Release Date: July 22, 2011 (3D/2D theaters)
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios
Director: Joe Johnston
Screenwriter: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Stanley Tucci
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action)
Official Website: CaptainAmerica.com
The Patriotic Plot
Let’s not disillusion ourselves, Captain America presents the perfect storyline for the fellow American searching for that perfect movie to show what being a TRUE American should be like; selfless, brave, and willing to die for his fellow man. The film is about a 98 pound Steve Rogers with very little athletic ability, but has a heart of gold. His efforts to join the military have been persistent, yet pointless. It wasn’t until Dr. Abraham Erskine notices Rogers’ persistence and nominated him for a very special super soldier experiment, which increased his muscle mass, athleticism, healing system and metabolism. The perfect American soldier!
Enter the Nazi regime, Hydra! Led by Johann Schmidt, who, years back, was the first volunteer for the super soldier experiment. Of course, it wasn’t fully perfected yet and left him scared. Schmidt is now determined to destroy the world with this newly discovered source of energy to power his weapons of mass destruction and proclaim himself ruler of the world. Rodgers will now be put to the test and go tooth and nail against the Red Skull!
And Once The American and Nazi Slugfest Is Done…
It’s the third Marvel Comics film to hit the big screen this summer. But unlike Thor and X-Men: First Class, Captain America is a period film which pays tribute to the War World II movies of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Harkening back to the World War II era, Joe Johnston does this film justice by shouting out to the B-Movie clichés of manly military heroics of how America was striving for a super patriotic persona worldwide. It’s a classic film making technique of military nostalgia…and a bunch of Nazis.
For those of you who don’t know comics and their history, most of the superheroes that we know and love today were spawned out of that WW II era, and almost all of them were Nazi hating icons; Superman, Wonder Woman, even Spider-Man had his own tussles with Nazi supporters. Captain America, not surprisingly, was Timely Comics’ (the name of the publishing company before changing to Marvel Comics) most popular hero, rivaling even Superman and Wonder Woman who were both born out of that same anti-Nazi sentiment. But as the war ended, so did the Captain’s popularity. It wasn’t until just over a decade ago when the Captain’s popularity came back full swing, now owning of his own full-length feature film!
Unfortunately, Director Quentin Tarentino gave movie goers a different perspective on the whole World War II era with his film “Inglorious Basterds” which could jolt the younger viewers going to see Captain America’s first theatrical film. Filled with corny one-liners and over the top patriotism, this film is nothing but an American tribute to the brave and selfless men and women who have died or sacrificed something in the name of freedom…as it should be. (gag, I’m going to be sick.)
Johnston did right in giving Steve Rogers that corny “poster boy for America” feel, script and all. For those of you who think Superman is a boy scout, just watch Capy’s movie and think about that again. But Rodgers doesn’t simply want to defend America from the Nazi’s, but rather be a defender of humanity. While lying on his medical bed after being asked the question “Do you want to Kill Nazis son?” His response was “I don’t want to kill anyone…I hate bullies.” Johnston portrays Captain America appropriately with that one line. This is a Captain America for a modern age.
But know this, the film is purposefully corny. You may find yourself slapping your hand against your forehead, sarcastically asking yourself “did he seriously just say that?” Just remember, the types of corny one liners you’ll find in this film are appropriate for the time period it’s shouting out too. Allow yourselves to sit back and take a trip to the 1950’s when World War II films were just like this (minus the better acting, better special effects, and writing) and take a look into your parents cinematic upbringing…you might appreciate it even more. The music alone should make you feel like you’re watching something from almost 60 years ago. (But of course I’m 30, so what do I really know about living in the 1950s right?)
While the film gives us a wonderful movie going experience of the 1950’s, with excellent costuming, faded film colorization, and awesomely cheesy patriotic productions – show girls, fireworks and all, Captain America doesn’t present anything new. It’s a story about a little guy who overcomes great odds and, by the end of the film, saves the day becoming an inspiration to everyone. The film’s plot progression also mimics that of a typical Hollywood production; typical Hollywood love story, typical Hollywood heroics, typical Hollywood inspirational speeches, and typical Hollywood use of one liners used at the beginning of the movie in the film’s climax to help bring the two lovers and/or friends together in a cheesy moment of friendship and love. (GAG!)
I also wasn’t entirely sure what the Red Skull was trying to do. He had this source of unbelievable, God-like power, and his plan was to do…what?!? I get the impression it was to take over the world, but it was never truly made clear…simply implied by the names of cities painted on the bomb-like propeller jets in Skully’s enormous fighter plane of death.
The casting for this film was perfect. Chris Evans was a masterful Captain America and much different from his role as the Human Torch. So what happens if Marvel decides to do a crossover movie with Captain America and the Fantastic Four? (It won’t happen, I’m just being silly.) Hayley Atwell portrays an excellent, strong-willed love interest for Stevie, and Tommy Lee Jones does wonderful with his typical dry humored portrayal of Colonel Chester Phillips. Hugo Weaving, as always with any role he plays, is perfect as the Red Skull. Although I wasn’t particularly impressed with the make-up job…he just didn’t seem scary enough. The 1990’s “direct to video” version of the Red Skull was 10 times scarier than the most current version.
Of course, the reviews are doing nothing but compare Captain America to the all time greatest superhero movie to ever come out in theaters…the Dark Knight…as well as getting hit with compare and contrast notes by some of the more recent comic book films to come out. Let’s be perfectly clear, this is not a film about a team of mutants, a deity of Norse mythology, a human who wears a ring of mystical energy, or a womanizing male who goes out every night scaring the living daylights out of anyone walking the streets. This is a Captain America film! It isn’t supposed to compare to all the others. So let’s not worry about how it compares to the rest, just worry about its “stand-alone” ability as a film in and itself.
Despite its very awkward ten minute set-up sequence for the Avenger’s movie towards the end of the film, (set for a 2012 summer release date) Captain America does quite well in my opinion. And to be honest, after X-Men, this might just be Marvel’s best film to date.
8 out of 10 stars.