If it's crap ... We'll tell you
My apologies to my Spilleos and readers in the U.S. who have seen every single Captain America review possible over the past week, but this is one more to the list. Even though this is from the opening Irish weekend for the film (and in 2D) it will most likely be similar to what you've read before. But, judgeing from the positive feedback from fans round the World, that won't be a bad thing, and who knows, I might hit on an interesting viewpoint. i can only hope...
This is the final "Origin tale" movie before 2012's Avengers is released, and despite the likes of Thor holding it's weight very well, Captain America still has a lot to prove. He will be the leader, the brains of the team, and must prove that he can take this role to us. Has he managed to? Well, yes, of course he has, but the proof is in the detail which is worth delving into here.
The film follows Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) who begins as a small, brave, determined, but rather weak man during World Wra 2. He's desporate to enrole in the U.S. Army and serve his country, but doesn't posess the potential to take part. He sees his friends leave, but never loses hope that he may suceed in his attemps to join the war one day.
At the same time, an inner-circle group within the Nazi Army is working to harness "the power of the Gods" from a mysterious cube. Johan Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) wans to use it to create a power capable of destroying cities within an hour, and what initially was designed as a weapon to win the War, fast becomes a means for him to dominate the world without the aid of the Nazis. He creates his own group named "Hydra".
At another attempt to enrole at a World Exhibition, he is noticed by a leading scientist from the Strategic Scientific Reserve, who are working on creating "the perfect soldier." Steve's determination gets him a place in this top-class unit, but his lack of physical strength lets him down initially. He does however, gain interest in his intellect, strategic thinking, and mindset of good and bad. He is chosen as the ideal candidate for the project.
The procedure injects Steve with a serum that increases muscle strength, physical, and mental ability at an accellerated rate, and "amplifies" many other aspects of the test subject. He survives the transformation, now in the image of a soldier at the peak of his strength. However, the experiment is infliltrated by an asassain, which leads to it being shut down indefinately. Despite Steve's success, he becomes nothing more than a figure to promote the recrutement of soldiers, touring th ecountry on a stage show, given the name of Captain America.
It is only when he sees the reality of the War on troops in Italy, and heard that his friend has been captured along with a large troop, that he stands up to become the soldier he was meant to be. He leads an assault on a base deep within enemy lines to save the hostages and his friend. It is here that he encounters Schmidt, and is revealled to be Red Skull. Now, both stories have connected, and begins the story of Captain America's fight to defeat Red Skull's plans to obliterate any cities that might stand in his way of donimation.
This movie takes a rather different style to that seen in Thor or the Iron Man series. It's setting in the 1940's allows it to play on many different kinds of styles from the "modern" look we are so used to. And it works extremely well for our superhero here, he fits into the World just as we wish him to, and he's exactly the kind of small guy rising to greatness that we always cheer for. Chris Evans does a fantastic job here, playing convincing roles both before and after the transformation. His character is honest, true, and likeable right the way through.
Visially, the film scores high marks once again. War-time America and England are captured very well, and even though it never leans too heavily on the period setting, it still carries the vibe even in the scenes that come from the Marvel world. That's a sign of a solid blending of both worlds. Even seeing this in 2D was impressive, the visual effects, lighting, and special effects all are of a very polished quality.
The opening third of the film is for me, the very best. Seeing Steve turn into Captain America is captivating, and there are some lines spoken here that have a level of excecution rarely seen even in serious dramas. It had me glued right from the begining, which was quite a surprise. Hayley Atwell, playing as the love interest, is great here too, especially in the scenes where she keeps the dialogue to a minimum, they really work at building the atmosphere. Hugo Weaving, Tomy Lee Jones and Dominic Cooper (as Howard Stark) all give excellent performances too in theri respective roles.
The rest of the film, I can see would be open to debate for many people. I have heard that it lost the itellect and subtlety of the opening, but I enjoyed it a lot. The level of action incresed significantly, the transition may may been a bit too much of a jolt, but is was where the movie was aiming for. Captain America is made to make the hard decisions, be on the front line, and risk the most. And the film was showing that all the time. For a superhero film, the action was well choriographed and, unlike most films prior to it, always increased in intensity. That was a great joy to sit through, you never knew what was around the corner.
And yes, there was the ending that sets up next years film. I though it could have been approached slightly better on the teaser, but it certainly got me psyched up and ready.
As for faults..... well, I thought the two end scenes cut to black a bit too fast, it felt like they were snipped short at the last minute. The dialogue could have been inproved in the final act aswell, it would have just made the action feel so much better if it had more weight to the words. Also, the scene where Steve is seen to be cheating on Hayley's character looked too much like it was crow-barred in, it just didn't flow with how the movie was going at the time. Then again, it's very easy for a guy like me who hasn't read the comics to nit-pick here, I'm sure that the more I think over the film, the more I'll understand Captain America's character.
So, the final thoughts on The First Avenger? It's a solid superhero film, and was well worth the wait. I'm impressed with how well it sold the character to me, and also provided such a great setting and time period aswell. It had a few points that felt a tad off-centre, but so did Thor aswell. And it's the same result here, the posatives outweigh the negatives.
I'll give Captain America a very high Matinee, it was a thoroughly enjoyable time and had a lot that I can talk over and think back on. That rating might even improve over time as I grow to understand the character more, but the omens look good now for The Avengers. Chris Evans has proven himself more than capable to wear the stars and stripes, looks like the comic stores are going to get a little busier between now and 2012. ;)
Thanks for reading. :)