Review: Captain America

Posted on 29 July 2011

I meant to put this up Monday, but then it got pushed back and back and I said, whatever. Anyway, I saw Captain America last Saturday. Long story short: it is awesome. Short story long below the fold.

Page four of Legends of Tijervyn here, by the by.

Now, I’m not a big comic book guy. I know more than the average bear about comic book superheroes and the like, but I can probably count on my digits how many comic books I’ve actually read, at least in Marvel and DC. No, may introduction to those worlds were via Saturday morning cartoons and movies. I say this so that you know I’m not going to nitpick the differences between canonical Captain America and the movie. I heard a few from my friend I went to see it with who is a comic book fan and knows the mythos, but even he agrees with me that the movie was very well done and the changes made sense to the movie-Avengers continuum. So there is that.

As to the actual movie, I have almost nothing bad I can say about it. It isn’t the most meaningful or deep movie I’ve ever seen, but I didn’t go there to see that. I went there to see Captain America beat up Nazis and Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull. Tommy Lee Jones was brilliant as well with dead-pan snark. In fact, I’d go so far as to say there really wasn’t a bad acting job in the movie. No one felt flat or annoying to me. Over the top, perhaps, but this is a comic-book hero movie that is set in the 1940s. Over-the-top is exactly what it is supposed to be.

If I had to have one criticism of the movie, it was the montage in the middle. The montage itself is actually fun and enjoyable, showing Captain America and his “team” taking down several of the enemy’s bases. It also showcased the strength of Captain America pretty well, too. But, the reason I would complain is that it takes place just after the line “I have some ideas about the uniform”. At this point in the movie, Captain America has proven he isn’t just some USO show morale booster like they have been using him as, and that he actually has a purpose in the warfront proper. Said demonstration, a daring rescue of 400 POWs, was done in his “costume” from the show with a leather airmen’s jacket over it and the prop kite-shield which is at least made of functional steel.

And then, boom, montage with the real “uniform” and the painted round shield (which was at least explained in the scene prior) and the movie completely switches gears. That’s right, gear-swap, paradigm shift, and goal change. Now, the goal was always “fight the Nazis and Red Skull”, but the feeling of the first half of the movie (which was very enjoyable) was that it was all about the runty kid who is turning into a super-soldier still having to prove that he can be of use in the war, culminating in the daring rescue. We then get a bit of dénouement and then, boom, montage. After the montage, we now have a new plot. Captain America, the blooded and proven soldier, hunting down the last of the Hydra bases and stopping Red Skull. Both of these “movies” are very enjoyable, and the montage in the middle was good too, but it just felt a hair disjointed to me. Not that I’d say it was a bad movie, because it was a very good movie. It was just two very good shorter movies with a montage in the middle. But, I suppose if I had known that going in, I wouldn’t have been bothered by it. So, there is your heads up.

Oh, and I saw the movie in 2D because I think 3D is an abomination, and I didn’t need to see Captain America’s shield coming right for my head at the cost of the 3D ticket and having to put up with those annoying glasses. But, even in that “old fashioned” 2D, this movie was both a visual treat and a fun superhero action flick with that little bit of superhero high drama and morality that helps us have a bit of faith in humanity.

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