Captain America huh.
What a good ol’ boy.
A 95 pound weakling is delivered his ultimate fantasy of being a superhero.
I’ll talk about Captain America: The First Avenger without spoilers so you can read without fear.
Superhero movies are either really good like Iron Man or really bad – pick either Hulk movie. Captain America is good. It’s better than good. But how good is it?
The script is good enough for A grade actors to elevate it into something great. Tommy Lee Jones is engrossing, Stanley Tucci is superb and Hugo Weaving as the villainous Nazi just shines in another bad guy role. He’s become the actor who plays the thinking person’s bad guy – not your garden variety thug. And those eyebrows just get better and more expressive with age. One day, they’ll be up for a Best Supporting Role award.
One real success of this film is the seamless creation of the puny Steve Rogers and the Frankenstein emergence of the bulked up muscle-bound version of the same bloke. It was like the perfect lunchtime procedure for guys who want plastic surgery but are too afraid to ask.
Howard Stark – inventor and founder of Stark Industries has none of the charm and charisma of Tony Stark. Of course that may have a lot to do with the difference between Robert Downey Jr and Dominic Cooper. Then again – it ain’t Howard’s movie.
Female roles are few and far between but the ones that are there are relevant and worthwhile. Hayley Atwell does a great job as the love interest but it’s her skill set and attitude that are more interesting. Nice to see Natalie Dormer in something after her seminal performance in the TV drama The Tudors – but the role was far too small for her talent. She owned it and nailed it though.
Seeing the original Captain America was cracking it way back in WW2, director Joe Johnstone could work the nostalgic angle without too many clichés. Sure he’s observed a formula but it suits the material – he’s made a genre film.
Red Skull’s lair is the kind of real estate you’d expect a bad guy to own – suitably villainous, remote and built into the side of a snowy cliff. He exhibits the expected disdain for anyone who works for him as well as the typical megalomania that comes with wanting to take over the world or destroy it – whichever is the easier option. Ever since Austin Powers movies however, it is hard to watch this kind of villain without anticipating comedy.
If anything is disappointing, it’s the henchmen. They can’t throw punches that connect and they die too easily. Now I’m starting to understand a villain’s disdain for his own men. Guess it’s like the ol’ saying – it’s hard to find good help.
Sadly for Paramount, this is their last film of a Marvel character as the baton now gets passed to Disney. Interesting to see what they will do with the Marvel stable from now on.
So back to Captain America. Chris Evans does the job well. He’s likable and capable. But for my taste, he’s just a bit too goody-two-shoes and nowhere near as conflicted and brooding as I’d like him to be. He has more in common with Superman than Batman. But that’s the gig, right?
While 3D has its drawbacks, I liked the effect on the opening comic graphics and it works a treat when the cinematographer works a nifty pull-focus from background to foreground.
And of course you gotta stay to the end to get the special bit of video that sets up the next movie. But it took way too long to get to the end of the credit roll. It needed to be twice as fast. It was so slow and boring with no fancy graphics at all, one guy in the cinema yelled out, ‘this better be good!’
And it was.
I’m so glad this movie didn’t come out when George W Bush was in power as Globocop. He would have taken it as a metaphor for himself.
Oh wait – ‘metaphor’ – he wouldn’t know what the word means. But I bet he would have cottoned onto Vibranium quickly enough. Sounds like a good investment. Think I might see if Rio Tinto has found any in WA and get me some shares in it.
Here is some vid of Captain America: