Captain America: The First Avenger - Review


Much like "Thor", "Captain America" is one of those superhero-movies that are veeery easy to fuck up (i mean just watch the 1990s movie and the Reb Brown movies).
I never was a big Captain America fan. I don't know if it has something to do with the fact that i am not american or that i just find him just as boring as Superman, but anyway.
Luckily, director Joe Johnston decided to make a Captain America movie set in WW2. Although everybody knows that this movie is yet another marvel movie that is more or less a preparation for "The Avengers" coming out in 2012, does "Captain America" attain the same quality of comic blockbuster fun like "Thor", or is it going to be a disaster a la "Green Lantern"?



The plot:
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 America's ideals. (source: IMDb)

The plot follows Steve Roger's/Captain America's origin story back in the 30's/40's. At times there are also some present day portions, in which the avengers movie is hinted at. Just like "Thor", "Captain America" has plenty of references to the Stark corp., Shield, etc. to hype fans.
Unfortunately Captain America himself doesn't fight any nazis in this flick. It's a fascist organization called "Hydra". But that's overall just nippicking because BASICALLY the hydra and the nazis are the same fuckin thing.
But as much as it is a good popcorn movie, it's at times also extremely corny, which shows for example in some very cheesy and clichee flashback montages, or some dialogue-writing which is out of this world silly
(for example: "you never give up don't you?!" "nope").
But to be fair, the dialogue is mostly written pretty ok. It's by far no masterpiece but it serves the purpose of a popcorn blockbuster movie well. Also you just have to be into this kind of movie style i guess.

Surprisingly enough, the first half of the movie with the origin story of Steve Rogers is the best part. The second half has far not as much of an impact, although containing most of the action. The final act is very rushed and the cheese factor rises to its maximum (and so does the pointless CGI-overkill action). It's simply the result of cramming the big Captain-America-action into the last 30 minutes.

The action (although too CG for my taste) is choreographed pretty well and shows us Captain America making good use of his famous shield. But the action is also not that well paced (rushed) and is literally just thrown at you in the last 30 minutes in a blink of an eye. The movie has a good build-up but the payoff was just a bit too short for me.

The acting generally is ok. It completely fits the purpose here. "Captain America" is an >>old fashioned and cheesy<<< action flick. And that's how it is meant to be.
So it's no surprise that some of the villains are very over the top. But anyway..
Chris Evans does a very good job in giving the audience a relatable main protagonist, with the origin story (the scenes in which he is skinny) being the highlight (both of his acting and the entire movie). His acting shows the agony but also passion that he feels very well without being too patriotic. This really surprised me because the only thing that i remember when thinking of Chris Evans, is his lame-ass performance as the human torch in "The Fantastic Four".
Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull does ok so far but is given waaaay not enough backstory that explains his motivations. It's more like "Well here's your antagonist! HE IS EVIL!!". Also i was wondering if his red skull appearance is his real skull or a mutation or wtf?! The effect looks pretty good though, but his skull is a bit too flexible to be his real sk...you know what? you be the judge.
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter (aka Captain's love interest) was a real pain in the ass for me. Everytime i saw her on screen i just wanted to punch her. Neither did i find her hot NOR likeable in any sense. She is just that clichee pseudo-badass chick "uh yeah i am a carreer-woman which you can tell by my stupid hair, dress and stick-up-the-ass-attitude...but i so desperately want to be badass too"....but that's just my opinion.
With Tommy Lee Jones...well i guess he was just playing himself in this movie.

There are some comedic parts, which are no comedic gold but are pretty much at the same level of popcorn ("Thor-level") comedy. Some nice funny parts include: a nice tribute to the first Captain America comic book cover, in which he punches Hitler in the face, AND OF COURSE another awesome cameo from Stan Lee, which NEVER get old.
And...well ok,the following is not really intended comedy but i found it very amusing that everyone of the Captain-America-Team is wearing some form of camouflage but ONLY Captain America himself is wearing BLUE RED AND WHITE...you know...HE JUST BLENDS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT!!

The effects in "Captain America" in the first half are kept to a minimum when they suddenly seem to EXPLODE in the last 30 minutes of the movie with all the CG-action.
But undeniably the best effect of the entire movie is the skinny Chris Evans in the first half. As far as i know this was entirely made digitally and it looks impressively real. This is one of the best digital effects i have seen at least this entire year.
Other memorable effects include the Red Skull's face, which (as i already mentioned) at times felt a bit to rubbery and too flexible to represent an actual skull but nevermind.
I just wished they would have lowered the CG in the final showdown (which turned out to be a big CGI-extravaganza).

All in all, "Captain America" is a nice popcorn movie.
On the one hand, i have to admit that i was wrong: i always expected "Captain America" to suck and it actually doesn't, but on the other hand, "Captain America" doesn't dare to try anything new. It plays completely after the rules of decent popcorn comic book movies like the ones from the 90's.
It does give us a decent protagonist (Captain America) and antagonist (Red Skull), but absolutely nothing new that we haven't seen before. But i think this movie didn't really have and want to anyway.
"Captain America" for me is more or less on the same level of quality as "Thor", which results in the following ranking for the big four comic book movies of this year:

"Green Lantern" < "Captain America"/"Thor" < "X-Men: First Class"

In the end, my personal opinion is that i had slightly more fun with "Thor". Nevertheless "Captain America" surpassed my expectations by far.
Director Joe Johnston earned much respect for doing such a good job in giving us a decent popcorn movie made out of (let's be honest) such a silly and goofy source material (no offense to captain america fans!).
It's definitely a must-see for Marvel- and Captain America fans but for everyone else: watch the trailers, and if you like what you see then go see it.
Considering the mainstream audience, it might be a very polarizing movie. So check out Marvel's third good superhero movie this year "Captain America".


Final Verdict: 6 out of 10

 

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