Captain America: The First Avenger

22 07 2011

“Captain America: The First Avenger,” and the last Marvel tie-on before “The Avengers” hits theaters in May. Is it any good? I mean, the last superhero flick was “Green Lantern.” I enjoyed it, but most of the world didn’t seem to. Back to “Captain America,” it is very good.

Chris Evans plays the title character, and when I first heard that he was cast, I was a bit skeptical. He played Johnny Storm in “Fantastic Four,” horrible movie, weak performance. But I’m surprised at his performance in “Captain America.” It’s an action movie performance, comparable with Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” or Han Solo in “Star Wars.”

He delivers the performance suiting to this superhero period piece. So do all the supporting actors. I especially liked Tommy Lee Jones as the hardened Colonel. And Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull, Cap’s nemesis, is pretty menacing as well, though perhaps not as much as he should be.

The story is this. It’s 1941. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants to join the army and fight for his country, but he is unfit to do so, because he’s skinny, weak and small as hell. Fortunately though, at the Stark expo, his patriotic ramblings are heard by Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who later asks Rogers to volunteer for a secret military project that could change the war, or the world, forever.

Rogers agrees of course, and after a series of flashy lights created by Howard Stark’s (Dominic Cooper) unexplained machine, he becomes a really strong guy. And after a badass, visually amazing chase sequence through Brooklyn, he is sighted by the press, and named Captain America, the guy to kick Hitler’s ass.

As promised, Captain America frees imprisoned U.S. troops, kicks some MP40-armed fascist butt, and meets Johann Schmidt aka Red Skull, basically a really evil man with plans to take over the world for some reason.

What follows is a cat-and-mouse chase through WW2. Tanks get blown up, people get thrown everywhere, shields get thrown at the screen, blue flashes, and everything else from a 40’s B-movie. The 3D is once again unnecessary, but some of the scenes are great. I particularly liked the snow, and the shield soaring towards the camera.

I knew I was gonna enjoy this film. Joe Johnston, the director of this movie, also directed one of my favorite films, “The Wolfman.” The direction in “Captain America” is great. The film reminds me of Spielberg’s movies. Mostly “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” “Captain America” is almost as entertaining as the Indiana Jones picture, and given it’s 2011, that is a serious compliment.

It works best, perhaps, as a film to get you exited for “The Avengers” coming out next May. It’s part of the Marvel cinematic universe, and I’m happy to report that while it isn’t perfect, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is the best of them.

And yes, there is an “Avengers” teaser after the credits. What can I say? It’s a teaser, it’ll get you exited for the movie. It doesn’t show much, but a couple frames of Thor’s awesomeness and Tony Stark’s… being there, is enough for now.

Rating: ★★★½





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