Wednesday, August 10, 2011
...CAPTAIN AMERICA...Major Disappointment!
Forget coming out and siding openly with Republicans or Democrats, this is the post where I lose a bunch of Facebook friends...
Finally saw CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER last night and I was really, really, extra, super, mega disappointed.
Unlike with the THOR trailer, which I didn't like but the movie turned out to be entertaining, I should have trusted my instincts on the lousy CAPTAIN AMERICA trailer. (Although I love the CAP comics and the characters, so it's inevitable that I had to see this one for myself on the big screen.)
Overall, this movie was long, tedious, and boring...and it took forever to get this train on track. It needs a good edit, especially with the first half. I can't imagine sitting through this one a second time, it was paced so badly.
Once the story gets going, that whole Red Skull/cosmic cube storyline is not that great...and by the end of the movie, the storyline seems to be basically a direct Rainbow Bridge to the inevitable Avengers movie.
A lot of people criticized the choice of Chris Evans online just because he played the cocky Human Torch. Chris Evans was a good choice...and, yes, since he's an actor, he can play the opposite with Steve Rogers: humble and heroic. So that casting never bothered me. That is the least of this movie's problem.
The Red Skull was good enough, although, I think in light of more emotionally complex villains in Marvel movies, such as Loki and Magneto this summer, the Red Skull comes off as a simplistic, old-school cartoon evil villain. Which is about right for the Red Skull if you've ever read CAPTAIN AMERICA comics. So I guess that was good enough but a tad dissatisfying.
What I thought was clever was that they explained the whole Captain America identity initially as an Uncle Sam character to rouse soldiers and Americans during the war. That was a good move and a logical explanation for an otherwise corny alter ego.
A little too much character development and origin stuff before we get to the primo Cap stuff. We also get an entire movie's worth of prototype Captain America costumes...I know it makes sense to save the good costume for the (contemporary) Avengers movie and ground the costumes in reality, but I still don't like these costumes...
That first mission was ridiculous...Did he need to take the phony shield with him on the mission (after all, it wasn't vibranium or whatever) and with a giant American flag on his back, he sneaks around inconspicuously through the Hydra facility. Other than liberating the Howling Commandos, which could've been elsewhere in the movie, this whole part of the movie was unnecessary filler, delaying us from seeing him with the "real" costume/shield.
Way too many contrivances, such as the Nazi escaping in the submarine waiting for him off the dock...Tommy Lee Jones and Sgt. Carter arriving with the car as Red Skull's plane is about to launch...Rogers guessing a phony baseball game on the radio because he happened to be at that game, etc....a million little silly moments like that. Not to mention Red Skull's silly bombs with the names of American cities on 'em. Seriously? They're painting exposition on the side of the bomb props!
They made the Red Skull and Hydra beyond Nazis, so we don't actually get to see Cap do some Nazi-smashing...which defeats the original point of this character.
The zipline to the roof of the train move was cool but ultimately absurd and unnecessary. That whole train battle was kind of dubious.
The romantic tension between Cap and Carter never ignites in a real way. Ultimately, Captain America is turned into a kamikaze pilot (remember, he doesn't know he's going to survive the ages trapped in ice as he crashes Red Skull's plane). I'm not sure how I feel about that part, I think I would've preferred to see him wind up in ice during battle (maybe while fighting the Red Skull on the crashing plane and this way they both get iced and we get the extra threat of Red Skull surviving into modern times...instead Red Skull gets the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" Nazi leader special at the end.)
Another nitpick: What was the point, truly, of that mindfuck 1941 apartment environment that Rogers wakes up in other than to try and trick the audience? Isn't he going to look out the window and see that the cityscape is just a big screen? That was funny.
Finally, it's a contest to see who is phoning in their performance the hardest: Tommy Lee Jones or Sam Jackson. Jones wins since has more screen time. I've never seen Jones look so out of it on screen. He took the money and ran...
After a summer that gave us two terrific Marvel movies in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and THOR, I have to regulate CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST AVENGER to the bottom of the Marvel barrel, where gross stuff like WOLVERINE, IRON MAN 2, GHOST RIDER, Ang Lee's HULK, and ELEKTRA sticks to the ground. It's not nearly as bad as those movies, but given that the source material is Jack Kirby's Captain America (the first comic book I ever read was a Lee/Kirby Cap), the stakes are greater and it's failings make this movie much more disappointing for me.
(OK, to everyone de-friending me right now, it's been nice knowing ya!)