Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America is a ridiculously patriotic concept. Even though the film tries to play down the nationalistic ideas (having him perform ludicrous USO shows) you’ve still got someone running around killing Nazis with a shield bedecked with the stars and stripes. Undoubtedly some people will leave the theatre with the urge to invade Iraq and you can’t blame them; this is a superhero movie of the top order.
At the heart of Captain America is the wish fulfilment idea of a very weedy guying being turned into the super buff Chris Evans. This transformation is handled excellent and the technology that turns the former Human Torch into a scrawny guttersnipe is extremely impressive. Indeed the whole back story (before he gets the ‘real’ costume) is wonderful. In addition to Evans himself Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Stan and Dominic Cooper all give interesting (if relatively straight forward) performances as ‘the supporting cast’. The build up is the best origin story since Batman Begins and blows trash like Green Lantern clean out the water. It’s a shame that Hayley Atwell’s peachy British secret agent is such a wet towel especially given the spunkier leading ladies that have adorned the silver screen in recent comic book adaptations.
Where the story goes from there must have been the subject of some debate. Whilst they’re in different rooms, the goodies and the baddies (Hugo Weaving as Werner Herzog and Toby Jones as Cowardly German Scientist #1) coexist peacefully, but once they’re face to face the balance shifts. There’s a lot of people exploding into a blue vapour and countless goons get pwned with Cap’s magic shield. Too much running, too much shouting, too much punching. But the filmmakers can hardly be blamed for excessive action sequence, especially in the modern climate. Captain America (The First Avenger in case you were getting confused about chronology) is a fine film in the slow moments and the action is fine, I guess. Done! I’ve made it through an entire review of a Marvel movie without mentioning The Avengers.
Much more fun than I thought it would be, Captain America may have a crappy third act but there’s a lot to enjoy in getting there.