Captain America Movie Review

By Vince

Finally, the long wait is over; Captain America: The First Avenger is now in theaters. I managed to catch a midnight release screening, and was very impressed.

I’m going to attempt to make this review as spoiler-free as possible, but if you know the basic story of Captain America, you know the movie. Steve Rogers was a skinny kid, unfit to serve in the military, no matter how much he was willing to fight. His fighting spirit eventually lands him in the government’s Super Soldier Program and Captain America is born. There’s a fun segment in the movie where they don’t want to risk their most prized asset on the battlefield, so Rogers becomes a spokesman for selling war bonds. He wears his classic costume and does song and dance numbers; it’s goofy and hilarious. When they try the same act in Europe, it doesn’t go over as well for the troops, and it starts Rogers down the path to becoming a true hero instead of just a poster boy. He also gets a more “Ultimate-ized” version of the costume, which is just better for a movie.

Once Cap hits the battlefield and starts plowing through Hydra soldiers, the movie really finds its way. The action scenes are well choreographed, with plenty of shield-slinging and director Joe Johnston does a great job behind the camera. Guns firing, explosions everywhere and Nazis getting smashed in the face; it’s all handled well. There’s a chase scene in New York that comes across as more “Spider-Man” than “Captain America,” but it’s a small complaint that doesn’t carry through the rest of the movie.

Making the villains in the movie members of the Hydra organization and setting them up as the Nazi’s “science division” works fine, both for the movie and marketing. What holds it all together is the Red Skull, with Hugo Weaving delivering a fantastic performance. He portrays Red Skull’s slimy and arrogant personality perfectly and is legitimately menacing when in his full Red Skull costume, with the exposed face and long coat. Hydra’s insane technology is everywhere, and the movie does a great job combining Kirby-style designs with real-world functionality.

Beyond that, the Howling Commandos are awesome and Tommy Lee Jones absolutely kills it in every scene. Steve’s relationship with Peggy Carter is okay, with some nice scenes, but felt a bit overdone at the end. However, I’m really not a fan of the way Bucky was portrayed in the movie. In the comics, he was Cap’s younger sidekick, who wasn’t even officially a soldier because he was too young. It led to a great relationship between the two, and made the story overall more relatable to a younger audience. In the movie, he’s a longtime friend of Steve’s and just an average soldier. I understand why the change was made; instead of a couple years worth of comics, the movie only had two hours to solidify the relationship between the two to make their eventual separation more meaningful. It just didn’t do anything for me, personally.

As for the larger universe-building of the connected movies, Marvel Studios has come a long way since Iron Man 2, with subtle but direct links to Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and, of course, The Avengers. I would love to know how average moviegoers, unaware of Marvel’s larger plan, react to the after-credits sequence in Captain America.

Overall, Captain America is a great Summer movie. The patriotic inspiration of Captain America is balanced well with the personal inspiration of Steve Rogers. It’s action-packed, emotional and serious at times, but is fun the whole way through. There are a few plot-holes that still nag at me, but not so much that I can’t go along with it. Looking back and comparing the two, I’d like to say Captain America is the better-made movie, but I still think Thor was more enjoyable, with its grander scope and broader appeal.

Vince is the self-proclaimed “Massive Nerd.” His interests range from video games and comics to anime and Transformers collectibles.

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