Sunday, July 31, 2011

Captain America. B+

This was fun. One critic pointed out this is the best of any recent comic books movies because, among other things, Steve Rogers is responsible and heroic before he even becomes a hero. He has no attitude problems that he needs to sort out before becoming a savior, no trust to earn or respect to gain. This can't be said about most of the superheroes who have come to the big screen in the last few years. Rogers' only problem is that he's a little weakling, a shrimp with with not an ounce of muscle or strength, not to mention a host of health problems. When he becomes Captain America (the previews give you a good idea of the transformation, a result of a nifty scientific procedure), Rogers doesn't have anything to learn or prove. His physical condition kept him being a hero. Fast and strong, he becomes a representation of the kind of solider America has always advertised. Captain America is a comic book superhero, but because he doesn't actually have powers like Spiderman or Fantastic Four, he's more like really cool action hero, making this movie is actually closer to a great old school war picture than a superhero flick. There's so much that worked so well in this movie, but I left it feeling some of the action was rushed and hackneyed. After Rogers gets his suit and shield, the movie pummels us with a montage of guns, fighting, and explosions that felt unnecessary. With a daring rescue sequence, a train invasion, a motorcycle chase, and the final battle, Captain America has a little too much action that all moves too fast. These sequences were all pretty cool and original, but they didn't slow down enough to relish just what was happening on screen. That motorcycle chase could have tried to outdo the one in The Last Crusade, but instead it seems to just accept its mediocrity. However, I can say that when Rogers turns buff, there's a great pursuit of an impostor through New York culminating with an underwater sequence that was seriously awesome. Joe Johnston made this movie, and his mark is deeply felt. He made The Rocketeer in 1991, as well as Jumanji (stupid, but I know I used to like it), October Sky, which I need to see again, Hidalgo, a fantastic adventure movie, and then one of his best films, The Wolfman, dark and wonderful, released just last year. One of Johnston's greatest interests seems to be to get it right, which is why he was a perfect choice to direct Captain America. This is one of the most enjoyable movie Summers I can recall, and Captain America ensured that it will be one of the most memorable, too.

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