Friday, August 05, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

World War II was America's favorite war. What's not to like? It was easy to be on America's side. The Nazis were an obvious enemy, and weapons were fairly simple back then: tanks, grenades, lugers, and just plain fists. It's there we meet Steve Rogers, who's a real shrimp but long on bravery. When the U.S. Army gives him a 4F rating four times in a row, he opts for an experiment that might turn him into a fighting machine. Sure enough, Stanley Tucci (almost unrecognizable here except for that twinkle in his eye) gives him the full treatment, hoping that this time he'll be successful. Last time, he created a monster (Hugo Weaving, aka Johann Schmidt, aka The Red Skull, aka Mr. Smith -- oops, wrong movie).

But since Steve's heart is pure, we get Captain America. The film's script wisely doesn't send him immediately into battle; instead, we see him as somewhat as a circus clown, going around the country looking brave in a silly costume, getting the American public to buy war bonds. Rogers, you see, doesn't really have any super powers. He has enhanced human powers; in other words, the dude is strong.

This film would've been a disaster except that everybody plays it straight. A strong supporting cast -- Tommy Lee Jones, as one, as the Colonel -- sets up every situation earnestly so that Cap can fight his way out. Even Cap's costume got a workover, and it looks much better on screen than the old '40's uniform would have looked. Think X-Men dark.

One friend who saw the ending didn't like it at all, because it's not the bang-up ending you would normally get when your hero saves the world. However, I saw it coming because, after all, Captain America is the First Avenger.

You fanboys out there who want to see The Avengers, you have to see this one first, you hear? 'Nuff said.

Thumb's up.


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