Notable Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones
Review: Captain America: protector of the American way. Without him how could we enjoy things like good ol’ American traditions like hot dogs, apple pie, the REAL game of football, and good old fashion laziness in peace? People have to remember that this was based off of a comic book though, and not some patriotic propaganda made just to make us Americans feel special. The Cap has a whole back story and everything. It’s not our fault no one cares about Captain Canada or that Italy isn’t protected by some genetically altered pizzeria owner who after ingesting radioactive dough gains the ability to contort his body anyway possible, like a delicious Mr. Fantastic (“Can I get that pizza half plain, and half….WITH JUSTICE.” I’m imagining that in the Christian Bale Batman voice. Shit yeah, I’m copywriting that). But getting back to what foreigners think must be an overblown idol that Americans use to feel better about themselves, Captain America is just another stepping stone before we get to the inevitable Avengers saga. The other Marvel release this year was Thor, which surprised the hell out of me, so could Captain America win me over the same way? Let’s just say I’m proud to be an American after that showing, but there are holes in the film that can’t be ignored.
Captain America (Evans) is one of those superheroes not born with his powers. Before he was the macho war hero we all know, he was just a weak hero wannabe named Steve Rogers who belonged nowhere near the battlefield. Turned away from every recruitment office, he finally gives it one last shot, and that’s where he meets Dr. Abraham Erskine (Tucci). He offers Steve a chance to be the soldier he dreams to be, but only if he enters a secret trial. Excited just to be admitted, Steve says yes. It turns out that Dr. Erskine has a serum that enhances all the qualities of a person to an exponential level. Erskine picks Steve because he sees him is a good person, and the serum will be safe to administer. So, into a chamber Steve goes, and after a few minutes, just like a Marvel Edition Easy Bake Oven out pops the new and improved Steve “Captain America” Rogers. From here we see the exploits of Captain America’s start, we meet his sidekick Bucky (Stan), his love interest Peggy (Atwell), and his nemesis Red Skull (Weaving). Steve is about to learn the hard way it isn’t easy being the face of a country.
Even the shield got an origin story….
Out of all the Marvel movies so far, this felt like the biggest stepping stone film in the sense that it was just made to get to the Avengers. I know that’s what an origin story is supposed to do, but all the other Marvel films as of late were able to extract a little more excitement from the source material. We obviously see Steve’s transformation from the scrawny heart filled dweeb into the sculpted from the gods Captain America. We see how he squeaks his way into battle. We hear the plans that he is to carry out, having to destroy numerous weapon’s facilities owned by Red Skull. But then, just as we’re getting to the most action filled part, Joe Johnston hits the fast forward button and skips all the way to the final battle basically. Instead of war based action, we get a montage of Captain America breaking doors down. Hold on, time out. So you rope me in by building Cap as a character, then cheat me out of a chunk of the ass kicking? I agree that it would have dragged out the movie if he showed us every single siege, but couldn’t he at least have thrown one more our way besides the last? Give us a taste of Captain America in some serious battle? It wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but I definitely would have enjoyed some more big scale war games involving the Captain leading his elite squad into battle.
But that wasn’t the only deterrent. Was I the only one that saw Captain America’s squad as nothing but comic book stereotypes? For example, Neil McDonough played Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan, the drunk but lovable soldier friend of Cap. But every time he talked, it was just like a robotic spewing of predictably silly lines. The characters didn’t translate onto the big screen, and remained rather cartoonish, whereas most other Marvel films have been able to translate characters into real life settings where possible. I won’t say this was aggravating or completely negative, but to me it kept Captain America from breaking the barrier between a good comic book film and a great comic book film.
Captain America was also the most romantically laden superhero film out of the recent Avenger origin films, which also didn’t really work for me. The relationship between Cap and Peggy was something of a cheesy romantic cliché, ending with one of those terrible exchanges that are drenched in lovey dovey bullshit. The whole dancing metaphor they used to “subtly” refer to their feelings was tired and played out, and was something out of a crappy romantic drama. I get stressing the sensitive side of Cap because his whole persona is based around being the wholesome, right-hearted, and strong-willed “Good Guy,” but there was no need to transform him into a giant pussy.
With all that said though, I did like Captain America. Cinematically it was a victory concerning eye appeasing sets, well planned period recognition via things like costumes, and a stress on minimal CGI (F#ck off Green Lantern.) I could get past the romantic banter, one-dimensional characters, and lack of action and still respect the film for what it was: an origin story. It succeeded in providing a crucial link to the chain that is the Marvel universe. We watched captain America transform from zero to hero, fight the bad guy, and were brought to the very moment where Cap joins the elite group of superheroes known as the Avengers. It just would have been nice if everything was a little tighter and more engaging, but I guess it’s hard to find that middle ground. The best part about watching Captain America though? Knowing full well The Avengers is finally next…
Final Rating: 7 lonely dances out of 10
This is the easily the best depiction of the romantic relationship in Captain America (Photo credit not mine, but whoever made this is the man)