Tuesday 25 March 2014

Review: Captain America - The First Avenger

World of Blackout Film Review

Captain America: The First Avenger (3D)Poster

Captain America: The First Avenger (3D) (fifth-pass)
Cert: 12A / 119 mins / Dir. Joe Johnston
WoB Rating: 6/7

It was something of a golden age for Paramount's Marvel-verse in 2011. While we'd already been introduced to Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk, the Avengers were still a growing glimmer on the cinematic horizon, and the price-of-entry*1 for the movies was still relatively low. It was a time of introduction, rather than continuation, and it allowed director Joe Johnston to tell a rollicking super-hero story set during the Second World War (and indeed from the golden age of comic books themselves). While I'm a huge fan of the Avengers canon in general, I do believe that Captain America: The First Avenger represents a high watermark in visual storytelling for this series. A wartime yarn with 21st century sensibilities, Johnston gives just enough character building to offset the frenetic action sequences.

The film captures the spirit and hope of the era whilst deftly avoiding the general misery of an international conflict, and features characters with bravery and integrity who somehow don't come across as patronising (I'm looking at you, DC). I can't go so far as to call the film perfect of course, and I've picked it apart on several earlier occasions. Nonetheless, this is a film which is (so far) standing the test of time well.

It's unlikely that the Avengers series will revisit the WW2 era again in any long-format media. Notwithstanding that the general timeline has moved forward to the 21st century anyway, Marvel don't seem to be too keen on retreading old ground when it comes to Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and Cap now has a whole bunch of #21stCenturyProblems to deal with (more than most people, to be fair). While Marvel are making a concerted effort to have the character-centric films work independently, that's proving more difficult as their web grows larger*2. Captain America: The First Avenger, however, will always be a great standalone movie.

And who doesn't like watching a bright red skull-faced nazi chasing a magic space-jewel and getting his arse kicked?

Is the trailer representative of the film?

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
I did.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
For me, yes.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Cinema if you can, obviously.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I will, yes.

Will I watch it again?
I will, yes.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
How do you make a superhuman, wearing what is essentially the Stars & Stripes, and called 'Captain America', into a hero who's not a complete laughing stock in this day and age?

*1 in terms of pre-existing knowledge, not actual monetary price of entry. Obviously.
*2 No cross-pollinating pun intended. Although seriously, when are Disney/Marvel going to buy the rights to Spider-Man from Sony and finally have the character do something worthwhile?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• 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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