Captain America: The First Avenger

I am going to do something with this review that I have not done before….

I am going to put the My Advice part first because there is a lot I want to mention about the movie, but it will contain a lot of spoilers.  So consider yourself warned if you read beyond the My Advice part…

My Advice:  See it on the big screen and pay full price; 3D was ok, but the gritty war feel is better in 2D…

At this point, you are entering spoiler territory – I bear no responsibility if you haven’t seen the movie and keep reading.

In 2008, I compiled a list of what I thought were my top 10 Superhero Movies of All time.  Number 7 on the list was The Rocketeer.  In reviewing my archives, it appears that I have not actually written a review of the movie – I shall have to fix that.  I bring it up because it was directed by the same person who directed Captain America, Joe Johnston.  I loved how he captured the feel of the time and kept the action moving, despite some lulls in the script.  While some of his other ventures were not well received (Jumanji comes to mind), I still had hope that he could do well with this project.

I was also not sure of the casting of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers.  Like most people, my exposure to his work was limited to his run as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four movies.  Then I saw him in The Losers and I realized that he did have potential to pull it off.

But this isn’t any ordinary hero.  Marvel only had one shot to get it right.  After all, Cap is viewed in similar light as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spiderman.  High visibility and high risk – get it all right and earn fanboy love forever.  Get it wrong, and you will be forever known as the people who ruined a hero.  Want proof?  Ask Brandon Routh how he’s been doing since Superman Returns….

Then there’s the story…

Unlike most “origin” stories, there is not an easy way to update Cap’s.  He has to be a product of WWII, our greatest generation.  Otherwise, his motivations do not make sense in our modern world.  There is also the fact that unlike many heroes, he is truly a symbol, an inspiration to those moreso than Superman or Batman.  I give the writers a lot of credit for holding true to the story of Cap’s origin and making it plausible that he could be found in ice, alive, after 70 years.  For long time readers of the comic, this is his origin.  Some updates and tweaks were made, but overall the writers stayed faithful.

What did intrigue me was the influence of scenes from Star Wars on the overall movie.  And before anyone gets in an uproar – yes, I know, Star Wars was a retelling of The Lost Fortress.

Moving on…

In the opening scene, we have Red Skull looking for something in a Norwegian church.  The way it is framed and the dialog, I was instantly reminded of the scene where Tarkin is questioning Leia about the Rebel Base:

Tarkin: Tell me the location

Leia: Never

Tarkin: Target Alderaan

Leia: No, they are peaceful

Tarkin: You prefer another target? A Military target? then give me the rebel base

Leia: Dantooine

Tarkin: Continue the targeting of Alderaan…

Now the church scene in Captain America:

Skull: Give me the item

Old Man: No matter what you do to me, I will never tell

Skull: True, but there are other targets; your friends, family, children (tank spins to target town)

Old man gestures to hiding place

Skull retrieves object and gives the order to continue destruction of town.

So that is in the first fifteen minutes.  The next time it hit me was when Red Skull was talking to the three generals.  One of them mocks him and his “nickname,” while criticizing his lack of ability to produce items for Hitler.  Very reminiscent of the scene in the Death Star where one of the generals mocks Darth Vader and the Force.  The difference between the two: Tarkin prevents the completion of the choke hold, whereas no one can stop Red Skull from killing the men.

The third scene that brought comparisons was when Steve is talking to the doctor over a bottle of schnapps.  As the explanation was revealed as to why Steve was chosen, I couldn’t help but think of the scene in old Ben’s house as he begins to explain the Force and the origin of Darth Vader.  You could even see the same sadness as Tucci discusses his failures with Red Skull.

There were other scenes, but I am not remembering them as well as these.

The casting ended up being very good.  Dominic Cooper made it easy for us to believe that he could be the future father of Robert Downey, Jr.’s, Tony Stark.  He even copied a couple of mannerisms from Downey.  Tommy Lee Jones was much better suited for his role as a US General here, versus his turn as Two-Face in Batman Forever.  Hugo Weaving was masterful as Red Skull and really allowed you to forget about his iconic villain role in The Matrix.  Finally, Stanley Tucci brought a great touch to the doctor’s character.

The music is also similar to The Rocketeer.  Both had sweeping movements with great undertones.  Alan Silvestri did a masterful job.  This is a must on for any soundtrack lover.

My Advice: See it on the big screen and pay full price; 3D was ok, but the gritty war feel is better in 2D…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *