Jul 25 2011

Captain America was very fun

Published by at 12:47 am under Comic Book Movies,Movie Review

I’d give Captain America 3 out of 4 stars.  If you’re into superhero action, I’d highly recommend it.

  • The writing was consistently clever and entertaining.  I’m not sure how much of it I will remember a few weeks from now–most of it wasn’t brilliant–but it was a very fun time.
  • The movie played with a few superhero tropes.  For example, there’s the obligatory chase scene where a villain tries to escape by throwing a civilian into danger.  A villain throws a boy into a river and runs off.  The Captain glances at the boy, who says something like, “I can swim.  Go get him!”  However, I think they could have more smoothly handled the trope that the super-serum could not be replicated.  Spoiler: The project falls apart because one scientist gets killed and he didn’t have any notes or additional doses of the serum anywhere?  Didn’t he have any lab assistants?  (I don’t think it would’ve been hard to plug this hole.  Maybe he was worried that the Nazis would steal his notes, so he did as much from memory as possible and/or he used a code that only he could understand).
  • I liked that Steve Rogers proved himself, whereas many other superheroes are just passively chosen for greatness (e.g. they’re born with superpowers or happen to be in the right place at the right time for a genetically-modified spider bite).   Rogers is selected as the test subject for the serum because he shows uncommon character, cunning and bravery.  The bravery struck me as a bit banal (he leaps on a hand-grenade without knowing it was a dummy).  The cunning was much more memorable. That flagpole scene was pretty kickass.
  • If you think too hard about the plot, it probably makes less sense than most other good superhero movies.  For example, Captain America uses a car-door and a Hollywood prop shield to stop bullets and he’s instantly brilliant with his superpowered shield even though he’s never shown practicing with it.
  • It was a bit refreshing to have a superhero story without a secret identity.  Among the superhero movies with secret identities, I feel the only two that have used them notably well have been Kick-Ass and The Incredibles.  For example, after Kick-Ass gets mauled by a criminal, he begs a paramedic to get rid of his costume so his father doesn’t find out his secret identity.  This leads to a touching and grimly hilarious scene where the father misconstrues just what the crime was.
  • As in First Class, there was some minor historical whitewashing.  Rogers’ unit is racially-mixed, which would have been uncommon in World War II.  (Most Army units were segregated until the Korean War).
  • As with most superhero universes, pretty much everything is hereditary.  (I didn’t see any notable traits distinguishing Shannon Carter from her grandmother or Tony Stark from his father).
  • I found the Stan Lee cameo highly amusing.  “I thought he was going to be taller?”

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Captain America was very fun”

  1. Contra Gloveon 25 Jul 2011 at 4:43 am

    Glad you enjoyed it. I’ll just wait for it on video.

    Here’s an article on “national paragon” superheroes I think you’ll like:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/07/22/men_in_tights?page=full

  2. invader-mynaon 25 Jul 2011 at 7:01 am

    XDDDDDDD That article is hilarious. The Israeli superhero totally just made my day.

  3. Grenacon 25 Jul 2011 at 7:43 am

    I want to go see it, glad to know it didn’t suck 🙂

  4. Anthony Laffanon 25 Jul 2011 at 10:13 am

    There was one difference.

    (MINOR SPOILERS!) They subvert the “everything is hereditary” trait with the whole Fondue/Howard Stark thing, then have Howard flat out state that he has no time for women due to his work.

  5. B. Macon 25 Jul 2011 at 1:12 pm

    “They subvert the ‘everything is hereditary’ trait with the whole Fondue/Howard Stark thing, then have Howard flat out state that he has no time for women due to his work.” He was still hitting on her, I think. Plus, he probably did have time for women if he was inviting them out to fondue parties. 🙂

  6. Wingson 26 Jul 2011 at 11:04 am

    I’m seeing this this afternoon. Hooray for superheroes!

    – Wings

  7. Ivanon 27 Jul 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Acutally, the integrated army was in the original comics featuring the howling commandos (the group of guys cap was leading in the movie; in the comics they had their own comic and were led by a debatably cooler nick fury) was a bit of political activism on the part of Marvel Comics.

  8. B. Macon 27 Jul 2011 at 11:20 pm

    “Actually, the integrated army was in the original comics featuring the howling commandos…” Yeah, but the Powers That Be could probably have parted with that in the movie if they had wanted to.

  9. Paul A.on 30 Jul 2011 at 7:37 am

    B. Mac is pretty aware of my high opinion of Captain America. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie – Tommy Lee Jones was excellent, as usual, as was Hugo Weaving (I really wanted him to say, “Do you hear that, Mr. Rogers? That is the sound of inevitability…). Even Chris Evans was good – and hell, he was Johnny Storm in those godawful Fantastic Four films!

    A note on your notes:

    Vietnam had nothing to do with Cap’s origin – he was created during World War II to punch Hitler in the jaw. What you’re thinking of are later stories written in the 1960s and later when Cap was brought back. It turned out that the U.S. government considered that a dead Captain America was poor for morale, so they basically put someone else in his costume during the Korean War.
    [[SPOILERS]]

    Unfortunately, this individual, William Burnside, was a fanboy (obsessed with Cap, wrote his dissertation on Cap – even I couldn’t get away with that! Academic standards must have been very lax back then). Like many fanboys, Burnside tried to emulate without fully thinking the process through. He took the Super Soldier Serum, but forgot the Vita-Ray part of the process. Turns out that without the rays, the subject develops psychotic tendencies – kinda like steroids! Long story short, the government put this Cap on ice too.

    Anyway, Cap was originally revived (successfully) in 1964 with The Avengers, so Vietnam doesn’t really factor into his origin – I don’t think they ever sent him over. Either way, the deal is he’s frozen accidentally in WWII and he gets thawed out in the present-day.

  10. B. Macon 30 Jul 2011 at 10:28 am

    Yeah, I thought the cast was pretty good. Chris Evans did substantially better as the Captain than as the Human Torch. I’m not terribly surprised by that–he was pretty good as Lucas Lee in Scott Pilgrim and the CA role does not strike me as terribly complex. Hugo Weaving was an unusual choice as the Red Skull, but he also turned out well.



    Ack, I must have gotten the history of the Captain wrong. I’ll take that paragraph out.

  11. Wingson 30 Jul 2011 at 10:48 am

    Knew I though Lucas Lee looked familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

    I liked the movie – I was consistently entertained, and I heard a lot more laughter from the theater than I usually did.

    – Wings

  12. Mr. Crowleyon 09 Aug 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Sorry Im late to the conversation, just scrolling around and saw this, wanted to toss in my two cents. The one scene I didnt get in the film is when they are taking down the HYDRA bases and the Red Skull just shows up in his freakin awesome car and looks like he wants to go all “NO my plans, they are ruined! Ill get you next time Mr. Rogers!” (after I saw the film I had a lot funnier sentence, but its been lost by the winds of memory). The other thing, why the hell didnt the Red Skull stop wearing his mask? I know that he lost it, by he had to be wearing it for some reason or other, and once he loses it, was he just like “I guess I was really beautiful all along!”? Becuase if thats the case, I want to see that dialogue.

  13. B. Macon 09 Aug 2011 at 4:37 pm

    The way I interpreted the mask was that he was only wearing it to keep up appearances with the Nazis*. There might have been a line or two mentioning that the Nazis were freaked out by his, umm, ruddy countenance.

    *Not because he thought he was physically flawed. When the Red Skull was posing for a Nazi portrait, it’s strongly implied that he did it without his mask on. (The painter had a lot of red paint and looked sort of creeped out).

  14. Contra Gloveon 08 May 2012 at 3:11 am

    Necroposting…

    And I’ve finally seen this movie.

    What I liked:

    – The action. It was quite a visual spectacle, watching Captain America beat up enemies and make gigantic leaps in moving traffic.

    – The ordinary soldiers actually proved themselves useful.

    – The war-bond show. I really enjoyed the song, and the girls were cute. 🙂

    What I disliked:

    – Agent Carter. Her character had only one purpose: proving the producers’ superior virtue compared to the people of the WWII era. There is the mere fact that she is a woman commanding a company of men. There was a scene where a recruit mocked her accent and flirted with her, only to get punched in the face. When doing the basic training, she called them “ladies” and “girls” (yes, I know it’s common for drill sergeants to do this, but the fact that a woman is doing this in WWII is meant to be significant.) There’s even the part where Rogers caught himself and called her a “woman” as opposed to a “dame,” and Carter complained about doors being shut in her face. It’s as if the producer wanted to say “let’s put a woman in here and show these knuckle-draggers what’s what!”

    I don’t mind action girls. I mind female characters whose only purpose is to “show those icky boys what’s what” or something.

    – Even though it was a superhero movie, it looked too much like a video game. Even more so, HYDRA looked too much like something out of Halo. I often did a double-take, since this is supposed to take place in the 1940s. They should have kept HYDRA’s aesthetic period-accurate, even if the weapons and technologies weren’t.

    All in all, it was an okay, if silly movie.

  15. B. McKenzieon 08 May 2012 at 3:42 am

    “There is the mere fact that she is a woman commanding a company of men.” Ah, good catch. While historically inaccurate, it’s not one of the wackiest things I’ve ever seen. One of Disney’s marketers for the Mighty Ducks series convinced them to do a co-ed ice hockey team at the Olympics “Junior Goodwill Games.” Collision sports don’t work like that. The Olympics don’t even do co-ed curling!



    Casting Will Smith as James West in Wild Wild West was also sort of a head-scratcher, although some blacks did advance very far in governmental ranks in the Reconstruction Era. (For example, Oscar Dunn as governor, Henry Flipper as a commissioned Army officer, etc). That, and the movie wasn’t very serious to begin with, so I can forgive the history. The rapping, on the other hand…

  16. Contra Gloveon 08 May 2012 at 5:47 am

    Speaking of Mighty Ducks, you’re talking about the cartoon, right? Yeah a co-ed ice hockey team was kind of weird.

  17. B. McKenzieon 08 May 2012 at 7:49 am

    The one I’m thinking of was a live action movie. I am pleased to report I have never heard of any Mighty Ducks cartoons. Those 1990s sports cartoons were awful (e.g. ProStars).

  18. Contra Gloveon 09 May 2012 at 5:53 am

    Haven’t heard of any Mighty Ducks cartoons? The let me introduce you to the theme song for one.

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