Why Haven’t You Seen “Captain America” Yet?
It’s okay if you were concerned with this movie. Did the early bobblehead Chris Evans turn you off a little? Did the puffy-looking costume from early pics burn your eyes a little? Were you unsure how a movie starring the Human Torch, MiB’s K, and Agent Smith would turn out?
Well stop doubting this movie, dammit. It is–like most of the Marvel movies coming out now–pretty darn great, and director Joe Johnston does Steve Rogers just as much justice (yeah, I went there, pun intended) as Jon Favreau did Iron Man and Kenneth Branagh did Thor.
How is Evans as Captain America?
Chris Evans has done a lot of roles: a lot of them have been comics movies. I love Chris Evans (I do, don’t judge me) but he pretty much plays the same young, charming, brash, cocky, arrogant guy in all of his roles (some more than others, of course). This does not a Steve Rogers make. But believe me when I say that not only does Evans step out of his comfort zone, he nails it. In fact, I dare say it’s his portrayal that makes this movie what it is.
Evans is Steve Rogers, and obviously he is the heart of this film. And it is the heart that makes this movie shine, because everything in this plot revolves around Steve’s heart. From small underdog scrapper to full-fledged superhero, what never changes is Steve Rogers unrelenting notion of self-sacrifice and his unrelenting pursuit for peace. Steve Rogers is constantly thinking of others, constantly wondering what he can do to make the world a better place.
While this may make him sound like that annoying neighbor or coworker who is constantly bragging about donating to Greenpeace or PETA, Steve is never that. He is this humble, simple guy who just tries to follow what he thinks it right.
There are some notable exchanges in the movie that showcase this aspect of his character, particularly within the scenes starring Stanley Tucci as the memorable Dr. Erskine. When discussing the Super Soldier project with the humorously gruff Col. Phillips (played so well by Tommy Lee Jones), the good doctor makes it repeatedly understood that he isn’t looking for any brutish soldier who wants to go to war “just to kill nazis”. No, he’s looking for a soldier with a quality of heart, a quality that trascends the normal trappings of most men.
How about the rest of the cast?
Hayley Atwell does a good job as Agent Peggy Carter, portraying a believably tough female character who must contend with the fact that she’s in a profession where most of the men probably think she should be in a kitchen baking muffins. She’s Steve’s romantic interest, but most importantly his inspiration for really making the Captain America role his own.
Hugo Weaving plays a formidable Red Skull, although most of his role is limited to the typical movie-villain/nazi characteristics, namely his wanting to take over the world and just being plain EVIL. While this is sort of a letdown, it’s small, because it works for the character he portrays. The Red Skull is a behind the scenes insane nazi scientist super villain, so how much can you do with that?
Besides Peggy Carter and the Red Skull, there are tons of things to love about the supporting cast: included in this movie is Howard Stark (whose personality definitely passes onto his son, Tony), a tough Bucky Barnes, and the entire Howling Commandos (although not referred to as such).
How about the Visuals?
Visually, the movie borrows from similar movies, mainly in the design and hue of the film. It will definitely remind you of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but trust me, it works well in this sci-fi heavy WWII theme.
The biggest question fans have is how Evans looks as skinny-Steve. While many thought this was a stand-in whose head was replaced with Evans’s later (I even thought this), it is actually Evans’ body shrunk down to pint-size.
The benefits of this is that–while visually jarring for those of us who know Evan’s full frame–it allows all of his gestures and movements to flow naturally. After a while you actually get used to it, and it becomes a bit jarring to see him become super buff, because you get so accustomed to the former, puny Rogers that you watch for the earlier portion of the film.
Is there anything WRONG with this movie?
I do have three major gripes with this movie:
1) The Henchmen: The henchmen are as pathetically easy to kill as most Stormtroopers or ninjas or thugs in other movies you’ve seen, despite their advanced weaponry. An infiltration sequence in the movie is pulled off so easy that it’s laughable. This made me enjoy the action scenes less, because they provided so little challenge to Captain America.
Joe Johnston did some cool sequences that had a WWII movie serial vibe to it, not in the visual aesthetic, but within this montage segment that shows how badass Cap is. But with such dull enemies to fight, I found myself enjoying Steve Rogers the person more than I liked Steve Rogers as action here Captain America…
2) The Main Costume: The costume becomes easy to like, except for the helmet/cowl. While practical, it makes Steve Rogers look like some poor guy taking pictures at a theme park for rent money.
3) A Very Particular Death: This is more a fanboy gripe than anything, but anyone who knows anything about Captain America’s comic origins knows that a particular character dies. All I can say to avoid spoilers is that that character dies a relatively swift, cheap death that was less inspiring and more forgettable than it should have been.
All in all, this movie does not disappoint. It is certainly one of Marvel’s best movies. While I certainly have a few issues with this movie, they’re all so trivial that you can forgive them easily enough, especially when a witty line is said or Evans’s Steve Rogers makes a daring decision.
Throw in a few cool nods to the comics (like Arnim Zola, and Evans wearing both the original and sort of Ultimates version of his costume) and you have a movie that entertains, shows its fanboys some love, and properly prepares you for the upcoming Avengers Movie.
Like Kenneth Branagh’s Thor or Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, it’s worth seeing even if you’ve never like the character much or you’re simply unfamiliar with him. Marvel has taken great strides to deliver dynamic cinema, and this movie is definitely a must-see.
I give this movie:
8 Stars and Stripes.
NOTE: It’s a standard Marvel movie convention now towait til after the credits for a little something extra. This is probably the best post-credits sequence ever, so wait for it!