Fact: When asked the question “which five people would you invite to dinner, living or dead, if you were allowed to invite anyone” my answer would undoubtedly be Kevin Smith, Nick Hornby, Hunter S. Thompson, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Stan Lee.
That said, it tends to be hard for me to keep an open mind as I walk into a theater featuring a film involving the last name on my list. I’ve watched as awful casting choices and pseudo directors make a mockery of Lee’s life works. Most of these films were nothing more than excuses for Hollywood bigwigs to line their pockets with quick paydays from summer blockbusters crafted mostly with the intentions of selling Happy Meals, Quiktrip slurpies and television ad space. Without fail, the original stories are manipulated, condensed and turned into a silver screen version of cliff notes for comic book fans. The film version of Captain America in some aspects follows this trend. For example, it is rumored that Will Smith was in talks for the title role, as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air sells tickets to the masses (regardless of the fact that historically speaking only 1/4th of 1% of all troops were African American). Thankfully, the role landed in the lap of the very talented Chris Evans. Balancing a soft and gentle demeanor with a chiseled exterior, Evans balances the roles of Captain America and Steve Rodgers as well as anyone could desire. I honestly have no complaints with his performance and left the theater rather impressed by his appearance as a skinny, ninety pound Brooklyn Boy, watching the war from the outside in.
Furthermore, regardless of my unhidden hatred of the 3rd dimension, the 3D technology used on this film is pretty stunning in this film. With flakes of fire fluttering across the cinema and shields reflecting over the audience, the extra few dollars are well spent for the additional experience. Coming from a crabby writer like myself, who refuses to spend a cent on anything in terms of entertainment, that is saying a lot.
But, don’t get me twisted, Captain America has a few flaws. For example, it was fairly obvious that the entire basis for this film was to introduce the world to the character Steve Rodgers (a.k.a Captain America) in order to set up the 2012 crossover film, The Avengers (which will be directed by Joss Whedon, Buffy fans). However, the almost two-hour theatrical preview (yes kids, that’s sarcasm) does have entertaining qualities worth checking out (possibly even in theaters). With a fairly strong storyline, roughly adapted from the original comics, entertainment is not lacking. Based in the 1940s, during war time, Steve Rodgers begins as a scrappy kid too skinny for war, yet too head strong to run. Offered the chance of a lifetime, Rodgers is given injections to become a super trooper, built like Hulk Hogan. However, after the assassination of the scientist responsible for the war time steroids, Rodgers is used as a figure head to sell war bonds as the character Captain America. The stage isn’t big enough to hold the Captain’s strength, who takes his powers to the field, battling Red Skull and the evil that comes with absolute power. Throughout, the script’s characters are likable (although end up being useless thanks to The Avengers) and the balance of action to comedy is almost perfect.
Overall and regardless of my nerdy whining, Captain America: The First Avenger is worth a look. In recent history, it is among the best of the comic movies I’ve seen.
4 “Comic-Con Kids in Costume” out of 5
by Joshua Hammond