Tuesday, July 26, 2011
What I Thought of "Captain America: The First Avenger"
WARNING: There are some small spoilers ahead, so be careful upon reading if you haven’t seen “Captain America” yet.
The last time I saw a movie based on Captain America, it was the early 1990s and there was a direct-to-video adaptation starring the son of J.D. Salinger in the title role. His mask had rubber ears (for real) and his Nazi arch nemesis the Red Skull was transformed into an Italian douche bag. Needless to say, it was pretty fucking awful.
Now fast forward to 2011, and here we are with “Captain America: The First Avenger”; a big budget adaptation of the classic Marvel icon that serves as a precursor to the eagerly anticipated take on “The Avengers”, which finds Cap uniting with fellow Marvel icons Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johanson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to take on an assortment of baddies. Did this new take on Cap do the character justice? Fucking eh right it did!
First off, let it be known that Cap has for the most part been known as a fairly lame superhero. He’s pretty much Marvel’s version of Superman: a do-gooding boy scout of a superhero and an American propaganda tool at that. Still, despite all that, there was always something about Cap that really got to me even when I was a kid. There’s just something about him that always seemed some kind of badass to me despite his goody-good demeanor and presentation. Thankfully, this new “Captain America” fully illustrated all that and more.
Chris Evans, who has been in a shit ton of comic book movies over the past few years (the two abysmal “Fantastic Four” flicks, “Push”, “The Losers”, “Scott Pilgrim VS The World”) stars as the weakling turned super soldier, who is the very definition of the word hero. He has a never say die attitude and just wants to do the right thing. That in itself is what really puts the “hero” in superhero for Cap, and thankfully director Joe Johnston (“The Wolfman”, “The Rocketeer”) recognizes this in spades.
The film as a whole is a fairly breezy affair, but nevertheless it’s an enjoyable set-up for “The Avengers” and features a fairly good turn by villain extraordinaire Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from “The Matrix” flicks) as the Red Skull. It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t the best Marvel movie you’ll ever see, but it does the character plenty of justice in the end, and really you can’t ask for much more than that. By the time it comes to an end, it’s the present day and the fateful meeting between Cap and Nick Fury perfectly sets up what’s to come next, which we get a very small dose of after the credits as we see a quick teaser of “The Avengers”. The fact that this film is being made with big-name actors makes me feel like a little kid again; which in itself is no small feat. I can safely say that my usual brand of rampant cynicism isn’t on overdrive here, and yes, next May can’t fucking come soon enough.
So no matter how you may have thought of Captain America as a character, if you’re a Marvel fan in the least you should definitely check out “Captain America: The First Avenger”; it’s a surprisingly fun trip, and it won’t make you gag on over-the-top American ideologies and clichés either.