Friday, 11 May 2012

Patriotic Superheroes Are a Thing Of The Past

With the record breaking release of The Avengers (which I will be reviewing, don't you worry) I thought it's about time we jumped back and had a look at some of the other movies that have led up to this. I've already looked at Iron Man 2 but I've neglected a couple of others. Let's make it up to them. Now we look at the first (and also last) Avenger: Captain America.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a scrawny little fella, has dreams of joining his fellow men in laying down his life for his country. not because war excites him, but because he thinks, 'why should he do any less.' Unfortunately, he's completely unsuitable, physically, for the army and keeps getting rejected. That is, until Dr Erksine (Stanley Tucci) presents him with the opportunity. He immediately signs up and heads off to boot camp. It's obvious, when he stands next to the other soldiers, that he truly was not suitable for the army, as Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) isn't hesitant to point out. Once again, Dr Erksine comes up with a solution. An experiment known as Project Rebirth put together by Dr Erksine and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) (Tony Stark's father). Rogers is chosen because of his humanity, because he's a good person, because he, above all others, will value the rewards of the experiment. Project Rebirth gives Rogers super human strength and abilities. The allies begin using him as a form of propaganda under the name Captain America. But when it turns out the Captain's old friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) might be in trouble, he turns to Stark and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to help him take matters into his own hands and find the evil Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), otherwise known as Red Skull.

Schmidt rehearsing for the annual Nazi show...
They're doing Hamlet. 

A wonderfully well cast movie. Hugo Weaving was a nigh perfect Red Skull. He was delightfully evil and equally chaotic and plain insane. It's always hard to play a super hero antagonist just right as everyone has different interpretations on how they should come across on film (For example, the realism in Christopher Nolan's Batman movies compared to the cheesiness of some other superheroes.) Hugo Weaving managed to strike a nice balance that should please everyone. Chris Evans was fantastic as Captain America, the soldier with a heart the size of America. Admittedly, it was hard to focus on him as every time he appeared on screen my friend had a little fan-girl session. But he did a swell job even though his face and voice did not match his small body at the beginning. Stanley Tucci... well, what can't he do? Another fantastic role from him. I never felt any care, however, for Hayley Atwell's Peggy. She seemed far too plain for Captain America. I honestly felt more attached to the random blonde who randomly kisses Captain America in a cheeky moment of weakness.

On second thoughts... Fan-girling over Chris Evans is allowed.

There were some brilliant decisions with the movie. Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark was a bit of casting genius. The CGI was all solidly handled - people really looked like they were exploding in a plume of blue. Considering how cheesy Captain America has the potential to be, Joe Johnston handled it extremely well. He kept the cheese but presented it with a slight disdain and focused more on the darker elements of the Cap. The war, Red Skull's insanity, the deaths. Things like the sequence of cheesy propaganda stops to Star Spangled Man (A fantastic song. Why was it nominated for an Oscar? Academy? You have some explaining to do...) were fantastically cheesy but Johnston made sure you could see the way it ate away at Rogers. My only major issue with the film was the pacing. There were moments that dragged and dragged on and then they were followed by some incredible action. My advice to the film makers would be cut half an hour. Dragging is one of the worst things in a movie. If someone has to check how long is left, you;ve made a mistake with the pacing.

Overall, a good superhero movie. Not quite as good as the first Iron Man or Thor, but enough to keep us excited for more in the form of The Avengers. A good back story to a good character and one that I could
happily see in more movies, providing that they're shorter.

Best Bit? I'm always a sucker for a good army training montage. Therefore, I shall say boot camp. I loved seeing Rogers at the top of his intelligence and heart.

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