Captain America, Fuck Yeah!
After my rather in-depth trashing of X-Men: First Class, I thought it was time for me to step up my game and defend another summer blockbuster that I actually enjoyed. I do this to show that I don’t always use the internet for ranting and raving about films I didn’t like (it’s easier to pinpoint hatred rather than love, it’s true, the internet was made for trolls) and I thought I’d step up and defend what I thought was an extremely solid origin story for the dear old Captain. That is, of America. My three major reasons are described below.
1. Chris Evans, as two dimensional as he is, is believable!
Despite being squicked out by the weird cgi-effect they put on Chris Evans to shrink him to pre-Captain America sizing, I thought he really drew an interesting contrast between pre-Cap and Cap. He’s very much the same person from start to finish, but the progression was startling (definitely in contrast to most other origin stories which I generally hate.) In the beginning, Steve Rogers is very much the wannabe-soldier, hell-bent on protecting the weak and following his own moral code, but a bit snide and bitchy all the same. He knows he’s not as strong and big and nothing will change that, he’s a bit disillusioned. Nevertheless he hates bullies and won’t take crap from them, despite often taking a few punches. Chosen due to his valor, spirit and gumption, he goes on to prove the scientific team right by being generally badass in all ways and he takes one for the team, just as he always wanted to.
2. The ‘Romantic Subplot’ wasn’t hokey or forced
Peggy and Steve had chemistry, hands down. Whether this was Hayley Atwell and Chris Evans doing or movie magic, the two sparkled together and by all standards, they should. She’s a brassy special forces agent, ready to punch a recruit or stand in the middle of the road shooting down an enemy assassin. She’s got balls and wouldn’t stand for a presumed weakling like Steve to be on her roster if she didn’t recognize the power within him. As he proves time and again to be a reliable, devoted soldier and man, it has definite consequences on their friendship. A movie which includes a romance where the couple exchanges not even a whisper of a kiss while the audience can feel the roiling sexual chemistry is a classic trope that can solve a problem like lack of chemistry (ahem, THOR) by using awesome editing and cross cuts. When they did actual lock lips, that charge wasn’t lost, because the way Chris Evans looks at Hayley Atwell whenever they are in a scene together is proof enough. CHEMISTRY. Yow.
3. The villain wasn’t over the top or jokey, he was just crazy enough to be scary.
Hugo Weaving, I have to admit, was a worrisome choice for Red Skull. He’s known for being very dry and reserved in his characterizations, whether Lord of the Rings or the Matrix, so I was wondering if he would blow it all away chewing scenery or act too lackidaisical. He takes it to neither extreme and instead makes Red Skull a very menacing and threatening man who realizes his power, with delusion, (as usual) leading him to underestimate his opponent. While limited to being more of a Nazi example and menace, Weaving does a great job of making audience members squirm when he’s on screen.
I won’t forget though, all in all this film is just another vehicle for the Avengers. Not too much happens to the Cap because he has to get from the 1940s to the 2010’s, so not too many loose ends, only so much can happen. He doesn’t really face any true demons or conflicts other than fighting for his goddamn life, but for a popcorn flick, this was one I’d lose no sleep over recommending to people.
Image #1-3 from KINO Gallery