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Now Playing: ‘Captain America’, F— Yeah!

Who would’ve thought that Marvel’s final superhero origin movie leading up to next summer’s ‘The Avengers’ would be the best yet? Holding ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Thor’ in such high esteem, I sure didn’t. It seems like after several attempts, Marvel has finally perfected the formula.

Iron Man‘, ‘Thor‘ and ‘Hulk‘ all suffer from the exact same narrative flaw common to superhero origin stories: The first two-thirds of each movie is all back story, while the final act features a last-minute villain for our new hero to defeat. ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ tells a fantastic origin story that perfectly blends with a solid plot, and gives the hero a proper villain to fight.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a 90-pound asthmatic who’s been bullied his whole life. Despite losing every fight, he has never stopped standing up for himself. So, when America gets bullied by Nazi scum, he feels the need to step up and fight against the Führer and his forces. But Steve is too small and has too many health problems. Only when a secret science division of the military notices Steve’s ambition and integrity, is he finally accepted into the army to participate in a super-soldier experiment.

With the help of genetic alteration and unprecedented technology from Howard Stark (Iron Man Tony Stark’s father), Steve is transformed into the military’s bulky, perfectly chiseled one-man army, Captain America. Working for a pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, Cap must hunt down and defeat evil Nazi defector Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) before he can use an out-of-this-world power to destroy America.

A big area in which ‘Captain America’ surprisingly succeeds is its script. From the writers of the atrocious ‘Chronicles of Narnia‘ flicks, I hardly expected ‘Captain America’ to be as well-rounded and strong as it is. Not only does the screenplay feature comedy, romance, drama and lots of stylized action, but it has the most heart out of any superhero comic book movie to date.

Before seeing ‘Captain America’, I looked forward to it simply because it was a Marvel movie. I expected to like it – not love it. So imagine my surprise when I walked out of the theater feeling like I had just seen the best Marvel superhero picture to date. It not only furthers the quasi-reality believability that has been present so far, but adds a whole new level of connection between the audience and the characters. If anyone calls ‘Captain America’ flat, they’re just wrong. The only flat thing about it the film is the 3D conversion.

Rating: star Now Playing: Captain America, F    Yeah!star Now Playing: Captain America, F    Yeah!star Now Playing: Captain America, F    Yeah!star Now Playing: Captain America, F    Yeah!star Now Playing: Captain America, F    Yeah!

10 comments

  1. Love ya Luke, but when you say this “The first two-thirds of each movie is all back story, while the final act features a last-minute villain for our new hero to defeat.” I think that is a perfect description of ‘Captain America’.

    There’s no one to connect to in this movie. No character, including Red Skull, is given enough screen time to become worthy of any sort of empathy. Red Skull looks cool, but all he does is build some nice weapons factories that are destroyed in a couple montages. Man, I totally didn’t feel the same way about this movie as you did. Considering the superhero movies this summer ‘Captain America’ falls behind ‘Thor’ and ‘X-Men: First Class’ landing just about ‘Green Lantern’.

  2. EM

    This “first two-thirds backstory” problem plagues other kinds of movies too. While some great movies have perfectly linear narratives, I think there are a lot of linear-chronology movies which would have benefited from a nonlinear approach. But in movies based on or evocative of comic books, this problem can be all the more frustrating when one realizes that comic books have a rich history of using flashbacks and other nonlinear-chronology narrative techniques.

  3. Brian H

    I was disappointed by Captain America-
    The cast are good and the fx design is nice, but the story is old fashioned, and the characters lack depth.
    It is similar to watching “the Shadow” or “the Phantom.”
    And while there may be plenty of good reasons for a Captain America film to play out like an old serial, I wonder what a director like Kenneth Branagh would have done.

  4. Paul F

    I think the “old fashioned” story is perfect for this character! It was a fun movie to watch and I liked it more then the last Iron Man for sure! The 3D conversion was not the best, especially the way they “tilted” the angles on characters when you were looking up at them. It wasn’t bad 3d, but unless a movie is shot in 3D, I think I’m going to stay away from them.

  5. Ralph

    Gotta say, this movie was pretty bad.

    Joe Johnston took a piece of Americana and turned it into a 2 hour bloat fest.

    At the end of the day, this is an action movie and there was none of that.

    There was movement, not action.
    and I don’t meant Michael Bay action either, I mean, the opportunities to show what Captain America can do was wasted.

    About the only thing that caught my attention was excellent make-up of the Red Skull, the INCREDIBLE lack of screen time Red Skull gets and the quick little snippets we get after the end credits showing the 2012 Avengers movie.

    When you look at this film, one burning question will be on your mind.

    This man is supposed to lead the Avengers?

    Iron Man alone, with his ego will spit in his face. Rogers isn’t even a real Captain for Christ sake.

    This entire movie was a sham.

    If it wasn’t because Tommy Lee was in it, and Evans looks like hes trying to make due with what hes been given, I wouldn’t have even taken the time to write this reply.

    But I think folks are mixing nostalgia, riding high off of Thor and wanting to “stick it” to DC at some level….

    Cause this movie does not deliver the goods.

    My buddies and I left the midnight premiere talking NOT about the movie we just saw, but about laundry and errands and future movies we wanted to see…not a good sign of a movie you’ve just seen.

    I cant think of a single action scene that was memorable.

    Not a single Captain America moment and again, I’m not talking about movement, or his hero shots.

    I’m talking about those moments like Superman’s train scene, or Wolverines fight with Lady Death Strike.

    Hell Nightcrawler’s intro from X-2 was better than this entire movie.

  6. I was going to do a big writeup about how awesome it was, but if you take Ralph’s hate and reverse it, that’s how I feel about the film. Nice and easy :)

    • Luke Hickman
      Author

      You’re dead on. It’s absolutely polarizing. The complaints of some are the praises of others. Dick, you and I are the same side – the RIGHT side :) – as “those who got it.” It’s a pretty weird response.