Thursday, July 28, 2011

Captain America Does His Duty

Chris Evans (l) as the title character, greeing a fawning Hayley Atwell (r)
Sometimes you have high expectations for movies, movies that you cannot imagine not blowing you away, which is dangerous because if its not good, nay, great, you feel underwhelmed..  "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" is a great example of the former, and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is a big example of the latter.

Comic book movies are even more so... for every "Spider Man 2", you have a "Spider Man 3" as well as "Green Lantern".  For every "X2: X-Men United", you have a dozen "Elektras"... so I've learned over the years to not raise my expectations too high when it comes to putting Marvel--and especially DC--on the screen.  "Thor" was a pleasant surprise"Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" was not. 

So when "Captain America: The First Avenger" was announced, I had some reservations.   It had to be good, because not only was it the final set-up before "The Avengers" movie came out in May of 2012, but also as it followed some great successes like both Iron Man movies (and yes, I liked them both) and Thor.

The movie starts with the familiar Marvel opening (the animated flipping pages) but now a Disney graphic as well, which is a little weird, and anyone who knows anything about Captain America knows right from the first scene how this movie will eventually end.  I won't spoil it here, in case you truly have no clue, but it's almost as known as the Superman lore of coming from Krypton.

Quickly, though, the movie moves to the early 40s, in the height of the US' involvment in World War II, and we see a young Steve Rogers trying desperately to get into the Army.  He wants to serve his country so, so badly, and it is even worse when he sees his best friend Bucky Barnes get taken and go overseas.

So when Stanley Tucci shows up and tells him to volunteer for an expiramental program that the military is developing, one that will counteract Hitler's science program called Hydra, Steve Rogers immediately jumps on board.  Hydra is being led by Johann Schmidt, and he's captured a mysterious cube full of energy which has allowed the Nazis to create a super weapon. 

Of course, Steve Rogers becomes Captain America, but to do so, he has to go through the expiramental program, which he does, develops a love interest, SSR Peggy Carter (played wonderfully by Hayley Atwell), clashes and follows Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones, who just eats up the screen with this type of character), and of course, The Tuch.   The Lovely Steph Leann and I love The Tuch.
Neal McDonough as Dum Dum, looking alot like the character in the
comic books.
And, of course Cap becomes a hero in the war, but not before he takes the long way around, in a scene that I didn't expect yet found hilarious and fitting to the story.  Cap also collects a band of soldiers to go into battle with him, including Dum Dum Dugan (That Guy Neal McDonough in a really-grown handlebar mustache and bowler hat) and Gabe Jones (Derek Luke, the Biker Boyz Boy himself).  And at some point, you know Cap and Johann Schmidt--more commonly known as The Red Skull--will go toe to toe in the climax.

My thoughts on the film?  Absolutely fantastic.

First, the story itself is solid.  It does veer into camp-territory at times, but its purposeful and light when it does.  The jokes aren't hokey or corny, except when they are, and when they are, its an homage to the comics.

Secondly, there are lots of references to the comic and its lore.  Everything from Tony Stark's father Howard being a major player in the development of the serum to the program itself--Captain America is actually Weapon I... for a point of reference, Wolvering is Weapon X, the tenth in the line of expiraments trying to make a super soldier. 

Forget Elrond the Elf King Guy... Hugo is best when he's a bad boy
Hugo Weaving is such a good bad guy too... borrowing his sneer from The Matrix, he's completely believable as a crazy, crazy guy wanting to take over the world, and the "cosmic cube" he finds is going to help him do it--if you saw "Thor", and stayed for the credits, thats the same cube that makes an appearance in the extra scene.

Finally, Chris Evans does his triple duty in comic book filmdom... first, he was The Human Torch in both the good Fantastic Four movie (the first one) and the bad Fantastic Four movie (the second one), and then last year's not great, yet still enjoyable "The Losers", and here, he's just great as Steve Rogers.  Scrawny at first, then bulking up to fill the costume and be the hero, he is great as someone who knows what its like to be powerless, which gives him the respect for the power he gains.  Word is that the F/X people couldn't replicate Chris Evans' movements via CGI, so they just filmed him, then shrunk his body on screen.  They used green screen to fill in the backgrounds where his body used to be before it was shrunk.

Its a little over 2 hours long, and its wall to wall fun, with very little language and the violence runs along the lines of comic-book-violence only.  As in, would I let a 3 year old Campbell Isaiah see this movie?  No.  Would I let a 7 year old Campbell Isaiah see this movie?  Probably.  Cause it rules.

Don't forget to stay through the credits, because there is the obligatory extra scene... and this one is a doozy... it's the actual "The Avengers" trailer for the May 2012 film.   I thought I was going to pee myself when I saw Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark talk to Thor, with The Black Widow in the background, Hawkeye with his bow and arrow and Captain America with his shield.

Loved it.  Saw it in 2D, wouldn't recommend 3D unless you are just jonesing to pay the extra.

ps... do not... I repeat, DO NOT, watch the 1990 "Captain America" film.  Its awful.  Its terrible.  And I don't mean bad like, "its so bad its awesome", or bad like "guilty pleasure" or even bad like "its so bad its craptacular", I mean "bad because its terrible".  You have been warned.

The Summer of Blogging Day Forty Six

1 comment:

  1. saw it and loved it, although per your request we sat through the credits and did not see the trailer for Avengers. boo that.


I want to hear your response! Click here!!