To me it seems like the recent trend of Marvel is to release a movie every month this year. This weekend Captain America: The First Avenger made its way into theatres portraying Marvel’s Man of Steel or Vibranium if you like. After talking with various chat groups, friends, and comic book readers, I realized that this movie had a lot to live up to. On one level, Marvel’s previous summer line up, Thor and X-men: First Class, were two good movies that had various positive qualities. The second and perhaps biggest obstacle to overcome though is the expectations of the fans of this classic series. Well my friends I’m here to say that Captain America is another Marvel flick worth seeing and does a good job at reviving the old comic book hero.
Let’s start off with a little recap of the trailer for those of you not familiar with the comic book series. This particular Marvel series is about a scrawny, determined, and brave man named Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) who has an extreme desire to serve his country. His noble heart combined with his stubbornness leads him to Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) a scientist looking to make a revolutionary hero. After some training and tests, Rogers goes through an operation, filled with pretty lights, intense music, and lots of loud sounds, which result in the Captain. After that we see the development of Captain America from poster boy to hero.
Now some of you may have noticed that Captain America looks a lot like The Human Torch from the Fantastic Four movie. Well that’s because he’s the same person my friends. However Evans is not as hotheaded or immature as we’ve seen in the past. Instead he plays a mature, disciplined, and naïve man whose determination drives his actions. Evans surprised me in this role, but I applaud how well he captured the brave soldier with a good heart role that is typical of the Captain. However Evans was not the only strong actor in this movie. Starring opposite of Evans was the lovely Hayley Atwell who played the suave Peggy Carter. Atwell did a decent job playing the British spy managing to balance the rugged solider attitude with very a very proper and charming nature. She made the character believable, not too emotional, yet not too super hero like either. Howard Stark, father of Iron Man, is in this movie as well and Dominic Cooper plays the part well. As we saw in Iron Man 2, Howard was a charismatic, pompous genius who evidently believed in a lot of things. Cooper took that brief glimpse and managed to portray a younger version of Stark who was a little more carefree, but still as witty and charismatic providing some comedic relief to the movie. Fans of Hugo Weaving will be happy to see the former agent smith debuting as the nefarious Red Skull, arch nemesis of the Cap. Weaving’s charming nature and ability to sound calm and angry at the same time were characteristic of a Nazi general. However the person who really stole the show for me was Tommy Lee Jones who played Colonel Phillips. In a role very similar to Agent K, Jones manages to play the part of a stuffy, sarcastic, and no tolerance leader who provides comedic relief in a natural way. Unlike comedic stars that seem to overact, Jones manages to deliver his lines in a casual manner that just makes you laugh.
Okay so the acting is pretty good what else does this movie have going for it. For one thing the story was well done in this movie. Unlike some of the other Marvel movies we have seen in the past which substitute action for story, Captain America instead really focuses on character development. The audience sees Rogers develop from a wimp into a super solider and over the course of his transformation sees the forging of bonds between various friends. Instead of Captain America having all of the answers, Rogers still continues to develop, learn, and understand what it means to be human and how to be the hero he desires. What impressed me even more was that this character development did not slow down the pace of the movie too much. Although there were some slow points in the movie, the general pace was quick enough to keep your attention, but slow enough to allow the audience to provide enough details to keep the audience in the know. One factor I believe helped keep the pace fun was the clever dialog in the movie. There was a large variety of dialog in the movie that matched with the characters personality and jobs, i.e. military jargon went with soldiers and science jargon went with scientists. Again I tell you that a lot of the dialog has some witty humor in it adding some spice to the movie and some diversity to the film as well.
Now some may be asking what about the action Robbie, is there action in the movie? Yes my friends the action that is famous in most Marvel movies is back once more. Although there is very little action at the beginning of the movie, with the exception of a chase scene, Captain America does eventually deliver the thrills we have been waiting for. However instead of full blown action sequences like we saw in Thor and X-men, Captain America shows off its action in snippets showing various actions over the course of the war. Near the end of the movie, we get an exciting sequence full of explosions, gun shooting, and fist punching adrenaline that comic book fans love. The cinematography for the most part has captured the action of this movie well, and the soundtrack added another level to the exciting action scenes.
However there were some things about this movie that I didn’t like. The first problem I had was that some of the special effects were a little too cheesy or fake for me. Countless jump scenes, some running sequences, and some grappling with various vehicles were blocky and fake looking. Such obvious fake looking special effects take away from the scenes, at least for me, and annoyed me at various times during the movie. The second thing that was a weakness for me was not focusing on the relationships between the troops and Captain America. Sure there are various scenes of the soldiers helping Cap, but I was still looking for more involvement with the special squad of soldiers. Perhaps the third weakness was that the movie was predictable and gave some obvious hints as to where the movie was going. Although there are a few other weaknesses like cheesy 3-D shot scenes and a song that gets stuck in your head, Captain America still has more strengths than weaknesses.
So was this movie worth they hype? Probably not for me although it was better than I expected. I was happy to see Marvel focusing on a character developing story and I did enjoy the action scenes for this movie better than most action movies I’ve seen this summer. Despite the cheesy special effects and lack of other soldier involvement, Captain America performed well for this comic book fan. Overall I give it 8.0 out of 10 and encourage Marvel fans to give it a try. So my fellow movie goers keep on enjoying the movies and remember to keep on reading my reviews.
Oh and by the way stay after the credits to get a glimpse of something I think you will all enjoy.