Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CaptainAmerica: The First Avenger

The title says it all, the one movie leading up to what can possibly be the single most greatest comic book movie ever! There’s a lot riding on Josh Whedon’s superhero assembly next year, what with all the great origin movies coming out to lead up to The Avengers. And there’s no turning back now!  Captain America: The First Avenger’s title character is the leader and heart of The Avengers, so to bring him in now is the final step in setting up the ultimate movie next year.
But, again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Captain America is a comic book character I didn’t follow, but was always interested in when they tried to bring him to life on screen. He was first brought to the screen in the 40s in serials, then they tried in the late 70s when they cast Reb Brown running around in a motorcycle helmet and doing nothing with the shield. But in 1990, they almost had it right with a good-looking costume and a nice make-up job to depict Scott Paulin as the Red Skull. However, the movie was kind of boring and had the typical dialogue you hear in 1990s movies that will make you laugh today.

Yes, we knew it was coming, since we caught a glimpse of the shield in the first Iron Man film and a deleted scene from The Incredible Hulk supposedly showed a body frozen in the ice that may have been Mr. Steve Rogers himself. So all us comic book geek brethren waited with baited breath as the release date drew near.

The only news I was concerned with when keeping track of the production news was when they announced Joe Johnston was directing it and that Chris Evans was cast as Steve Rogers, aka Captain America.

Johnston was a worry because he had some downers, in my opinion, under his belt. He directed Jurassic Park III and, most recently, The Wolfman. I enjoyed both of those movies, but for the upcoming Avengers film, all these inaugural films have to be stellar in the box office to be sure of the beginning ensemble extravaganza. However, he did direct The Rockateer a while back, which captured the feel of the era, so I felt there was some hope.

Evans concerned me because of how he constantly made quips and jokes in every movie I’d seen him in thus far. But I held faith and heard in an interview that he was going to take the character in a serious path, so I thought it might work with him in the lead.

So a few weeks ago, I went to the local cinema complex and sat down to watch Captain America: The First Avenger.

I loved it.

The origin truly showed how much love this individual had for his country and his drive to join the military as he went to every recruitment office he could venture to, seeing if there was one that would accept his weak, frail body.

It wasn’t until he went with his friend, Bucky—already in the army and about to head off to fight the Nazis—at the Stark Expo (where we see where Tony Stark gets his eccentric personality as Dominic Cooper portrays Howard Stark, Tony’s father, perfectly) and Steve decides to try to enlist again at the recruitment station inside the expo. Bucky tells him it won’t work and tries to get Steve to come with him with a couple of girls to go dancing and forget about joining. Steve tells him how important it is for him to join, that he wants to be over in Germany to fight along with all the other soldiers who are giving their lives for him and his country. He tells Bucky that he feels he owes that much and wants to do his part. This is where we first see Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine, overhearing the conversation intently. Bucky doesn’t talk Steve out of trying to enlist and says goodbye to Steve as he has to deploy the following day. Next, Steve is going through his rigmarole of trying to enlist and Erskine intervenes, gettingRogers accepted. He gets Steve to take part in an experiment and a Super Soldier is born.

The beginning of the film is quite an origin story, taking a while to get to Captain America getting in to fight in the war, but quite awe-inspiring as the story gets there. The introduction of Howard Stark, Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) and other familiar characters from CaptainAmerica’s universe keeps the film interesting. We’re also introduced to Johann Schmidt (the Red Skull) and how Thor’s world is intertwined there, which is pretty awesome. The start of the movie will leave you wondering how the heck they were able to make Chris Evans look like a little runt, but you forget about it quickly as the story progresses. The cinematography captures the feel of the era just like The Rockateer did and you really feel like this took place in the 40s. Overall, Joe Johnston did a great job in the director’s

And, of course, the shield was pretty awesome and used perfectly. It wasn’t something that Cap carried around to shield him from weapons, but used as a weapon itself as he sliced it through the air boomeranging and ricocheting off walls—and villains—back into Cap’s hands.

Ofcourse, no spoilers here, but stick around after the credits for an added scene, which leads to a nice surprise afterwards.

My final “bit” on Captain America: The First Avenger? Chris Evans did a wonderful job, putting on the straight face and showcasing his talent to become a leading man who was believable in every scene. He made me wish I’d joined the military when I was younger and made me love my country even more than I already had. The film was a great patriotic film and it’s a shame they didn’t release it during the Fourth of July weekend. It would’ve been a perfect film for that time. Along with the two Iron Man films and Thor, this film will definitely take a high space in my DVD and Blu-Ray collection.

No comments: