Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) - Movie Review

“Captain America: The First Avenger” has some thought process going into it. I can give it that but that is where it stops. Unlike the thoughtless comic hero films that are spitted out these days, Joe Johnston’s film has a character with a feel and punch to him. As a desperate man trying to prove himself that he can do more for the country than help load scrap metals in testing times of the World War II, Chris Evans is reduced my computer graphics into ultra skinny Steve Rogers. He never gives up and ultimately finds a scientist to give him a chance. He takes it and later becomes Captain America.

The title and the character name cannot be cheesier enough. It reeks and drips of patriotism on steroids but when the times are tough and there needs a symbol to get money in bonds, Uncle Sam can use some boost to get some funds and kill Nazis. Stanley Tucci comes as the good scientist who committed a mistake of injecting a super boosting serum to Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) creating super monster of an already developed monster under Hitler’s command. Hearing the accent of Hugo Weaving I was wondering whether Werner Herzog voiced for him to overcome the difficulty of overcoming an Australian accent. Alas, it is indeed Weaving imitating Herzog to the syllable. That it adds a certain madness and weight to his villainous Schmidt does not hurt the film.

Johnston as said earlier gets certain things right and adds sense to this otherwise mundane script. Growing off as being tamed and beaten by the bullies, Rogers gets a chance of a life time in becoming a warrior. A super soldier gaining stronger muscles in couple of minutes without hitting the gym and jump higher, run faster and act quickly. His astonishment should be nothing short of exuberant except he has to get in action right after he gains this power. Chris Evans is the perfect choice for Captain America but not sure whether he pulled of the puny little kid from Brooklyn. Despite the graphics shrinking him, Evans face gives off his original form in stature and acting. Evans is a cool cat in doing easy roles and pulling it off without trouble and he does suit in rightly so in the suit but cannot be Steve Rogers.

Marvel Studios is building and aligning these characters to provide the biggest bonanza of upcoming “The Avengers”. With numerous characters flooding that film, I cannot imagine Captain America getting much light over Iron Man and team. Yet I would be curious to watch that mainly because Joss Whedon is directing it and you never know Chris Evans can do as he surprised me a little bit pleasantly in the much neglected “Push”.

Now a day it is more about how much you can show in the expense report to publicize and market it. Joe Johnston’s film though has that report to brag about, all the action scenes are nothing short of mediocre. The film that builds up early characters in Stark Industries owner Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and bringing the story to the present time and world, fails to connect those characters to the audience. The need and angst for Steve Rogers to keep doing what he wants to do goes unnoticed. Not that any of this super hero films go for the details or layers of character but the work the writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely appeared to be interested in those and rather does not translate well on to the screen.

For the grandeur, hype and spending, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is indeed a sliver of cut above the rest of steady state exercise in the comic film industry. Whenever I see a good actor spewing cheesy lines with an expression of not enjoying that moment comes forth in a blockbuster, my soul dies little inside. And we have that in Tommy Lee Jones out here as Colonel Chester Phillips. Though he is not as pathetic and terrible as Dennis Quiad in “G. I. Joe”.

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