Friday, July 22, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

My darling wife let me sneak out of the house today to see Captain America: The First Avenger. It may be the last movie I see in a theater for a while. Not complaining, just stating a fact. And I've been doing well seeing all the Marvel tentpoles, so naturally, I figured I'd better make my last one this one.

For those of you unfamiliar with Cap's mythology, allow me to educate you: Steve Rogers is the quintessential 98-pound weakling, but one with a huge heart. He wants to serve in the United States Army during World War II, so much so that he tries multiple times at multiple stations to enlist. The problem is, Steve has a host of medical issues that keeps him classified as 4F.

His only chance is to agree to an experimental program, one designed to create a squad of super-soldiers. But due to a small problem, Steve is the only one to receive the treatment, thus making him Captain America.

At first, Cap is only used as a USO sideshow, but soon he finds himself on the front lines, facing an evil German scientist known as the Red Skull, the head of a Nazi research group called HYDRA. Red Skull had diabolical plans that could reshape the world, but that's only if Captain America can't stop him!

I'm not quite sure what to think of this movie. I had a lot of fun watching it. While no one is going to win an Oscar for this one, there were some great performances by Tommy Lee Jones as a gruff drill sergeant (I know, what a stretch for him, huh?). And Hugo Weaving left bite marks all over the scenery as the Red Skull. And Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter was kind of fun too.

Chris Evans as Cap? Well, let's see here. I kind of liked him better when he was the scrawny runt. For some reason, I appreciated his heart a whole lot more. It was almost as if once he became the super soldier, he got swallowed by the loud explosions and action sequences. And while I kind of get the need for an action montage in the middle of the movie, I thought it detracted from it a bit.

What really bothered me, though, is how they left one major plot thread dangling. I won't say what it is, but it's something that I think they should have resolved at the very end. Maybe they're saving it for the Avengers movie next year. Or maybe there will be future Cap movies that will sew things up. But it would have been more organic to resolve it in the first movie.

And, speaking of the Avengers, make sure you stick around until the very end, okay? Once again, over half the audience left without seeing the tag, which turns out to be a sneak preview of the Avengers movie. Not a lot in terms of plot, but it is interesting to see Cap, Tony Stark, and Thor hanging around in what I can only assume is a SHIELD conference room.

Anyway, Cap wasn't as good as the first Iron Man movie or Thor. I think it was marginally better than the second Iron Man movie. And it does have me eager to see what Joss is cooking up for us next summer.

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