Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Weeks Too Late: Captain America

Captain America. Directed by Joe Johnston & Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.

: I am taking a short break from my Shirley Jackson-fest this week to turn my eyes to something a little more modern (strictly caused by getting out to see Captain America and nothing at all to do with finding the 1963 version of the Haunting to be an unendurable slog). The Marvel movies have been nothing but enjoyable this year, even Thor (a character I care nothing about) and X-Men First Class (a prequel demanded by no one). But of the lot, I was most excited for Captain America. Really, they had me at the choice to set it almost entirely in World War 2. I'm simply not that big a fan of modern day Cap. Sure it's fun to watch him be a fish out of water, but other than that there really isn't much to distinguish him from 100 other characters. But put Cap in the 40's and you've got my interest. I love the espionage, the classic adventure comic feel and the straight up pulp.

General Review
: I had a blast. Really, this was almost exactly what I was looking for. We spent maybe 10 minutes in the present (I was worried the screen time would be half and half) and it was a rip roaring adventure movie that put me in mind of Sky Captain and the Rocketeer (and I mean that in the best possible way, I loved those flicks). Captain America's brand of pro-USA zeal was the most stylish and palatable way I've seen patriotism presented in ages. Plus, it managed to fit in a full musical number that absolutely worked.

This was a great cast with no need for qualification. I love watching Hugo Weaving loom, rant and threaten and it was a pleasure to see him do so again. Also, I'm told by a certain German speaking co-writer that his accent was reasonably good and didn't make her cringe. Chris Evans sold the plucky weakling and the courageous, if somewhat naive, super hero. Though, as far as busty blondes go, I'll take Chris Hemsworth first, please (oh and while I'm being exploitative, Sebastian Stan-I'd "buck" him) . I loved Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine (the creator of the Super Soldier Serum), and believed in his gentle heart and genius. Dominic Cooper (as well as being the spitting image of Andrew Ryan) was great as Tony Stark's father, he was boisterous and charming. And of course, seeing Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones be military tough guys was a treat.

Well, we can't have me reviewing a super hero movie without getting on my soap box about the female leads. Y'know, about how they stink. Captain America was a pleasa
nt surprise. While I wouldn't say that Hayley Atwell (as Peggy Carter) was anything to write home about in a typical movie, she was a cut above the dross I've become accustomed to (a bit sad that the strongest chick lead we've seen to date is from the un-liberated 40's). Atwell didn't seem to shrink to nothing when Evans (Captain America) was in the room. For a change I could see why this powerful man would even glance her way. She was strong, poised and intelligent as well as being pretty. I also believed that she could do a job, any job, unlike some of the Megan Fox-style mouth breathers we've seen cast as leading ladies. I wasn't astonished by her performance, but it was solid and given the company she's keeping that means a lot. I will say that watching her run around after Cap crystallized one more reason I'm usually rooting for the chick villains rather than the heroines: they don't think solely with their hearts. With their libidos, sometimes. But I'm deeply tired of watching women put it all on the line for the man they love. C'mon, ladies, you can be in love and not jeopardize your military careers. And this has gotten very long and shrieking harpy, so lets change the subject.

Despite my ongoing beef with female leads in super hero movies, I don't have too many nits to pick in Captain America and most of them are along the lines of "it wasn't lo
ng enough." There wasn't nearly enough time for Bucky and Cap's relationship to play out, I know they were friends because they mentioned it, but we didn't have nearly enough time to see it. The movie went along at a quick pace, which I liked, but It wouldn't have been a bad thing to slow down just a bit to let us enjoy the characters. One more mission with Bucky and the Squad really could have made a difference.

The whole design of the movie was wonderful. Cap's armor never looked stupid (almost as difficult to do as making the armor i
n Thor not lame), though I liked him more in the leather jacket and tights, oddly enough. The final armor was a bit too much like a football uniform. I'm always a fan of Captain America in goggles. Also, it was a nice change to see the Allies looking so spiffy, I haven't seen enough movies where the slickness of the US officer uniforms is showed off. It almost goes without saying that the giant 40's technology looked cool, I love the future of the 40's. It was also nice that the Red Skull didn't spend 90% of the movie with a normal human face and that Cap wore his helmet most of the time (oh and that he didn't steal anyone's car).

You nerds don't need me to tell you to go see Captain America, in fact most of you have probably already seen it. If for some inexplicable reason you're waiting for my blessing, you do so have it. For those of you not clinically geeky, I have it on good authority from Doomwench (who doesn't read many comics, and only went with us as penance for suggesting Priest) that this was a good time even without a lot of background knowledge. Despite a few flaws and missteps, this was a solid movie and I'd be very surprised if you don't enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. He stole the Red Skull's car in a loving homage to the shitty 90s movie! Unfortunately, the scene where Cap pretends to throw up was cut.