Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quick Take: Captain America - The First Avenger


Thank to a local radio station, 96.5 BOB , the j-man and I hit the midnight showing of "Captain America: The First Avenger" last night.

Wow.

In a summer full of superhero, comic-inspired films like "Green Lantern," "Thor," and "X-men: First Class," the Captain certainly nails it. I've seen 2/3rds of the list mentioned have to say that this movie plain WORKS.

There are two big reasons it works.
1. Joe Johnston, the director, has immense respect for the character and the story and he tells it to borderline perfection. I talked about him before and why he was perfect for this movie. I think I need to revisit his "epitome movie."
2. Chris Evans IS Captain America. I am sure others could have carried the role, but Evans displays a humility that few roles have required him to carry before. See my discussion of his "trajectory" to this role. He has the strength and charisma required of the part, but the humility of Captain America was key to how the role HAD to be played. He pinned it down and had it.

The movie works NOW in our post-9/11. Few people might realize there was a "Captain America" movie in 1990. While it followed the same basic storyline, the patriotism of Captain America was not going to be felt by a pre-Gulf War American public. Here we are twenty-one years later and we have soldiers displaying the same humility and call to action that Evans displays so well in this film.

The timing for the movie was set much better than it could have been in pre-9/11 world. Our society can now relate to the call to action of a World War II era hero who only wanted to fight because it was the right thing to do.

What didn't work with this film?

- The framing sequence, while done well and brings the Cap into the modern era fairly well falls apart with some logic, but it does bring the hero into the Marvel movie fold well enough and fits the mold of the comic story.
- Wished there were more Skull-Cap conflicts. Sure, he ripped through the henchdudes like he owned them, but more direct conflict would be nice.
- The costume was overall ok, but the headpiece always looked weird and honestly, why? They don’t give a convincing reason for him to be disguised do they?

What worked?
- Evans, Jones, Tucci, Weaving, et al sold their parts. This could easily be cheesy campfest, but they refused to go there.
- The effects were top-notch.
- Joe Johnston GOT the ideas here. He was the right man at the right time just like Favreau was for “Iron Man.”

Finally, I didn’t hate the ending- it HAD to happen to get Cap into the modern era and if you know the comics AT ALL, the ending isn’t a surprise, but the way it was done and what happens is really logic-defying (IE, don’t think to hard).

Otherwise, Josh probably had it nailed when he said this was probably the best of the Marvel movies. Course, he also said it would make a killer video game.