Re-Thinking Captain America: The First Avenger
Tumblr GIFs from the Captain America flick inspired me to some excitement about purchasing the Blu-Ray, DVD + Digital combo yesterday morning (only $20 at Target this week). Proof that fan-girl is infectious. 🙂
My first and only viewing of this flick up until last night was on a somewhat frazzled Friday evening before a week-long vacation at the beach. I’d been in charge of packing, grocery shopping and about a dozen other things…so mentally I was a bit fried. I will admit to this coloring my perception of the film at the time.
My original opinions were that it relied very extensively on CGI, rushed through so much material (don’t they all?) and borrowed heavily from other genre films in its concepts.
Who didn’t think that motorcycle chase through the woods smacked of the Endor forest scene?
Chris Evans turns in a fine performance. He is sympathetic as a skinny Steve, heroic as Captain America in WWII, then tragic as a sacrificing, suspended-animation-for-70-years dude.
The comedic timing is spot on. Especially Tommy Lee Jones – who in my opinion – has all the best one-liners.
The romance between Steve and Peggy isn’t overly weepy. In fact, Peggy Carter (played by the gorgeous and shapely Hayley Atwell from The Pillars of the Earth), while being one of two or three women featured in the film doing something other than dancing or flirting has a hugely prominent role and holds her own with all the dudes pretty well. Despite the Betty Sue nature of her character.
BRIEF RANDOM TANGENT: The whole scene with her punching the soldier WAS a bit far-fetched for me. She’s an intelligent, capable person…she doesn’t have to use her physical capabilities to intimidate dudes. And who really believed she could punch that jerk-wad out? Classic example of male writers confusing strong female characters with being physically STRONG rather than just well written. We shall have to spend some time and effort revising that term…
Hugo Weaving as Red Skull was spot-on, even loved his accent…though it seemed to fluctuate at times between German and Austrian. He was menacing, but not too scary. Perfect for PG-13 but I found myself wishing that it had a bit darker, more Hell Boy-esque vibe. Like the vision of Nazis and the occult favored by Guillermo del Toro.
Not too sure about Hydra though. Where did all those people come from? Why were they so committed to Red Skull’s crazy-ass cause? That logical leap wasn’t very smooth and I remarked both times on it – why is it so easy for him to recruit more people? Hmph.
LOVED the use of the cosmic cube. Loved how everything is tying so neatly together for The Avengers movie in 2012.
I sense a Marvel movie rock-block coming on:
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
Who’s with me?
To me – the weakest parts of this film had to do with the Americana elements. For a country that is funding two of its longest and most prominent wars (one of the on arguably false pretext), our patience and endurance for war-time heroics is at an all-time low. We don’t feel a war-time fervor. We want out troops home.
For a country on the brink of some kind of revolution in political and economic structure, where people are losing their livelihoods, homes and the ability to feed themselves…the concept of an idyllic Captain America may be tough to swallow.
I get that. But even if you can’t cling to the overt elements of Captain America, there are some excellent subtleties and metaphors to be gleaned here.
It is my firm belief that Cap would always fight to protect injustice. He would urge others to do the same. “Once you start running, you never stop.” It never occurred to him to back down from a fight even if it meant getting beaten down. That’s the sort of attitude that resonates with me in our current national climate.
If he couldn’t physically climb to the top of the flag pole, he would use intelligence and ingenuity to topple it.
There’s a message in there for all of us.
Bechdel Test: ”Captain America: The First Avenger” features two female characters with names who do not speak with one another about something besides males and therefore DOES NOT PASS the women test, DOES PASS the men test and does feature more than two minority characters who have names, but do not speak to one another so it DOES NOT PASS the race test.