Friday, August 5, 2011

America, Fuck Yeah! - Captain America: The First Avenger

B+ (7.6)

Captain America is not your average superhero film distributed from Marvel. It is also a war film set in World War II and thanks to its heavy pro-America tones, a propaganda film that is visually exhiliarating not interesting like The Battleship of Potemkin. It is one of the few warm-ups for next year's Avengers and of all the warm-ups I've seen, this is the best of the lot. Given how this will be the last warm-up, I'm officially ready for The Avengers. 

Captain America has a lot in common with Spiderman. They're both the same awkward-guy-turns-into-a-superhero story. Chris Evans play Steve Rogers, a young man who's enlisted in the army during WWII despite his ghastly CGI-looking thin wafer-looking size. His incompetence in his unit attracts the attention of a whacky eccentric scientist played by Stanley Tucci who subject him in an experiment that will turn him into a super-soldier by injecting him with a substance that looks like steroids. With that, it's time for him to show off his powers and to defeat Nazi officer Johanne Schmit played by Hugo Weaving aka the Red Skull the leader of the Third Reich's science division Hydra who has his own plans on world domination.

First off, let's start with what's wrong with this movies and there are a few, but almost close to being as many weaknesses as there are. First of all, Hugo Weaving is one of a few favourite Australian actors and he's really good in playing evil characters in particular Agent Smith from The Matrix. He plays it well as the Red Skull but looking at him in the CGI is almost laughable and you can easily compare his makeup to that of Voldemort. Both Weaving and Tucci spoke in a German accent which is often laughable and the dialogue is cheesy in where a line of dialogue that is repeated three times leaving it tedious but the biggest of them all is the ending that is completely rushed.

Captain America however is a solid, fun popcorn schlock. What makes it fun is the action that is brilliantly staged and this movie is the best-looking superhero movie I've ever seen. The cinematography is gorgeous and the national imagery that enables you to hook into the war. What wouldn't work is if it doesn't live up to its name. I.e the movie wouldn't be Captain America if it wasn't patriotic because our hero is not only a soldier and a super, but also a national icon. Chris Evans who previously played the Human Torch in Fantastic Four has a lot of charisma as Captain America and more understanding as Steve Rogers who's a small guy who cannot fit in to the big world (inserted cliche). Hayley Atwell who play Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers' romantic has a lot to do unlike most of the non-superhero female roles (the damsel in distress, the love interest) I seen in this genre. She tends to help Captain America's mission to find the Red Skull and finish WWII ASAP. 

Recent superhero movies such as X Men: First Class and Kick Ass has become stylish and hard-edged. But Captain America is the most stylish thanks to, as I already mentioned, the cinematography and direction from Joe Johnston who brings top notch action in here. Thankfully this trend of superhero movies is something that I would like to get use to during the course of the summer.

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