Ghostt Reviews Captain America: The First Avenger
A graceful, faithful adaption with a lot of heart, but is it enough?
If Joe Johnston set out to make a solid comic book movie with a lot of heart and cool cinematography, then mission accomplished. This is probably Joe's masterpiece and it may not get much better than this for him as a director. He handles Captain America with stoic professionalism. He was clearly painfully aware that a guy running around in a blue costume called Captain America could easily go downhill fast on the big screen if not handled with care. And does he ever handle with care. He never goes overboard with anything; the movie has funny moments, but never too much. It has some romance but not enough to take away from story. The movie has action, but not make you dizzy action like ole crazy Micheal Bay. But herein lies the problem. Johnston never takes a chance; he is so goddamn mathematical that the movie borders on boring just so no mistakes are made.
While Johnston cleverly avoided making mistakes that irritated audiences (like the failed blue Beast in First Class and every scene in GL)), he never really takes any chances to get the audience fired up. He missed so many opportunities to engage the audience on a visceral level. Here are a couple examples:Howling Commandos zip-lining down to land on the icy roof of a speeding train in the snowy Alps. Sure the Captain executed it flawlessly, but the Commandoes didn't have a problem with landing on a speeding train? Really? what serum they been drinking? Where is the edge of your seat action? What about when Red Skull captures Cap? I thought, 'Oh Boy, Cap is screwed now. The Red Skull is a mad man! Cap is going to get degraded and tortured'...but no, Red Skull punches him a couple of times and .....well, too much spoiler....
Which brings me to my next point. Red Skull was not scary. In this day and age with the bar set high by Ledger, you got to bring it. What happened to Agent Smith? I was freakin scared of him in the Matrix, but here with a wicked Red face, not scared. Did Hugo Weaving not see the friggin Jew Killer in Inglorious Bastards? That was a scary nazi.
Final thoughts: Captain America was mostly a success, on par with Thor and Iron Man. The CGI for skinny Steve Rogers was fantastic and flawless. I loved the tone and look of this movie, the blue costume on WWII background. I generally felt proud for Marvel and for being a comic book fan while I watched this. Captain America was a gracefully played movie, but it never took a chance, and without taking a chance it was never great.
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