Captain America: The First Avenger

Posted: August 4, 2011 by Micah in Movie Reviews
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Micah Reviews: Captain America: The First Avenger

Ah Captain America. A man who, I must confess, I thought was fairly lame until recently. And when I say recently I mean last night. Which is when I watched Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s a movie with guns, shields, and a guy who looks like a walking advertisement for Big Red gum.

On an utterly unrelated note, did you know you can order gum from Amazon.com? I kid you not! Who thinks “Man I could go for some gum… let me check on Amazon here and… (5 minutes later) There! Now I just have to wait 5-7 days and I’ll be golden… I mean Red!!”

 

 The Plot:

Steven Rogers is a tiny man. And that’s coming from me. And for those of you who don’t know me I’m not exactly Hercules (though I’m close). Anyway Steven has been trying to get into the army for years and… Oh wait it’s also 1942. Sorry, I forgot. It’s 1942. So, Steve’s been trying to get into the army for years and has been turned down four times already. But you know what they say: “if you can’t beat’em… keep trying.” Or something. Anyway, on Steven’s fifth time he gets chosen by a German doctor to be entered into the Super-Secret Super Soldier Super Program of Awesomeness (which I may have embellished a bit) and thus the plot is accelerated.

So they pump Steve with more steroids than Barry Bonds on his best day (it’s a baseball joke. Don’t worry if you don’t get it. Just keep going) and low and behold, he becomes big. Like really big. Unfortunately right as everyone is commenting on Steve’s new found pecs, a Hydra agent (Hydra being a rogue Nazi group) sneaks into the lab! He kills the German Doctor, blows up the lab, and cackles maniacally as he drives away in his schnitzel van! (that last one didn’t happen. I just like the word schnitzel.) So Steve (who we shall henceforth call Captain America) becomes the only Super Soldier in the Super Soldier program to be Supered.

Somewhere in there were introduced to the VERY German Johann Schmidt (played by Hugo Weaving) who leads Hydra and has the full intention of taking over the world so he can make everyone wear ridiculous helmets. Captain America starts chasing him down, Schmidt pulls his face off, and some vaguely attractive British girl is largely worthless.

The Negatrons:

Generally I give the positives before the negatives but I’m switching it up here and we’ll see what happens. Honestly there really aren’t a whole lot of things I didn’t like about Captain America. That’s not to say it was a perfect movie just that it generally held together well enough to where it’s difficult to pick out one thing and say that it didn’t work.

The script is solid, though it manages to be fairly un-epic. A few funny one liners get thrown around and the atmosphere is very well maintained and… See what I mean? This is becoming a positive! Once again it’s not that the script is great and it’s not that there aren’t some weird lines. Like my personal favorite, which gets dropped during the climactic last battle:

Big Bad guy: You never give up do you?

Captain America: (Long dramatic pause) No.

Really? “No”??? Come on Captain!

But once again the script isn’t bad. The lines are well delivered, Captain America is believable and… yeah. Not great, but certainly more than good enough.

Another flaw is that at times the marriage of 1942 and Futuristic Nazi weaponry comes off a little harsh. It’s just awkward in a period 1942 piece to have Germans in weird hats marching around firing lasers. The sorest spot pops up in a motorcycle race in which the Captain is launching flames out of the back of his bike and setting up trip wires in trees. The scene feels mostly unnecessary honestly, and just doesn’t seem to really fit. It’s not a huge flaw though, and there are times when it does work so… yeah. Once again I can’t really fault it.

My last (and most nit-picky) comment is that Hugo Weaving just doesn’t get enough screen time. Weaving plays the main villain but once he becomes Red Skull (the villainous alter ego) he just sort of marches around looking like a huge bill board for skin care gone wrong. Once again this can’t really be listed as a complete flaw because it’s not that Red Skull isn’t a good villain, it’s just that Hugo Weaving is awesome.

The positives:

A quick look at the career of Hugo Weaving: V for Vendetta, Lord of the Rings, Transformers, The Matrix, The Wolfman (horrible movie but he played a cool character). I mean the man’s career is just epic! Now he adds playing an iconic villain in Captain America to the list and will be returning as Elrond in two upcoming Lord of the Rings movies. My. Goodness.

Captain America is a great period piece. The lines, sets, and atmosphere all hail back to a much simpler time in American history. Yes, it is occasionally broken up by high tech laser fire, but on the whole the movie just feels right. A quality cast led by Chris Evans, the aforementioned Weaving, and yet another brilliant performance by Tommy Lee Jones fit right into the mix and carry the film very well!

Another thing I really appreciate about this movie (and Thor before it) is the relative family friendliness they boast. Yes, they are PG-13 and yes they contain some violence of the punching/kicking/being hit with hammers variety but on the whole they maintain a fairly clean feel to them. Obviously not all movies with PG-13 ratings will be but I appreciate Disney (who now owns Marvel Comics) pulling back on some of the rampant sexuality that had started to creep in to the super hero world. One of my big problems with a movie like Transformers 2 (which was filled with LOADS of unnecessary sex) was that you know parents are going to be coming to these movies with their kids. It’s Transformers for goodness sake! Now part of that falls on the parents for not doing a some research before they drag little Johnny to the theater but it’s nice to see that we can still have comic role models like Captain America and Thor without having to deal with all the sexuality.

All in all Captain America is a warm, relatively easy going story. I’m as much a fan of the Dark Knight and the dark realism in comic books as anyone but sometimes it’s nice to just see the good guys pick up a win and throw around some shiny shields.

In Conclusion:

Captain America: The First Avenger was a good movie. It wasn’t great, but it certainly did more right than it did wrong. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the feel of the setting and characters. On the whole it’s a great romp through the 40’s helmed by a very likeable cast of characters and a lot of red paint.

I give it 4 Super-Secret Super Soldiers out of 5.

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