If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Hello fellow spilldos! So yesterday, i had the luxury of being able to watch an early screening of Captain America in the military base theater (hmmmm. military? Captain America Showing? i wonder...). I showed up 3 hours early, because i knew this was one of the most anticipated movies this summer, and this had limited seating... i barely made it in. The movie was shown at 6 in the P.M. and people were camping there since 6 A.M.! Those are some fucking dedicated fans.
Now, before i give my review, i want to make a disclaimer and say that i have never read the comics, and i know nothing about the source material at all. I am also a person who is not really deep into the marvel/dc superhero universe, so this review goes as far as my knowledge on superhero films. So this is me purely speaking on how the MOVIE Captain America went, and not my thoughts on the source material.
Okay, so in a nutshell, the movie follows a man named Steve Rogers, a scrawny 90 lb. guy with more health issues than that kid in your highschool with the braces, allergies, asthma etc. He wants to join the military to serve his country. He doesn't want to do it to look good in front of the ladies, or so he can brag about being in the military, he is just a guy who loves the hell out of his people. However, due to his health issues, the military keeps denying him, but he just keeps going for it, he really perseveres. This catches the eye of Dr. Abraham Erskine, who sees him as a perfect candidate for a secret project he is working on. So after pulling some strings, he gets Rogers approved for the military, so he can use him as a specimen to create a super soldier. Once he created the super soldier, Rogers has to take down a former nazi Named Johann Schmidt, who is also an enhanced super human, but tried the serum before it was ready because he was so anxious to achieve power. I say former nazi because Schmidt found some kind of....artifact i guess you would call it? (Captain America fans help me out here) that contains a type of energy that is really out of this world, and apparently this cube that can fit in the palm of your hand contains enough energy to power a whole fucking army. And with that supercharged army, Schmidt believed that he is greater than Adolf Hitler himself, and decides to branch off into his own establishment called Hydra, and tries to take over the world kind of deal, how the rest of this movie is essentially how every other superhero movie plays out. Same song, different band.
Okay, so maybe that was a little more than a nutshell, but oh well who gives a shit, was the movie good or not? Well let me tell you, i would be lying if i said... that i didn't love almost every moment in this film. This movie really captures the spirit of perseverance and benevolence, which is what a superhero movie should do. My one gripe with most super hero films is that they don't really have a person that is a complete nobody. Spiderman, although Peter Parker was essentially a nobody, he still was pretty smart, smarter than the average bear. Iron Man, Tony stark was a super intelligent and rich nuclear physicist that creates weapons. Green Lantern, Hal Jordan was smart ass pilot. There isn't a super hero film out there (that i know of) in my opinion that TRULY captures the feeling of someone going from absolute zero to super hero, until i saw this movie. Steve Rogers was such a whimp, even i felt like i could beat him up, and i got beat up by that kid with braces, allergies, and asthma. They made me believe that this character had absolutely nothing going on for him, and that made me root for him even harder all the way through this film, while he kicked some Hydra ass. Even when he became the super soldier, he never let all of that go to his head. He stayed true to himself, and only wanted to do what should be done and serve his country. The last superhero film i remember that really held it's high ethical standards and morals on its shoulders was Christopher Nolan's Batman. So in terms of how they constructed the premise? This movie had me from the beginning.
So how were the performances? In my opinion, everyone here did a great job! of course it's a summer movie, so these weren't anything outstanding, but nonetheless, most of the actors did one hell of a job. Chris Evans really sold me on being that patriotic guy that really wanted to serve his country, and had nothing but high respect for himself and everyone. There was only one super tiny gripe of mine that wasn't to his fault at all. When he was the wimpy steve rogers, the movie made him look REALLY scrawny, and the CG magic they did to do that was absolutely outstanding. They might have had a body double and cg'd evan's face on that. But it was really believable. In fact, it was soo believable, Chris Evan's manly deep voice seemed a little off putting for that body type. I mean, when i'm up there ready to kick his ass, i expect to hear a soft, quivering voice, not this deep rich voice! Haha, but oh well, it's not a complaint at all, just something that kind of stuck out to me. Again, Chris Evans did a pretty good job in keeping the emotional resonance and the spirit of perseverance. A person this movie that i was kind of disappointed with was Tommy Lee Jones. He seemed like he was just sleep walking through this movie, and it seemed like he really didn't want to be there. He did his job as the colonel, but he didn't really have that militant fire in every word of dialogue that you expect every colonel in the army to have. He was just kind of... there. On a side note, Hugo Weaving chews up every scene he is in as Schmidt. I haven't been following the buzz on the film, so i had no idea that Hugo Weaving was was going to be in this movie. He was almost unrecognizable when he first appears on the scene, but a bit later on in the film i was like "why does he look so famil... OH SHIT THAT'S HUGO WEAVING!". He really blew me away, because he doesn't have that straight forward "Mr. aaaannnndddeeerrrrsssoooon" agent smith voice this time. His German accent was pretty believable, and he just gave it his all in every scene. He really made me believe that he was this insane, evil megalomaniac, angry German. He definitely brought his A-Game to the movie, and really stole the show! Everyone else in the movie, did a great job, but like i said, they weren't oscar worthy, but that's okay, they weren't trying to be! and that's why the performances in this film work.
What about the writing and direction? The one thing i was really worried about walking into this movie was that, being called "Captain America", this film was going to try and shove America's dick down my throat, as well as trying to recruit me for the military. Kind of like Battle L.A., where that movie was trying to be like "oh hey, we're in the military! we are sooo fucking cool, don't you wish you were cool? well you can! if you enlist in the army..." Hell, there was essentially a point in that film where Aaron Eckhart might as well have stopped, looked straight into the camera, and say "Enlist...now...we're so cool". Captain America on the other hand, is an extremely patriotic film, and really wears the "proud to be an american" on it's shoulders... but they were really smart and subtle about it. There is no BLARING feeling of them saying "AMERICA!!! FUCK YEAAAA!", but instead the patriotism was sold symbolically through the glorious shots of Captain America's shield. They do plenty of shots, where they focus on the shield protecting Steve Rogers, him using it to kick Nazi/Hydra ass, bouncing it off tanks, and doing lot's of other cool stuff. Also, they show the shield being beat up and having lot's of battle scars and damages. i feel like these shots were done to metaphorically symbolize the American hardships and that good old American spirit of perseverance to triumph over anything. Granted, throughout the movie, Steve Rogers is always shown as being excited to be in the military, and to serve his country, but that's who this character is, and how he was written to be. They where never beating me over the head with it. Aside from that.... who knows? maybe i'm reading into this shield thing too much, but i'm telling you what i got out of it. Another thing about that really impressed me was how they were able to blend together the Sci-Fi elements with the WW II elements together, and make it work. The last movie i saw that tried to do this was Hell Boy, and it really didn't work out that well. The dialogue in this movie, although it had some cheese to it, was pretty well written. Some parts made me chuckle a little, other parts made me feel inspired. Overall, i really liked the direction this movie went, and how they crafted a story that had those typical cliche' elements of a superhero movie, but did them much better than most of them, and didn't feel as cheesy. I did have small problems with the film, mainly with the climax. Here i will give away a little spoiler, so skip this part if you don't want to know.
SPOILER------------------- the death of schmidt really confused me as to what exactly happened to him. What it looked like to me was that the artifact tore open a hole in space, and disintegrated him? or throw him into another dimension? The consequences of what exactly happened to schmidt was really unclear, but maybe that was supposed to be the point? i don't know... it just reall confused me-----------------------------------END SPOILER.
Another thing that bothered me was a particular scene in Boot Camp that involved a hand grenade that made me go... why would you do that? it's boot camp, there was no need for that? Also, i didn't really get the satisfying feeling of Captain America TRULY kicking some hardcore ass until near the end of the film, and the final battle between him and schmidt didn't really completely satisfy me. However... when he does get to some good ol fashioned ass beating...it's glorious. But these are just minor complaints.
Closing comments: I really loved the hell outta this movie. I really dug the 1940's vibe, and the atmosphere it had. That's another thing i wanted to mention. The 1940's atmosphere was really prevalent in this film. the vibes they give was really swingy. Although sometimes this atmosphere was shadowed at times when the science fiction element was really strong, but it never really felt like a whole different era when that happened. This movie kicked ass, and i feel like the people put alot of love, care, and heart into this movie. So fellow spilldos, this is a movie that i believe you should look forward too! So excuse me while i go enlist in the army......
P.S. Make sure you stay through the credits. usually they do things that really isn't worth staying after, or they show something really dumb, but at this movie? Hahaha, well... you'll just have to see for yourself.