Reviews: Captain America The First Avenger
Like being slapped in the face with a wet eagle
I'll admit I've never been a fan of comics, mainly due to their overwhelming america-ness of most of them, so I didn't have the highest of hopes for this film (being quite a classic Brit, I find 'America The Great' thing quite tiring). Really, even taking into account my expectations, it was quite disappointing. There were a few glimmers of hope, promising a more deep or interesting story, but they were almost immediately crushed by the tedious, flat and unceasing conveyor belt of one-dimensional characters. The only parts I really enjoyed were the SchizoTech elements, but they were also tinged with the feeling that surely HYDRA (I'm assuming it's allcaps) wouldn't be the only people with such advanced technology. Overall, I found the film quite pointless and certainly very missable. Compared to Iron Man and even Thor, Captain America was a stark and disappointing contrast. By the end, I think I felt about the same as if someone had stood in front of me and monotonously recited the American constitution in full.
Well…That Was Unexpected
I went into this with low expectations. Having seen and hated the Avengers and Captain America in that film, I'm not quite sure what motivated me to watch this one. But I'm honestly glad I did. Where I expected a jingoistic AMERICA FUCK YEAH movie with a self-righteous, arrogant lead, I ended up with a really nice character piece about a man whose heroism is defined, first and foremost, by his goodness. Maybe it's just because I've gotten older, but I've started to turn away from the cynical anti-hero types. The angsting/brooding leads I preferred as a teenager just don't appeal to me as much anymore compared to genuinely kind and good people who just want to do the right thing. In that regard, I really appreciated Steve Rogers and was honestly blown away by Chris Evans' portrayal. Considering that this is a comic book movie, he leant Rogers a depth that made Captain America — a hero that might otherwise be incredibly boring and Stu-ish — the Marvel character I've found most compelling. The supporting cast is also great with all the characters really helping to make the ensemble worth watching. And while Hugo Weaving isn't playing a particularly deep villain, he's just so much FUN to watch. Were there things I didn't like? Yeah. I admired Steve's dislike of bullies, but I felt the message didn't resonate well due to the United States having by far the most powerful military in the modern world. As a viewer, you really do have to make sure to keep a focus on the Nazis and not let that little factoid slip into your mind. Steve himself was bullied, but it's difficult to ever really picture the USA in the role of the victim. Part of me also just couldn't get over the cognitive dissonance of having Captain America be this perfect Aryan specimen going up against the Nazis. I mean, Hitler would cream himself at the sight of the guy, let's be honest. The plot itself is nothing to write home about but, again, what makes this film enjoyable are the characters. The moments of self-awareness, such as when Steve is booed by soldiers who yell for the girls to come back, are a nice touch as well. Little things — such as Steve being an artist — also developed him as a three dimensional character and helped to prevent him from feeling like a generic power fantasy (the way Iron Man sometimes can).
My favorite origin story.
I must admit,I really like Captain America.I really like the character Steve Rodgers. He's just a genuinely nice guy with no emotional baggage or dark past which really is refreshing to see. I liked seeing him become more than just an american propaganda figure and actually going out and fighting battles. And the good thing is that he really needed no character development,the only development he went through was turning into an actual hero rather than just a propaganda icon. I also like the message the movie conveys about always staying true to yourself and to always be the best person that you can be,and that's what Steve embodies. I think Captain America/Steve Rodgers is one of my favorite avengers and I'm really glad to see how things go for him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
One Of My Favorite Marvel films.
Out all the heroes in Marvels' cinematic universe, Captain America is a unique one. Unlike his compatriots, Iron Man and Thor and Dr. Banner, Cap doesn't go through much of a character arc. He doesn't learn a lesson and become a better person for it. It's the opposite actually. He already is a better person, it's important that he DOESN'T change. Just like Eskrine says, "You must promise to me that you will stay as you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man." I do think that is a very character driven film, which might explain why the plot sometimes seems rushed during its second half. The first half is superb, it establishes Steve as a likable underdog, who does the right thing no matter what. He has a good set of morals and he isn't a jingoistic sort of Captain America boasting about home and country. Instead the choice is to emphasize his great humanity, (also present in the comics) Steve is a very moral and upright human being. Surprisingly, Chris Evans is able to convey this wonderfully. He's not like some animated interpretations of the character who give him a booming voice and a boring personality. Chris Evans keeps a human tone. Gentle almost, but still very firm. This is a man of great compassion but also of great resolve. It's refreshing to see this kind of old school hero after many movies portraying dark and brooding protagonists. Evan is perfectly cast and the strong supporting cast isn't to be counted out either. He and Sebastian Stan have good camaraderie, they feel like they've been friends for years. Tommy Lee Jones is enjoyable in, honestly, a role you'd only want to see played by him. Hayley Atwell is strong and sympathetic as Steve's love interest. The growing metaphor of dancing partners is a smart way to watch their romance evolve among everything else in the film. It adds a sincere warmth. When we get to the second half, it gets a little rushed as I mentioned above. But I'd argue it's less about Cap trying to stop the Skull and more about finding his place as a symbol. It comes full circle when we see at the end, a child holding up a trashcan lid (just as Steve does in the beginning, the first of many foreshadowings) with Cap's shield colors painted on it. By the end, he's become that symbol. The film is not perfect, but it is a good one. I'd personally recommend it.
With a title like ''Captain America'', there are only two kinds of movie you can make. You can either go with a tribute to the silver-age, two-fisted serials, or you can make an introspective, 21st century exploration of 1940s propaganda. The movie we get flounders between the two, and fails to deliver either. The movie starts at well enough, giving us a likeable protagonist with relatable origin story. The transition from weakling to all-American superman is nice to watch. It is probably the first time in a movie we get to see how a superhero would really end up: the subject of military interests and crass, smultzy commercialism. The problem is that this doesn't last. The movie almost immediately starts spewing out clichés and stale action tropes. Maybe the corny love plot, hammy villains, and perfunctory melodrama are supposed to hearken back to the old serials, but if they wanted to do that, they should go the whole distance and provide imaginative action scenes too. Instead of Indiana Jones though, Captain America opts for bad sci-fi laser battles and CGI fireballs. Watching this reminded me of the atrocious screen adaptation of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen; big on the CGI anachronistic tech, small on the heart. It also fails as an examination of 1940s sentiments and propaganda, which is a shame because they seemed to be going down that route early on. Captain America gains his fame as a stage character in propaganda shows. It seemed to me that the natural thing to do was to run with the propaganda element. They should have made the villainous Red Skull the Nazi propaganda equivalent, and their inevitable battle the product of two propaganda machines desperate to show which side is boss. It would be interesting arc to have Captain America built up as a warrior on stage, but being unprepared for the real conflict on the front. But they couldn't do that, because they discarded any sense of down-to-earth, gritty realism with Norse magic and laser guns. I wouldn't go so far as to call Captain America a bad film, but it certainly lacks enough good qualities to deserve a recommendation. It is neither clever and introspective, nor good brash fun. I was never bored, yet I was never impressed.
The couple behind me laughed like a pair of hyenas.
I rarely anticipate films from their trailer, since they're always built of the same boring elements. Captain America didn't interest me anymore than "Crocodile Man" would, the flashiness put me off. This time I was fascinated, because the trailer started with showing our hero, Steve Rogers, as a weakling with no power except determination, chosen because "a weak man knows what it is like to be strong". "This sounds smarter than movies," I thought, "maybe it's something I'll appreciate seeing." I was unfamiliar with the mythos, unlike my dad, but didn't care, since the film was likely to make its own continuity anyway. The writers were intending one thing: not a deep, huge philosophical film, or a parody send-up, just a GOOD re-imagined Captain America. From that perspective, they delivered excellently. "Captain America's" characters were built into roles, and each with amazing screen presence. Tucci's Dr. Erskine was my favorite, a benevolently warm doctor, knowing where a true Captain's strength lies. Peggy Carter was also a standout, and I think the key to her success was how official she behaved. Knowing she took her job seriously lent an extra weight to her words, and her relationship with Steve felt natural rather than forced, even if it's obligatory. The audience LOVED the Howling Commandos, and I too was delighted to see those cheery standouts from the prison were going to stay with us to do more awesome things. (Jim Morita stole my screening. My guess is there were people with me actually from Fresno.) What made the film SPECIAL was the dialogue, and good dialogue is rare in movies these days' movies, every conversation a laborious series of statements and pauses, leading to something philosophical. "Captain America"'s feels like conversation, and very funny conversation. While I've enjoyed films like Nolan's "Inception" and "The Dark Knight", their rigidly solemn tone feels like the first thing to suck the life of them, if their characters and ideas weren't so compelling. "Captain America" WAS funny, so it felt alive. The film succeeded in making an enjoyable "Captain America" film, but my only complaint was the plot's speed. What I thought was the 2nd act, the attack on Red Skull's base, was the end. "Captain America" isn't more than backstory, but what a backstory. Do see it.
...Its really good.
I knew this movie would be good. I knew it from the moment I saw the preview. What I couldn't have imagined was how good it would be First off and most notably, it eschews most of the modern tropes for super hero movies. This movie is pure idealism, and that works very much in its favor. And that's not to say that it doesn't try to look at some of the issues the good cap would have, just that it makes them subtle and keeps them from detracting from the movie, or causing a cliche-fest. The characters in this movie are all very likable, and while some didn't get a whole lot of time to develop, the ones that did were able to do so in a realistic and interesting fashion. As for those who didn't, they at least have a feel of realism to them and an air of badass. The fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed, and the special effects are (usually, the vaporization ray looked a little...off) top notch. The film did have its problems. The movie isn't the best paced movie out there. It feels like it ran a bit too long and at the same time, the ending was a bit rushed. It can also get a bit goofy sometimes, but its never a deal breaker. None of these faults are enough to be. The bottom line is that this is a must see movie and an excellent addition to the Avengers canon. Overall, I give this film a 8.5/10 (great)