Friday, July 22, 2011

Ten Statements--No, Wait, Eleven!--About....CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)

"I think I will show this to Dr. Rubik..."
"General Patton has said that wars are fought with weapons but are won by men. Our goal is to create the greatest army in history. But every army begins with one man. He will be the first in a new breed of super-soldier. We are going to win this war because we have the best men. And they, personally, will escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell."


What? You want more? Okay...

2) Once again--the strength of Marvel's movie projects is proven to be finding the right person for the job, giving them a general idea and getting the hell out of their way. Joe Johnston, who proved he knew his WWII period adventures with The Rocketeer, is allowed to just go crazy and create a balls out action epic with a strong character core...

3) ...and that core could not have worked without Chris Evans--who once again proves he's a better actor than people think he is by taking a low-key approach to playing both Steve and Captain America. What's more important, he stays low-key, so that we get a sense that Steve Rogers is still Steve at his core, even when he's slinging that shield around and kicking Nazis in the chops.

" guys...I know you're making faces behind
my back...."
4) Another small but significant thing about Johnston's work--he doesn't shirk from the fact that this is a war movie, and as such, is unapologetic about the fact that Cap does kill.

5) By turning Bucky into a peer of Steve as opposed to a teen, it both sidesteps the idea that Cap dragged a kid into war zones, and opens the door for a Winter Soldier down the line. Similarly, I love how they simply folded Cap into the Howling Commandos, thus sidestepped the whole Chaykin caused mess of Nick Fury living into his old age intact.

6) You know...I wonder if somebody could take Hayley Atwill and somehow digitally replace the mannequin who played Emma Frost in X-Men First Class...because that girl knows how to work an accent.

7) Much like Spider-Man 2, the script by Christopher Markus and Stephen Feeley does something comics didn't back in the day--it gives us a better sense of Dr. Erkstine and gives him a fatherly relationship with Steve. And given the chemistry between Evans and Stanley Tucci, that relationship works even better.

8) Another great bit of chemistry is the one between Hugo Weaving and Toby Jones as Armin Zola. I just wish Jones didn't disappear at the end of Act Two, and that we somehow got a glimpse of him in a simile of his grotesque TV Head form.

"Why yes...yes, you may touch my manly chest."
9) I'm impressed with the fact that so many of the stunts seem to be practically pulled off...or are some combination of practical and CGI that strengthens both elements...and since Johnston is one of those guys who believes you need to see fights as if, you know, you're seeing a fight, there's very little of that stupid shakey-cam.

10) Man...can we add Neal MacDonough to the list of Actors Who Were Born To Play Their Marvel Characters? His Dum Dum Dugan is just uncanny.

11) Yes...yes, I marked out when I saw The Human Torch...why'd you ask?

Overall...this may very well be my favorite super-hero movie of this year, a pure action film with a lot going for it. Hell, this is right up there with the first Iron Man in my rankings....a fitting capper to the whole Avengers plan...

I went to Kips Bay today, and not counting the trailer for The Avengers that ran as the after-credits scene, there were seven trailers including the first one for The Amazing Spider-Man that pretty much left me with no opinion, the same boring one for the Tiny Bourne-espqe Abduction, an equally bland one for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol which has ceased to convince me to see it even with added Simon Pegg, and the one that did work for me--namely, the one for The Adventures of Tintin, that peaked me interest even before it revealed that Stephen Moffat wrote it. I also had to suffer through part of the FirstLook, including an awful promo for the ABC series Once Upon A Time, which doesn't even bother to hide the fact that it's stolen whole from Fables, and the 'unlike anything you've seen before (unless you watch Mad Men) period series Pan Am...which at least has Christina Ricci in a tight stewardess uniform.


  1. Awesome Review Thomas, I'm seeing it Monday and cannot wait.

  2. Oh! The red-suited thing at the expo! Duh!