‘Greenland’ marks a change of pace within familiar territory for the man behind Captain America and the director of ‘District 9.’
The world may be a year away from the ultimate showdown of Avengers 4, but something else already looms over the horizon: the fates of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s original six. We are well aware that the actors who brought us Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, The Hulk, and Hawkeye will eventually move on to new pastures, retiring their beloved characters for good. That’s what makes their Avengers tattoos so special to the fandom. After bringing the first wave of superhero fever to the masses, to let them go would feel undeniably bittersweet.
To be clear, no big-name Marvel actor is suffering in their career and won’t actually disappear once they have finally shed their supersuits for the last time. But with Robert Downey Jr. already primed to keep busy in his post-Iron Man career, we’re keeping our eyes peeled for more developments for the rest.
Now, Deadline has reported that Chris Evans will lead Neill Blomkamp’s next feature, Greenland. All we know about the movie so far is that it will chronicle a family’s struggle to survive a cataclysmic natural disaster. Blomkamp has written all of his films, so we can likely assume that he’ll have a hand in penning the screenplay for this one, too, although Deadline doesn’t confirm if there will be any co-writers involved in the venture.
In the almost-decade since his breakout sci-fi hit District 9 was released, Blomkamp has unfortunately failed to recapture the critical acclaim of that debut feature. Although it could have been an epic sci-fi action experience, Elysium ended up being a dull misfire despite a strong cast and stunning larger-than-life visuals. In contrast, Chappie is a more enjoyable effort, in that it is very close in spirit to District 9. Blomkamp returns to Johannesburg in Chappie and manages to find heart in the film’s uglier circumstances and hardly likable characters due to a smaller, toned-down setting.
What all three of Blomkamp’s features do have in common is their commentary on social and political issues. It’s thus easy to imagine that despite its vague synopsis, Greenland will have something worthy to say about global warming and its impact on humanity. Notably, we haven’t seen a traditional disaster movie from Blomkamp either, and this could breathe new life into those established themes. It would make sense for his preferred found-footage filmmaking style, too. Overall, stepping away from aliens or artificial intelligence would be a welcome change of pace for the director.
As far as Evans is concerned, he may be used to saving the world from fictitious supervillains – playing superheroes in big-budget franchises twice in his career (never forget that before he was Captain America, he was Human Torch in two Fantastic Four movies) totally doesn’t help with the typecasting. Yet he has managed to squeeze in some compelling sci-fi movies into his filmography anyway, and those are genuinely some of his more noteworthy works.
There’s Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, which — regardless of an off-putting final act — does sport a strong space exploration premise. It taps into the horrors borne out of isolation in space but ultimately clings to the hope and resilience of humanity to save itself. Evans does well in playing a morally uncomplicated character, which we also witness in his portrayal of Steve Rogers; the latter is admittedly less prickly, though. Evans plays one of eight crew members aboard the spaceship Icarus II, which is on a mission to deliver a nuclear payload to reignite a failing sun. As we could expect, the mission does not pan out as the crew hopes.
Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer is another example of Evans’s sci-fi oeuvre. In its tense and unnerving atmosphere — complete with hair-raising action sequences and uncanny revelations about the depravity of humanity — the film is not as straightforward as it seems in examining morality. Snowpiercer‘s premise echoes a natural disaster refrain, wherein the earth has frozen over due to botched attempts to curb global warming. Most of the world’s population has died out and the people that still remain inhabit a train powered by perpetual motion. The circumstances aboard the locomotive are dire, to say the least. Steeped in class inequality, the “scum” of the train are relegated to poor living conditions in the last few cars, while the elite enjoy luxury up front. However, with Evans’s protagonist as their leader, the “scum” rise up against their oppressors.
Sci-fi is definitely not a new genre to Evans or Blomkamp, but their experience could very well work in their favor in Greenland. After spending 2017 pioneering experimental short films through Oats Studios, Blomkamp is certainly ready to return to the big screen with not only Greenland but also The Gone World. And besides his work in Avengers: Infinity War, Evans most recently made his Broadway debut in Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero and has the biopic The Red Sea Diving Resort lined up for release.