discovery of the rich world of Marvel comics at the age of eleven was like a glorious godsend! For merely $1.25-an-issue (yes, I’m that old!) I could wallow in the nefarious misdeeds of a smörgåsbord of ultra-colorful, unrepentantly malevolent evil-doers such as Venom, Scorpion, Morg, Dr. Doom, Thanos, Electro, Captain Reptyl and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, the reprehensible Red Skull.
Formerly known as Johann Schmidt, Skull emerged in the early days of Marvel — back when they were called Timely Comics — first appearing in 1941’s “Captain America” No. 1.
A vicious, genetically-engineered super-Nazi, bearing a hideous scarlet death-mask, Skull has had a long, fruitful lifespan, plaguing an endless assortment of mighty super-heroes, and entertaining me to no end with his memorable appearances in issues of “Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Avengers.”
When it was announced that Mr. Schmidt would be front-and-center in the impending “First Avenger: Captain America,” I was unabashedly thrilled. See, I still harbor pent-up resentment over feeling ripped off by 1990’s Matt Salinger-starring “Captain America,” a dud that I rented for my 11th birthday, which shamelessly only featured Skull with his dreadful visage and trademark Nazi get-up for a mere five minutes before giving him a normal human face and a lame plastic-surgery excuse. Sure, I was partially cheered up by his hilarious death scene, being smoked by Cap’s shield over a cliff and limply bouncing off about a dozen boulders before hitting the pitiless sea, but it was still a pretty sorry affair.
However, in news that stands to forever clear the character’s woeful cinematic slate, The Hollywood Reporter has released an exclusive revealing that Marvel is in talks with none other than Hugo Weaving to disappear beneath Skull’s crimson features — a potential casting coup that screams awesomeness from every fibre of its being.
I’ll give you a second to collect yourselves.
Okay now? Good. Weaving’s potential involvement makes a fair amount of sense, considering he just recently graced theatres in “The Wolfman,” which was directed by “Captain America’s” Joe Johnston and, based on his performance in “V for Vendetta,” he has a proven track-record for doing spectacular work when acting behind an obstructive facial appliance. As for him doing a flawless German accent, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see…
As I’ve stated before, I’d very much like to see “First Avenger: Captain America” end up being in the vein of Johnson’s “The Rocketeer” — a pulpy, rough-and-tumble, action-packed adventure full of impressive physical (non-CGI-aided) stunts and old-school fisticuffs. Hopefully Weaving as the Skull can add the oh-so-crucial boo-and-hiss factor, and deliver a wicked turn that’s as much fun and sinister as the genre calls for. I suspect there’s very little reason to worry, as far as his obviously wide-spanning skills go.
Oh, and speaking of Captain America, the good folks at Latino Review have followed up their insider-peek at “Thor” with a similar article on both the beloved blue, red and white crusader and Earth’s Mightiest Super-heroes. Want to know how the studio will be segueing “First Avenger” into “The Avengers”? Or how the Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp may fit into the much-awaited super-team mega-movie? Click the link to find out — but beware, some of the info, assuming it’s legit, is EXTREMELY spoiler-ish.
So how do you guys feel about Weaving as the Red Skull? Ja or nein? Stand at attention and make state your judgments loud and clear on our message boards!
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.