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Captain America: The First Avenger

 

 
Overview
 

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Runtime: 124 min
 
Synopsis: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending USA ideals.
 
Release Date: July 22, 2011
 
Written By: Christopher Markus
 
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3/5


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Posted July 22, 2011 by

 
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For a movie that is meant to show that true strength lies within the heart, Captain America could have used a little more heart in its direction. The First Avenger was a horribly paced movie which doesn’t allow for you to hate it being that the story itself was one that anyone could get behind. Long time Captain fans know his tragic origin story all too well and will be pleased to know that much of it was preserved for The First Avenger. My biggest fear in watching this was that the patriotism element would get corny and unbearable but the movie made fun of that element and it worked out for the hero. It was a very good direction to have us laugh and cheer for the soldiers all while forgetting that we’re witnessing a guy painted like the US flag run about throwing a vibranium shield.

Great Players, Nice Story, Awful Editing

The heart and soul of the Captain America story is World War II and Hitler’s want for a super soldier. Color me jaded having seen World War II depicted in some very realistic ways through movies like Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and The Pianist but Director Joe Johnston took a direction away from real world Nazi killing to shoot the war scenes in a more comic book inspired way. While this made for some extremely clean action sequences, it unfortunately removed any familiarity with the time period previously set by the scenes of young Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) walking the 1940’s New York streets. This odd transition disallows the audience to believe anything being shown, as the scrawny Benjamin Button inspired Rogers is beat up in one scene and a jacked Chris Evans is tossing Nazi’s 10 feet in the air in another.

Historical side note: Another odd World War II element that stuck out was the friendly, fair and equal treatment of non-white soldiers in the Captain’s unit… I wonder which history this was, for it surely wasn’t American history. Still I will happily take this parallel universe that Johnston has made, where a black man (Derek Luke), an Asian man (Kenneth Choi) and their white brothers can “kick it” in 1943 and have it be all love. I know war is hell but racism transcends survival for wicked people.

If the war scenes were a tad more serious in showing us just how drastic the situation was, I believe that the flag painted hero cutting through the Germans would have had a greater impact on the audience and The Captain would have gotten cheers versus the silence that occurred during those scenes. Chris Evans totally had the physique of a super soldier and Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull was perfect, from the make-up all the way down to the cocky Nazi swag, but the show stealer was most definitely Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Hester Phillips. Jones’ hard-edged comedic delivery was spot on and while the girls will awww it up over Steve Rogers’ awkward tension with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), everybody will be laughing at the Colonel’s snide remarks.

There was so much hope in the cast, everyone was likable and close enough to their comic book counterparts to warrant little critique, but the movie was slow, uninteresting and flat. Whoever edited this should really get a do-over as I believe that the elements are there to make this a great movie. However you get tired and bored by the time it decides to pick up the pace. Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark was a notably great distraction by the way, showing us that the Stark playboy antics and brave heart bravado runs blood deep. It is near the end when The Captain gets serious and comes into his own that the movie comes together, but unfortunately it’s just too late.

Be sure to stay after the credits for an amazing trailer for next summer’s The Avengers movie. If anything will get you hype, it’s the opportunity to see all of these guys get down simultaneously. It looks good.


Greg Dragon

 
Cinephile and opinion writer, Greg Dragon has been a fan of movies since the 80's when Kung Fu theater was all the rage and Roger Moore was James Bond. Greg is the founder and lead critic of Spicy Movie Dogs. You can follow him on Twitter @Rafacus or on his Google+ account.