Aug 1, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Rating: 34/50 Stars

Superhero movies are getting awfully tired, but Marvel Studios will be damned if it doesn't roll em out while the rolling is good. Thor and Iron Man 2 were ... less than great, but Captain America is, at least somewhat, a return to form. It's no Iron Man, and it's not quite the equal of X-Men: First Class, it's still one of the better Marvel comics adaptations.

Well, it's no Spider-Man, either. And no X-Men. And, really, it's no X-Men 2 ... hmm.

Anybody who isn't familiar with the titular Captain will probably enjoy this movie a lot less than Iron Man, even before you take into account the fact that Chris Evans is no Robert Downey, Jr. Still, it manages to avoid the Origin > Crisis > Climax ladder that most superhero movies are so fond of, giving Cap a fairly touching origin (thanks mainly to a fine performance by Stanley Tucci as the brains behind the experiment that turns 90-pound weakling Steve Rogers into Chris Evans) and then, instead of hurling him directly into the fight against evil, thrusting him awkwardly into the role of a USO poster boy and War Bond shill.

Eventually, however, duty does call, in the form of a friend caught behind the lines and imprisoned by the villainous Hydra, led by the sinister Red Skull (Hugo Weaving, who chews the scenery like crazy, but what's a brother gonna do? He's a crazy Nazi scientist!)

Of course the Red Skull was the first person to go through the super-soldier treatment that created Cap, but the movie nearly unforgivably has Weaving utter variations of the line, "We are not so different, you and I!" Seriously, Hollywood, there should be an ordinance against that appearing in any screenplay, along with, "You fool! You'll kill us all!" and "You don't understand what you're dealing with!" -- both of which occur in this film as well, in various forms. (Note to self, deduct a few more stars.)

Still and all, CA:TfA is a fairly fun ride, though it suffers from a weak ending that really only serves to set up next year's The Avengers, which also has a trailer attached after the credits of this film.

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