Captain America First Avenger Review
By Bret Dorman
Everyone is making a huge stink about there being a bunch of Super Hero movies this summer. But really? What did people expect? A couple Super Hero Movies made bank at the Box Office and Hollywood saw a cash cow with tons of existing material and fans to work with and started milking and buying up rights right away.
Then people kept going to see them in record numbers. That’s like watching nothing but sci fi movies on Netflix and complaining Netflix keeps suggesting you watch Blade Runner. Well I am here to tell you: Go watch Blade Runner.
But alas, the question remains. Will Captain America: The First Avenger, be the first good Super Hero movie this summer?
The Story: Steve Rogers (a slim/strapping Chris Evans) is a small guy who just doesn’t know when to give up. Luckily, that’s just what Dr. Erskine (a German Stanley Tucci) is looking for. Winning the somewhat sexy approval of Peggy Carter (a snippy Haley Atwell) and despite the grumblings of Colonel Philips (a grumbly Tommy Lee Jones) Rogers goes on to get “The Super Serum”… making him Captain America!!! (That’s the name of the movie!) From there, he becomes a PR stuntboy before battling his first and greatest enemy… The Red Skull (a sinister Hugo Weaving). Also, he Punches Nazis in the face.
The problem I find with most Super Hero stories is sitting through the back story and origin part so that we can finally get to the drama, the good stuff! Captain America handles this by making all the stuff that comes before the Captain America part short and fun. Chris Evans is a blast to watch on screen no matter what. People will note he might look a little funny, that’s because they shrunk his body size down using computers. This is all fine and fun, but my only problem is he still has this brooding Captain America voice coming out of this small scrawny body.
That minor problem aside, Captain America is interesting because he wants his power, he needs it to be able to go to war. Once he gets it he doesn’t spend is time whining about it. He punches Nazis in the face! Rogers is grateful to have his power and incorruptible with it. He is an honest man who knows has a certain set of ideals and sticks to them. He fights not because he wants to fight but to stick up for those who can’t against sinister forces.
The movie takes a nice detour in the middle to show the origin not of Steve Roger’s Super Soldier but of Captain America Himself. This is what the other Super Hero movies this year were lacking. A sense of fun and excitement. A sense of humor. The sense that everyone wanted to be there and liked what they were doing.
Joe Johnston is a good fit for the action and the WWII tone of the movie. The movie was wise to not update itself to the messy politics of America now. Captain America is about good vs evil. Black and white. Right and wrong. It would be interesting thought to see how Captain America would deal with our military now… but for a Summer Blockbuster I’m just looking for fun, especially in the origin story. Also, Tommy Lee Jones got a good laugh almost every time he was on screen.
The one thing this movie is really lacking is its “Holy Cow!” Captain America moment. The action moment that defines him. The action scene that makes you pump your fist and shout “Hooray for America!” Instead we get some nice action moment but as a whole they just don’t quite add up. The movie has a lot of him jumping or swinging and in mid air it just cuts away. Its a neat comic book-y thing but we need more before he jumps, not just the jump itself. Surprisingly though the shield mechanics were nice and not too overdone or silly.
I do enjoy how Marvel is building up an ‘Avengers’ Universe within the film world and it was nice to see some other Marvel references/characters without them being distracting. Howard Stark (a cool Dominic Cooper) played really well and I’m looking forward to seeing all these guys get together and fight things (and hopeully each other) in The Avengers (stick around post credits for the trailer).
Side Rant: It’s stupid that they are simply calling this movie First Avenger in other countries. Not because other movies should accept anything and everything America and Hollywood throws at them and accept we are the greatest county in the world (which we are…) but because they spend THE ENTIRE MOVIE calling him Captain America! Unless they go through the movie and redub his name they are just trying to trick foreigners out of a couple of bucks and making them watch a bunch of silly pro-USA propaganda. Yeah, that’s the way to get other countries on our side… hide the truth from them until we are Bam! Punching them in the face!
In Conclusion: Easily the Best Super Hero Movie of the Summer, beating out X-Men by a little because this movie was shorter, tighter, had more fun, and didn’t have as many problems (although it wasn’t as ambitious). Hopefully the Cap’n can smack some sense in Thor and as for Green Lantern well… sorry buddy… but hey… at least you’re getting a sequel…?
Final Grade: B+
(Side Note: Cap’n USA has the best Posters of all the Super Hero movies this summer. Then Thor. Then X-Men. Last again: Green Lantern. Lesson, Marvel (X-Men was Fox) knows how to market its characters)