- Reviewed by: 00Dylan
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Current Rating 6.67/10 | 3 Votes
Captain America: The First Avenger marks the end of this year's mainstream comic book adaptations and the last Marvel film until the giant ensemble that is The Avengers hits the silver screen next year. So how did it do? Did Captain America fling his patriotic shield right into our hearts? More importantly, did he leave us excited for next year's superhero extravaganza?
The build-up to The Avengers is one of the Captain's biggest downfalls, unfortunately. Rather than being its own whole feature film, it's simply one act of many. It establishes Captain America as a character, has him throw a few punches (and that shield of his) in World War II, and then he's quickly put away and saved for next year. In fact, fans of the character from the comic books will realize this more than anyone. Captain America is strange because in a way he has two origins. He originally debuted in 1941 as a total product of jingoism, leading the charge against the nazis. He then went away roughly a decade later, only to be revived in the 60s when he's thawed out of a block of ice. This second "origin" is what most of the fans are familiar with and is only touched upon in the film, making it really feel like a prologue rather than a whole film.
If you can adjust your expectations, you'll enjoy Captain America just fine. Expect pulp and lots of it. That's ok, pulp isn't bad, it's just something that we don't see a lot of these days, which actually helps Captain America shine. Pulp is exploitative, sensational, and a hell of a lot of fun. The Captain isn't a deep person. He has almost nothing in the way of inner turmoil. Unfortunately, this makes him a boring character. Fortunately, there's almost enough fistfights, gunfire, and explosions to completely distract you from it.
Chris Evans does fine in the star spangled suit and his supporting cast is strong. Hugo Weaving, as expected, is the absolute stand out as the dastardly Red Skull, a villain so nasty that even the nazis want nothing to do with him. The surprise of the film was Tommy Lee Jones, who gets a much larger role than I expected as Colonel Chester Philips. Philips is rough, tough, and surprisingly funny, and he can always be counted on to keep the Captain in line.
I don't know if I've ever been completely satisfied by a film that's meant to be part of a whole. Even the last Harry Potter, which I enjoyed tremendously, had to be critiqued with its predecessor in mind. Even though Captain America seemingly wraps up its story, you know something is missing. Prior knowledge that the film is a lead-in to The Avengers certainly doesn't help, but you can feel it in the film as well. They don't push things as far as they can be pushed, presumably because they're saving the big guns for next year.
Captain America is innocent, loud, pulpy fun. It won't stick with you, but you'll have fun while it lasts.
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