Jamedog Reviews Captain America: The First Avenger
As the final piece to fall in place before The Avengers, did Cap deliver on the goods or was it just a massive disappointment?
To say that I was stoked for this movie would be an understatement. Captain America is right up there with The Punisher as my favorite Marvel character because I could always relate to Cap. The story of Captain America, the story of a skinny guy that no one took seriously stepping up and becoming one of the greatest heroes of all time, always struck a very personal chord with me because I know what it's like to be a skinny guy that everyone else always overlooks. I've followed the Captain America comics closely for years, and when Marvel announced its grand plan to lead up to an Avengers movie back in 2008, this was the movie I was most excited for. So, needles to say, I had tons of expectations for this movie, and did it live up?
From beginning to end, this was the Captain America movie I've wanted for years (and yes, I have seen the terrible 90's movie, and the even worse 1970's t.v. movies). It had everything:the Howling Commandos, The Red Skull, Bucky, The Cosmic Cube, etc. From beginning to end, this seemed like a movie made for the fans, while also appealing to general audiences.
Leading up to Cap, I was worried that this would be too much of a prequel to The Avengers and less of a Captain America movie, but it walks that line perfectly. Not only does it present us with Cap's story, but it plants enough for his future adventures alongside the other heroes of the cinematic Marvel Universe.
The story itself is the basic Captain America origin story. This movie wisely takes its time getting Cap into action and instead takes the Batman Begins and Iron Man route: focusing on the man behind the hero. We see from the beginning that Steve Rodgers is just a normal guy that wants to serve his country, and is finally given his chance. What appealed to me most about this is how "normal" Steve is made to be. These days it seems like every superhero has to have some mental scarring or brooding (just look at the new Spider-Man trailer)and this movie proves that a hero doesn't have to have angst to work.
That brings me to one criticism the movie has been getting: the cheesiness. Thankfully, this movie embraces the cheesiness (something Green Lantern tried, and failed, to do)and models itself after the classic 1940's adventure movies (with a little Indiana Jones thrown in). But thankfully this movie never strays too far into the cheese realm and keeps things somewhat planted.
Chris Evans gives a star making performance as Cap. I was very supportive of his casting from the beginning and he didn't let me down, portraying the everyman aspect of Cap along with the bad ass side. Hugo Weaving has the time of his life as Red Skull, very much portraying a classic mad scientist villain without ever going too over the top. The rest of the supporting cast is top notch, especially Stanley Tucci and a paycheck-collecting Tommy Lee Jones. Hayley Atwell gives a lot of life to what could have been a bland love interest character, and there were times I found myself more invested in the romance than I thought I would have been. I would have liked to have seen more of Sebastian Stan as Bucky but sadly you can only fit so much in one movie, and I'm sure we'll see him in a sequel at some point.
But there are flaws, and the biggest one is pacing. The first third of the movie runs smoothly enough, but it drags a bit toward the middle and it makes you just want to see Cap get into action. The CGI is pretty dodgy in some scenes, and same with the fight choreography. It was clear that a lot of the action scenes were shot for 3D, and I don't know what they looked like in 3D but they looked hokey as hell in 2D.
But overall, Captain America: The First Avenger made me damn happy as a Cap fan. It was a satisfying stand alone movie but it also did a hell of a job getting me pumped for The Avengers (especially with the all too brief teaser at the end). While I enjoyed this movie a lot, X-Men:First Class still reigns as my favorite CBM this summer, followed by Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. That said, bring on The Avengers!
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