Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captain America - The First Avenger - A Review

I've seen four live action Captain America movies in the past but the fifth one I just saw today stands out as the best of the lot. The first one (chronologically) was the 1944 Republic serial Captain America starring Dick Purcell, which was standard serial fare except the hero wore a costume - and carried a gun. Then there were the two 1979 CBS TV movies, Captain America and Captain America II: Death too Soon, both of which starred Red Brown. They were both rather pedestrian, although the second one did have the benefit of also starring Lana Wood. Then there was the Matt Salinger starring effort Captain America in 1990, which was actually rather entertaining, if a little directionless. Now we have Chris Evans in the 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger. I had previously seen Chris in the two Fantastic Four movies, where he played cocky Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, so I was a little skeptical when I heard he had been cast as Cap. But I shouldn't have been concerned because he did an outstanding job. In the early part of the movie he's CGI'd into a 90 pound weakling to great effect as plucky Steve Rogers never gives in no matter what the odds. That's the trait that ultimately wins him a shot at receiving the super-soldier serum (although I'm not sure they ever called it that) and bulking him up. Initially he's treated as a bit of a joke, paraded on the war bond circuit, but eventually he wins the respect of his dubious detractors and leads missions against the techno arm of Germany called Hydra. Playing the love interest is Hayley Atwell, who is way out ahead of the women's lib movement, but pretty effective in the role. Then there's the villain, the Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving (remember him as Mr. Smith in the Matrix movies?), who's always effective in ever role I see him in. Tommy Lee Jones and a few more familiar faces are along for the ride, all pretty effective. There's even a Bucky Barnes, but not the kid sidekick of the comics, which was a little disappointing. After all, if you can have an out of reality in-charge woman you ought to be able to have a kid sidekick. Probably not politically correct in this day and age (see also some of my sidekick posts in the early days of this blog). All in all I really liked this movie and highly recommend it to those who enjoy action movies - with or without superheroes. This is the last movie before next year's Avengers movie, but you have to wait past the credits to see a bit of a preview for that.

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