I’ve got to admit when Hal gave me his feedback for the Green Lantern movie, and the recent lackluster Marvel movie of Thor being drastically sidetracked by Natalie Portman; I was incredibly hesitant to get my hopes up that Captain America would be good.
When it comes to movies that I know, I really, really want to see, I tend to get a little eccentric. I go through great lengths to avoid trailers, screen shots, and won’t read anything remotely resembling a review of the movie before I see it in the theatre. This can be as simple as not reading any posts on a forum, or be as complex and (admitted) absurd as literally walking out of the room/theatre when commercials/trailers begin (my friends get a real kick out of this). Call it superstition, call it stupidity, call it whatever you like; the end result is my pallet is 100% void of any outside influence when I go to see the movie. I don’t know how certain scenes go down because of what was shown in a commercial, I don’t know what other characters might look or act like based on someone’s review, it’s just me and the movie. Honestly, it makes for a really enjoyable experience; everything I see is 100% new to me.
Looks like a comic book cover
So that’s what I did for Captain America. I shut myself out from all forms of “contact” with the movie until opening day. The only biases that went into the theatre with me were my expectations of what ‘a Captain America movie should be for me’ and my knowledge of the current trend most recent comic movies have taken (Thor and Green Lantern).
I was pleasantly surprised when they spent a good hour on a well crafted character development of the story of Steve Rogers. A lot of times these comic movies will stuff the screen with obvious computer generated graphics, but Captain America didn’t do that, even though they grafted Chris Evan’s head on a sickly body, it wasn’t glaringly obvious and after a while you accept it and begin to ignore it because of the dialogue and rich tones of the 1940’s overtake it. A lot of the early effects are computer rendered in some way or another, but they do it in a relatively subtle way.
The action takes a bit of a sideways turn (really challenging the suspension on one’s disbelief) from the great foundation the first hour lays out, as Hydra merges magical energy into Nazi technology making disintegration rays. Watching the action take place you definitely don’t get that classic World War II feeling. Instead of getting something resembling the action scenes in Saving Private Ryan, we’ve got G.I.’s fighting with guys shooting lasers back at them. A very tough sell, but you know what? It’s a comic book movie so you’ve got to grant them a little lee-way. The result of the second hour also feels a little rushed, and they montage Cap’s fight to stop Hydra into their last stronghold.
Comical-Musings does not support nor approve of Nazis
Cap doesn’t have as much interaction with the Red Skull as you’d hope, so you miss out on a lot of that classic good versus evil banter they usually share, but Hugo Weaving still does a great job playing the Skull none-the-less. Despite less screen time he does a good job of anchoring the bad guy aspect of the movie. Aside from some of these minor hiccups Captain America: The First Avenger is still a great movie. Lots of great character cameos and they do a decent job of staying true to Captain America canon.
What the movie does that really makes it stand out, unlike other stories where the hero develops a sense of heroism after they’ve gained their powers or abilities, Steve Rogers is a hero long before he is ever experimented on. He’s compassionate, brave, smart, fearless and patriotic. All of these heroic traits are portrayed during his back-story and throughout the movie; the only factor he lacks early on, is the physical ability to do anything with his heroic attitude. Steve desires to join the fight and help his country out so much that he’s willing to continually get rejected by the Army time after time, but he keeps going back, trying to get accepted. A scientist overhears his plight and elects to enroll him in a special program (unbeknownst to him, designed to find a worthy test subject to take the super soldier serum), because Steve lacks power, he will appreciate it and use it justly, while ‘stronger’ men (like the Skull) would grow drunk on the power. I think this major theme makes the movie, they stick ardently to it throughout and go out of their way at times to depict Steve’s forthright attitude. Everyday heroes are among us, it doesn’t take a cape or superpowers to stand up for what’s right; that basic element is why I loved the movie so much. It’s easily worth the price of admission, go see it.