Friday, July 22, 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger
Hokay, so I'm not exactly an expert on comic books. "But Kalpar!" you exclaim, "Don't you review comic books on this very site?" Well, yes, but only because Katie is too distracted by the smut books she reads. As you probably notice I generally do big thick books that only the insane read. That said, it doesn't mean I'm completely ignorant of comics. I know a handful of things, sort of like how I know a handful of things about France. So it's not that I go in a huge fan of Captain America because I've been reading about him for forever. I'm a huge fan because of the ideals he stands for. So I was kind of super-excited going into this movie.
Like most superhero films, this movie is an origin story. We follow the story of how Steve Rogers, a scrawny sickly boy from the streets of Brooklyn, became the brawny super-soldier Captain America. The year is 1942, America has joined World War II and needs men for the armed services. Steve Rogers attempts to enlist five times, but it disqualified every time because of his extremely poor physical health. Steve's determination brings him to the attention of Dr. Abraham Erskine, a defector from Germany developing a serum to create super-soldiers. Despite the misgivings of project leaders, Steve proves himself not by his physical strength, but by the strength of his heart and morals. However, Dr. Erskine is assassinated shortly after Steve is transformed and all remaining vials of the serum are lost. The super-soldier program is written off as a loss and Steve spends the next year with the USO as part of a traveling act to sell war bonds and stamps. Although he's helping the war effort at home, Steve is frustrated that he still isn't in the fight.
Steve's big chance comes when he entertains some troops on the front lines in Italy. Learning that his good friend Bucky is assumed captured by the nefarious Nazi weapons group Hydra, Steve launches a one-man assault on the Hydra fortress, rescuing numerous allied prisoners. Finally proven as Captain America, Steve and his team work to take down the numerous Hydra bases and help the Allies win the war.
Overall, I really liked this film. Part of that is probably because I like the idea of Captain America and I'm glad this movie turned out as well as it did. Sure it's another World War II story, but it feels earnest somehow. The real gems in this film are the witty one-liners delivered by nearly all the characters. Cap also gets a more updated and, some might say, realistic look to his equipment which I frankly kind of like. Pretty much an enjoyable film.
I do have some issues with the movie, though. As I mentioned, Steve spends a good amount of time with the USO helping with the war effort back home. Yeah, it was important work back during the war, but that's not what I want to see Captain America doing. He doesn't need to be surrounded by dancing girls. He needs to be punching Nazis! When the Nazi-punching finally does start, I was pretty satisfied but it doesn't happen until over halfway through the movie. Just a heads up on that. I was also disappointed that the men who form Captain America's elite team, like the British SAS guy and the Bowler Cowboy are just kind of there. Seriously, I have to call them that because they didn't even toss in names. I really wanted to see more than just a montage of Captain America and his team taking down Hydra.
I also want to say that the romance plot was really awkward and felt shoehorned into this movie. "But Kalpar!" you're probably exclaiming for the second time this review, "You are a well-known hater of romance plots! How can we expect you to give a fair assessment of the situation?" Well, this may be true, but I have a good argument for this. In a two and a half hour film, the romance plot is given...ten, maybe fifteen minutes. It's like the potential relationship between Captain America and Agent Carter was an afterthought. It's weak, undeveloped and contrived leaving the romance plot feel like it was shoehorned into the movie.
Despite my relatively minor issues, the movie overall is good. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you're a fan of the Captain and what he stands for: The Dream. Four sheep.