Captain America – A review

The Cap movie is deeply flawed, but ultimately enjoyable.  I’ve told those who have asked that the best moments are in the trailer.

The movie opens, surprisingly, in the present day with a task force finding an object frozen in the far north.  That is surprising because that is how I had expected the Avengers movie to open.  The movie then has a great first act where Steve Rogers is chosen to be part of the Super Soldier project and the origin of Captain America is told.  The second act has the new Captain America becoming a hero.  The third and final act has Cap in a climatic struggle with his nemesis the Red Skull.

Here is what the movie gets right.  It gets Steve Rogers and it gets Captain America.  Steve Rogers is not a hero because he is superhuman.  Steve Rogers is superhuman because he is a hero.  The movie surrounds Cap with an entertaining cast.  The Howling Commandos in particular worked for me.  Dr. Erskine, played by Stanley Tucci, is also very effective – he plays the heart of the cast.  It has a good villain.   Hugo Weaving plays a menacing and crazy Red Skull.   He isn’t as good as, say, Doc Ock for Spidey II or the Joker from the Dark Knight, but he is excellent.  The movie is filled with references and callbacks that fans will get.  My two favorites were the appearances of the Human Torch and Dum Dum Dugan.  Finally, the movie shares a continuity and references with other Marvel movies.  Beyond the cameo appearances by Nick Fury, there is also the macguffin used – a cosmic cube that was previously seen in the Thor movie.

The flaws are twofold.  The first is the action.  There is a lot of action in the movie.  But they ran out of room for anything other than a montage of Captain America in full costume.  The movie spends more than half its time getting Cap into costume and then when it happens they simply portray his adventures in a long montage.  Other than the montage there is one scene, the climax, where Cap is fully on display.

The second flaw is the ending.  The ending contains two deaths that are so “comic-book”‘ish that you feel pretty sure that neither will stick.  That is a flaw of the serialized continuity of the original books that you don’t really want to pull into the movies.  It also plays like a feature length trailer for the upcoming Avengers film.  There is both tragedy and victory, but although there is an extended denouement, neither seems to be fully explored.  I left the movie unsatisfied.

The trailer for Captain America was pretty awesome, I thought.  Those scenes are all present in the movie and are supported in strength by the scenes around them.  If the movie ended as strongly as it began I would be raving about it.  But the end had more fizzle than fireworks.

Also, don’t bother sticking around for the end of credits bonus scene.  It is a short teaser trailer for the Avengers movie that isn’t complete in and of itself.  Wait until a real teaser shows up online…

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