Thursday, August 25, 2011

Theater Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Well, I got quite a surprise on Saturday night. My wife and I had our first night out in quite awhile, but I had no idea what we were doing.

To my surprise, after a nice dinner, she took me to see a movie. I had no idea what we could be seeing, but it turned out to be Captain America: The First Avenger. My wife isn't the biggest fan of the comic book movies, but she took one for me - and actually enjoyed it. Either way, I guess I am now on the hook for a chick flick in the future.

Was it worth it?

Chris Evans gets yet another chance to play a superhero. After his turn as Human Torch (who I actually enjoyed) in the much panned Fantastic Four films, Evans gets the chance to play America's superhero, Captain America. And he performed brilliantly.

I must admit, it must be tough for a tall, muscular, good looking guy to pull off a scrawny, down on his luck kid - but in the early stages of the film that is exactly what Evans had to do.

Steve Rogers (Evans) wants to be just like his friends, join the armed forces and kick some Nazi tail. After failing a handful of times to enlist because of his scrawny frame and many ailments, Rogers goes on a night on the town with his buddy Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who is shipping out the next day.

During his night out he tries to enlist one more time, much to the chagrin of his friend. As they fight over whether it is worth it, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) overhears and bypasses the system to get Rogers into the army.

Erskine, unbeknownst to Rogers, has developed a formula that might be able to turn the scrawny Rogers into the world's best military soldier. Rogers' new boss, Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones) would much rather have an already buff soldier take the formula - but Erskine is insistent and Rogers is selected.

During the war a sub group of the Nazi regime known as HYDRA, led by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) has discovered a powerful cube that gives him unimaginable power to create some of the most powerful weapons.

After Erskine is killed by a member of HYDRA, Phillips tries to send Rogers to a desk job and away from the war. Instead, he is enlisted to sell War Bonds and perform in cheesy films. It isn't until he performs for the army group and finds out he is hated - and that his best friend, Bucky is missing, that Rogers takes things into his own hands

Thus the true birth of Captain America.

Rogers, however, is up against a pretty powerful army - and a potent enemy in Schmidt, also known as Red Skull, who just so happens to have been the first guinea pig for Erskine's formula.

I found the film to be, well, amazing. Not sure if it outshines the original Iron Man, but it comes pretty darn close.

The action was pretty great once Captain America went out on his missions. Plus the additions of a few allies, Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke) and Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), were outstanding.

Overall I liked pretty much everything about it. It looked amazing and the acting was superb. I did feel that the love story with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) was a bit forced and a bit undeveloped - but sometimes I feel those sort of get in the way anyway. So, I was ok with it.

As far as the ending, I loved it - however, with the announcement of a sequel I am a bit perplexed how they are going to do it. It must obviously be set in present time then, I am guessing.

All I know is, once the film ended and I saw the trailer for The Avengers I got excited. I have to admit that I had been getting a it irritated that all of these movies were just pieces to gear up for that movie - which I think hurt Iron Man 2 but I hope gets resolved with Iron Man 3 - but, the last two films have sort of stood on their own. So, now I am a bit more excited to see The Avengers play out.


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