Monday, January 2, 2012

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

After two superhero origin movies in a row that summer, we finally get one where he doesn't start off a cocky, arrogant dickhead.

[Late, late, I know.]

*fairly spoilerish*

One of the things that Marvel does so well is character development, and it firmly establishes Chris Evan's during the first half hour of the film. Every scene with pre-serum Chris Evans portrays him as the underdog with spirit so much bigger than his body (now I sound like I'm reviewing an animal movie), that you just can't help but root for (literally) the little guy. Considering that we're much more used to seeing Evans as the cocky, arrogant comic relief in the Fantastic Four movies (or in anything else, for that matter), surprisingly we are not reminded of his past sarcastic witticisms and the general comic adorableness that we've become so accustomed to.

[I mean, he's still pretty adorable in the movie, but it's not the usual kind, if you know what I mean.]

Even though the CG to shrink Evans is a bit weird (since I'm so much used to seeing him in his usual size), it doesn't pose much of a distraction from the dialogue or anything else, since Evans does a bang-up job as the little guy that wants do so much but is hindered by physical means. The scene where he finally gets the super-soldier serum is really quite satisfying, except for the part immediately after,  where his benefactor (Stanley Tucci in a rare German-but-non-villain  role) is immediately killed by German spies.

Supporting cast can do no wrong: Tommy Lee Jones is awesome as always, while Hugo Weaving turns in another villainous role with a European accent, but eh, when I first saw the casting I thought he'd be perfect as Red Skull, though I think he would be slightly more awesome as Sinestro. It's a pity they didn't bring back John Slattery to play Howard Stark; that would've been a very neat way to link this movie to Iron Man 2.

On an emotional level, the movie succeeds very well as evident by Cap'n's losses throughout the movie. First he loses his best friend Bucky Barnes (in the comics he actually takes over the Cap'n mantle for a while) during a mission, and then at the end, we see him part from his girlfriend Peggy Carter, as he is forced to crash the German craft into the ocean to avoid its trajectory towards the US. We know that Cap'n'll survive that crash (on account of the Avengers), but we also know that he'll never see her again. Watching that scene where Peggy speaks to Cap'n over the radio and finally gets cut off is just heartbreaking.

Overall, the storyline is pretty simple and straightforward (America vs.  the Nazis) compared to other origin movies (evil half-brother always  works for me), but as I said, Captain America has a ton of heart. It's not all happy-endings, but you still leave the theatre with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside that has nothing to do with The Avengers teaser after the end-credits.


[Oh, and Red Skull dies. OR DOES HE?! He looks like he gets obliterated when he's holding the Cosmic Cube with his bare hands, but those of us who paid attention during Thor knows that it looks like a Bifrost Bridge, which is how Asgardians travel from one plane to another. Yeah! Maybe that's how Loki knows how to teleport to Earth without fanfare ^v^]

Ahem. Sorry. Couldn't resist that last bit.

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