Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

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Friday, July 22, 2011

A Real American Hero

Caught the midnight screening of Captain America: the First Avenger flick today. After the credits is a nice trailer shot for the new Avengers film coming out next year. The rest of the film? Hard to comment on. It was an action-y tale of the initial rise of Cap during World War 2 and how he helped defeat the Nazis when he punched out Hitler. Oh wait, they don't do that. We get Hydra in place of Nazis and it's all about Red Skull instead of Der Fuhrer. Chris Evans did a fine job as all-American Steven Rogers. Now, did they CG the pre-operation body? Or did this guy bulk up like a steroid fiend for post-op Cap? Tommy Lee Jones is cast as the gruff and grouchy commander of the unit that Rogers eventually ends up in, Hugo Weaving portrays the German Johann Schmidt/Red Skull in a curious casting. Then again if Alan Rickman can be a German terrorist, I guess Mr. Weaving can too. Stanley Tucci plays the doctor who developed the super soldier process and comes off as grandfatherly and humorous with his little quips. We also get Howard Stark, Tony's father (or is it grandfather) played pretty well by Dominic Cooper working with the U.S. military as a technical genius. I haven't mentioned Hayley Atwell's role as Peggy Carter, the female main and to be frank, beyond a sort of "I believe in you, Steven, so you should to" role, she was pretty extraneous to the film as a whole.
The plot is a movie about a war hero. His desire to serve, the method by which he can serve, his growth from a sort of a joke into the hero we know him to be and eventually kicking ass. There's a MacGuffin early acquired by the Red Skull and it powers their technology to zap people into dust. And boy howdy do people just get vaporized. Like, War of the Worlds remake level of violence here. They insert a montage in as Cap is doing missions and I felt it detracted because clips of action are not nearly as cool as full scenes set up of assaults and fallout. Then again the film probably would have run for three hours (as it stands it's just over two, clocking in at 125 min) if we saw each of Caps missions played out in full. I don't suppose it's much of a spoiler to know the Skull's ploy is ultimately beaten and we get our Avenger tie-in involving Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury at the end (pre-credits, actually), which led to a weak ending ultimately.
It's a fine film, it falls in line with the other Avenger "prequels" we've had so far with Iron-Man and Thor. Definately not for an audience younger than 10 or so due to the level of violence.

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