Saturday, 30 July 2011

191: Review - Captain America (3D)

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Captain America poster

Captain America (3D)
29 July 2011. Location: Cinema

This review is relatively spoiler-free, but you kind of know how the plot is going to play out anyway, don't you? Yeah? Good. Read on…

Marvel keep up their excellent form this year with Captain America: The First Avenger, the pre-cursor to next year's Avengers team-up movie, which has been steadily building momentum since Sam Jackson appeared at the end of 2008's Iron Man*1.

To take us directly into 2012's superhero supergroup, we travel back to 1942. The Second World War is in full swing, and the inadvertent rise of a second megalomaniac paves the way for a new type of all-American hero…

The Good: Pretty much everything. It's structured exactly as you'd expect, but given the nature of the origins-tale, it works very, very well. The plot's fairly clearly defined, Steve Rogers is an aspirational model for geek-boys everywhere, the Red Skull's face is revealed teasingly, and there's a semi-macguffin in the form of the Cosmic Cube. Considering that the film is set in the Second World War, and the Nazis (and indeed Hitler) are alluded to frequently, I was also impressed that there are only two swastikas appearing (that I counted). That was always going to be awkward to get around, bearing in mind the movie was to be distributed in Europe.
It's a little hooray for the good guys, boo for the bad guys, but they're likeable/despicable enough to carry this off. Also worth mentioning, the 3D's pretty good in this. Well executed and very effective in places. A welcome surprise, that.
When Marvel get this stuff right, it's like this. Their whole Avengers-canon has been pretty much on fire, and Captain America is no exception.

The Bad: I was a little unsure of some of the geography used in the film. We get title-cards for Norway and New York, but there are very few after that. I'm assuming the scenes with the Red Skull take place in Norway/Germany? The frequent journey-time between America and Europe seems very short. And I couldn't work out where that pub they're drinking in is located. It looks like a traditional English pub, but it might have been in Brooklyn and just given that theme by the owners. But then it gets bombed, so you think it might have been in the East End of London after all?
Oh, and can someone explain to me how Captain America is flying the Red Skull's jet, on a pre-programmed course from (somewhere in) Europe to New York, he decides that crashing is the only solution, and ends up in the arctic circle? That's a hell of a detour.

The Ugly: Hugo Weaving's German accent. How difficult can it be? He's great in every other aspect except the voice (unless it turns out, of course, that he had grandparents who lived in Germany, and that's exactly how they spoke, and if anything it'd be insulting to do the stereotypical accent we've heard in the media for the last sixy-odd years, and did you ever think about that eh?).
Whatever, his accent's awful.

After the Credits: A short scene with Steve Rogers and Nick Fury slides into a teaser for The Avengers movie. That's worth hanging around for.

All in all: Sure, it's two hours of pro-American propaganda, but if you don't expect that from a film called Captain America then you haven't really been paying attention.
This is a great movie. Solidly entertaining from start to finish.

And who knew that the kid out of Mamma Mia! was Iron Man's dad, eh?

A very respectable 6.

*1 …so the Fantastic Four aren't going to figure in the Avengers movie at all, then? I didn't think they were, necessarily, but it'd be embarrassing for Iron Man to be asking why Captain America and The Human Torch look like twins. No matter.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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