Captain America: the First Avenger

One more in the string of summer superhero movies, Captain America (C.A.) is another of the Marvel hero’s who will eventually become part of the Avengers (a film which I am anticipating less and less every Marvel movie I see). But unfortunately C.A. carries the baggage of his creation, he is a product of propaganda. An American equivalent to Soviet films like Battleship Potemkin, and films from Goebbels studio like Triumph of the Will; though in comic form. While this doesn’t predispose me towards the film, it has more than enough of it’s own issues which make the film less than spectacular.

The acting, unfortunately, as seems far to common with superhero movies, is somewhat lacking. C.A. (Chris Evans) himself is rather lackluster, he just seems to be there ,no emotion, no force. While performing all his scenes without any great mishap he doesn’t really bring any inspiration or drive to the role. Upon becoming a hero he loses what little depth he had. Unfortunately none of the other good guys seem to be much better,either being without any real character or being far too contrived. Tommy Lee Jones may be the best of the lot, though even he is just an uninspiring military man. Apart from him we have C.A.s best friend (Sebastian Stan), who goes from being the alpha dog, in the start, to a softy at the flip of a switch. This is clearly possible of someone, but it seems so much a change that it would really have to be convincingly done. As for the female lead, thankfully we don’t see too much of her. She doesn’t really seem to have much character, even though as an army officer you would at least hope she had some fight in her. Hugo weaving however does a rather good job as Red Skull. He manages to pull off the craziness, and evil, well and I really wish he was in more of the movie.

Somewhat redeeming is the cinematography, with the scenes being well shot. While there were no scenes which were poorly done, there was nothing really exceptional. Unfortunately the movie is in 3D, which I still think has a long way to go. While this was one of the better uses of it I’ve seen it’s still too hard to focus on the entire screen with the glasses on, which really detracts from the movie. Especially since I saw it in the new Cineplex AVX cinema, which has a larger screen, there were always sections of the screen which were out of focus due to the 3D. While this isn’t the movies fault it does make it difficult to be able to comment on the quality of the filming if you can’t see the whole screen properly. While the filming itself seemed decent, it was marred by the fact that many of the scenes were rather poorly written leading them  to be some well shot but contrite.

Even if we ignore the plot holes, and oddities, there is nothing stellar about the writing. It’s not terrible, we’re not talking G.I. Joe here, but it does nothing to add to the film. The change in tone from when C.A. goes from being a glorified chorus girl to becoming an all American hero is so abrupt that it seems almost like two movies smashed together. Thankfully most of the hero part is fighting and battle scenes so it’s not too bad. The plot itself as far as I can tell is a standard fair C.A. story, with him in Germany fighting off Nazis. While this in and of itself isn’t a bad thing with how often it’s done some innovation would have been nice.

All in all while not being an amazing movie, Captain America was enjoyable to watch (even with all the bad things I have to say about it). In comparison to other super hero movies from this summer it’s better than Thor and worse than First Class, though closer to Thor. Superhero movies seem to be far too much about the action, which is somewhat understandable, while completely ignoring the development and characters which make comics interesting. Thor and this are making me think that The Avengers might end up not being as good as I had originally hoped, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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~ by Chris Stevens on July 22, 2011.

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