johnlink ranks CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)

The upcoming AVENGERS movie is probably one of my top three most anticipated films for 2012. I figured I should at least see the stand alone flicks before catching the group movie. CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR are the two I need to see, so here is the first…

I watched CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011) on 3.3.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

I went into this wanting to love this movie. Though I haven’t seen THE ROCKETEER in years, I liked the visual aesthetic which director Joe Johnston provided for that film. I was hoping a similar period film about a hero who fights Nazis would be up his alley. I can’t say that I disliked this film, but it certainly didn’t reach my moderately high expectations. The IRON MAN films set a decent bar for others in the Avengers universe to hit. Ed Norton’s HULK mostly made it there. I hear THOR did too. But then, I had heard CAPTAIN AMERICA was solid, and it just didn’t strike the right note with me.

I think most of the issue has to do with how fake the world feels. I’m not talking about the plot, the comic bookiness of it all, or the way the computer technology is woefully inconsistent. I mean the actual world all of this exists in never feels like anything other than a green-screened mirage. The opening act, with an effectively skinny Chris Evans as soon-to-be-Cap Steve Rogers is fairly well executed. I was skeptical of the digital work which I heard was done to make Chris Evans small, but they did a nice job. The future world fair looked cool, and the aesthetic was pleasing. But once they hit the big city, it all devolved.

What would it have cost them top borrow the BOARDWALK EMPIRE set for awhile? There is a show which is done on a moderate budget which looks and feels authentically period. But Chris Evans running down a street past fake buildings and alleys just pulls me right out of the excitement. Heck, even the montage of action in the middle of the film is inane since it merely  feels like actors swinging their arms and firing guns at nothing. Months later, a computer guy puts in an enemy for them to hit, or a shield for them to catch. But it all feels just… so… fake.

Which is really too bad. I like Evans’ Captain. He does a good job with him. Tommy Lee Jones is, as always, very effective as the Colonel who is in charge. Hayley Atwell, about whom I’d never even heard, is solid as the love interest/action sidekick Peggy Carter. So much of the character building in this script seems to hit the right notes, even if the action sequences feel like afterthoughts. I don’t want to discredit this too much for being character first, when the idea is to get people familiar with Captain America in anticipation of THE AVENGERS. But as a result of the action being secondary, the plot points become derivative, and no major characters die (I doubt even Bucky is dead). The ending, however, was a nice reward. I know it stays true to the comics in some sense, but the stakes feel real. Evans and Atwell have done a nice job building a never-to-be-consummated relationship, and the end plays out nicely.

Captain America is meant to be that fish-out-of-water. A 40s’ guy in a 21st century world. I’m looking forward to seeing what is done with the character in THE AVENGERS, even if this stand alone film didn’t quite get it done for me.

SCORES

FILM: 3; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 6: WRITING: 5

3+6+6+5+0=20

FINAL SCORE: 5

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~ by johnlink00 on March 4, 2012.

One Response to “johnlink ranks CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)”

  1. I like the first Iron Man, the second seemed just a rehash of things they wanted to do in the fist. Thor was a good movie, but it seemed to move at odd speeds through the movie. This is where Captain America got it right, the pace is kept steady through most of the movie, or at least I thought it did… the second time I watched it. I saw it the theaters and I was disappointed in it, I think I had higher expectations since I read the comics. I decided to watch it again last weekend when I saw it on the Epix page on Dish Online since it was there and I had some free time.. I don’t know if it was my expectation that ruined it the first time, or my lack of expectation the second time that made it better. Even talking to a coworker at Dish about it, they were on the fence about the movie as well, so it might just be the consensus.

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