Sunday, July 31, 2011

Captain America: the first celebrity?

Last night I took in Captain America: The First Avenger and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  Having attended my fair share of comic book duds the last few years (and even. This summer with Thor and The Green Lantern) I was understandably concerned that this too would turn out to be much less exciting than I had hoped. And that we would then be subjected to sequels.

Luckily that was not to be and in this film we have hearkened back to what made the original Iron Man so enjoyable. Well placed humour and considered storytelling. Did that make the film a little longer than in needed to be? Perhaps, but it also meant that this film, more than any other comic book foray had heart. And isn't that ultimately what attracts us to heroes in the first place? Their heart.

Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, all American nice guy born of two parents who died fighting for their country. The only problem is, he's tiny. With Steve's best friend Bucky going off to war Steve is desperate to find himself a place in the army. His loved ones have all put their lives on the line and, "he ain't got no right to do anything less." And so enters Stanley Tucci's Dr. Abraham Erskine, who offers Steve a chance to fight. He just has to take a dangerous and untested super soldier serum first. Meanwhile The Red Skull (played with relish by Hugo Weaving) is trying to take over the world with his super secret branch of the Nazi government called Hydra. He has discovered some untold power and intends to use it to destroy the allies. Oh yeah, and he's got super powers too.

While the storyline is most certainly one we've seen before, weight is given to it by grounding it in the second world war. Being that Cap's story was first told during that time it doesn't feel at all forced and in fact works quite well to give their struggles a sense of impending doom. Evans manages (even through all the over-the-top Anericana) to carry the emotional weight of the story well, he is, after all, the titular character. The supporting cast is rounded out quite well with Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell and Dominic Cooper (whose Howard Stark is but one of the many nods to fans who have seen the other movies). In the end this is a solid representation of the Captain America legend and an enjoyable movie. One part Iron Man, one part Indiana Jones and all parts fun if you enjoy a good action movie then go see this one.

Oh,. And one more thing. Stay until the end of the credits. I promise you'll be happy you did.

My rating: 3 of 4

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