Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America: The FIrst Avenger

When I was a kid every Christmas my dad would buy me a box of comics from the Sears catalog. These reprints were bargain priced and you got something like 100 comic books in a box. They were worth nothing to a collect but to an 8 year old who loved to read and loved superheroes they were about the greatest thing he could get me.

Those comics were always a grab bag, they were all Marvel so there was Spiderman, X-Men, Daredevil, and so many more. Amongst all the flashy capes and bright spandex there was one hero in red, white, and blue that always caught my attention. I’ll just surmise everything and say that while he was never my favorite superhero, I do have some fond memories of Captain America.

So this weekend when the wife wanted to go to the Sunday Matinee I was totally psyched to see Captain America on the big screen. Though I do have to admit that after the crapfest of X-men: First Class I was a little worried.

I was worried for nothing. I am glad to report that this movie is good, really good. The wife liked Thor better but this one had a campy retro vibe that I absolutely loved. Think of Indiana Jones with super powers you’ll have a good idea of the awesomeness that this movie is.

The plot was a perfect fit for Captain America. It takes place back in WWII and the whole movie has a retro feel to it. There were plenty of nods to the comics from Cap punching (a fake) Hitler ala the original Captain America cover to Caps super James Bondesque motorcycle. I actually found myself chuckling out loud a few times as if I was in on some kind of inside joke between me and the film maker.

The acting in this was top notch. Chris Evans would not have been my choice for Captain America, but I would have been wrong. He does a great job, I can’t think of anyone who would do a better job. Hugo Weaving was a good Red Skull, though the make up to make him Red Skull could have used a little work. But then again making an actor into a talking skull isn’t easy, just look at Ghost Rider. The creepy way they CGI’ed Chris Evans into Steve Rogers at the beginning more than makes up for the Red Skull's make up. My wife actually thought it was a different actor.

The best part about this movie was how human Captain America seemed. He was a normal guy with exceptional powers trying to do the right thing. He didn’t fight like a super ninja, and he wasn’t all dark and gritty. He was just a nerdy guy fighting for his country who got real buff. I don’t want to ruin anything but Cap ends the movie by showing what a real hero he is. (I am talking about the first ending not the 10 minutes slapped on the end to lead up to the Avengers movie coming out next summer.)

For me this is the best movie of the year, hands down.

PS: Though this is a super hero movie I don’t know that it is a kid’s movie. The children in front of me, maybe 5 years old, didn’t know enough about WWII to know what was going on. Plus there are some fairly violent scenes. There was one scene where a man gets thrown into a planes propeller and is liquefied. Again think of Indiana Jones for violence, ie most of it is understated then a nazi’s face melts off.

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