Sunday, July 24, 2011

At the Movies: Captain America: The First Avenger

Director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer) and screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely have delivered a "note perfect" movie rendition of the origin of Captain America: The First Avenger. Actor Chris Evans absolutely nails the role of Steve Rogers, the skinny but plucky reject who repeatedly gets written off as being unfit for military service, and then volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into the star-spangled superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals during World War II. It's the key aspect of this particular character that Steve Rogers was "Captain America", before he underwent the super-soldier transition, and that's why this film works as well as it does. The inner quality of the man informs the character of the hero. This is the very thing that Dr. Erskine saw in him to begin with. Evans is topnotch, and damn, do they really work wonders in the CGI-process that altered his physical appearance into a 90 lb asthmatic. Wow!

No matter how much box office this flick banks, in a month chock-full of potential blockbusters, Captain America is yet another outstanding effort from Marvel/Disney Studios. Man, that Avengers movie is going to be something to see, and I hope they manage to blend all of these performances together come next May. The strong cast here really embodies many iconic roles from Marvels fictional universe, which is nice considering that certain inevitable changes were made to the Howling Commandos. Still it is ridiculously awesome seeing a version of those guys kick-ass on the big screen. The quality of the work done by Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones and the rest knocks this movie right out of the park. British actress Hayley Atwell WILL break your heart in her role as Agent Peggy Carter. I loved how this relationship was less love interest and more romance. My god she's good in this film, and tough, and beautiful. Don't take my word for it either, news stories are already pointing out how much search engine activity she's generating online. I know that I'm in love with her!

Trailers have clearly established that the bulk of Cap's origin and story occur during the "big war", but the framing sequence set in the modern era is ideally realized too. Everything from the score, to the special effects, costuming and performances just gets it "right" from start-to-finish. And I've got to say that the ending is PERFECT. Look for cameos, both expected (Samuel L. Jackson) and one subtle glimpse at a character who was originally a WW2 ally of Cap's.

I could ramble on, but doing so would likely veer far into spoiler territory, so just go SEE this terrific movie and enjoy it for yourself. Captain America: The First Avenger is easily one of the best superhero films ever made. I'm really proud of Johnston and the guys for not screwing this one up. The "King" would be proud. Highly recommended!


HEH said...

Good to read that this summer superhero movie has substantial quality. On my to-view list! Thanks, Chuck.

Chuck Wells said...

Captain America is easily best of the batch of 2011 thus far, although I've heard good word of mouth on X-Men: First Class. I soured on the X-Men franchise after they continuously "blended" characters from so many different eras. Give me ONE movie with either the original 1960's Lee/Kirby team OR the original 1970's Claremont/Cockrum team and I will stop bitching about what they've done onscreen.

Thor was pretty good, Green Lantern was okay, but Cap really rocks!