Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Captain America

‘O! Say can you see by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming…’ Captain America is here! Oh yes! He might not pack the punch of the Hulk, or the charm of Iron Man, or even the luscious locks of Thor. In fact, he doesn’t even possess a cool outfit. So what does he possess? Sickening amounts of patriotism…and a bullet proof shield. So why do we care? Well, we don’t really, but The Avengers is coming out next year so it’s important to see the origins of Nick Fury’s soon to be newest employee.

The Nazis are marching around Europe causing all sorts of havoc, but uber dweeb Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) just cannot get a place in the army. He wants to get out there and tear ‘Jerry’ a new one - he just “hates bullies”. So when Dr Erskine (Stanley Tucci) offers Rogers the chance to be a guinea pig in their ‘super soldier’ programme, the little guy is more than happy to accept. But why Rogers? Why not someone with gumption like Gilmore Hodge? Well, you see, Rogers is just a really REALLY nice guy - the definition of good. One injection and some fireworks later, Rogers becomes the ridiculously buff and much “taller” Captain America. Now it’s time to get out there and battle Hitler’s secret organisation - Hydra - and stop madman Johann Schmidt.

What do you get when you put the director of Honey, I shrunk the kids and the Rocketeer in charge of a film about science and the second world war? Well…you get a film pretty similar to the Rocketeer with the feel good factor of Honey, I shrunk the kids. Joe Johnston suits the subject matter. He does not try to push it beyond the bounds of what it is. Captain America is the anti-Batman, even the night sequences are bright as day. Much in the way that Spider-Man is unapologetically aimed at 7-year olds, so is Captain America. The problem is, most of the ‘action’ scenes are contained into a montage sequence! Who comes to see a superhero movie where the action is montaged!? After about 20 minutes into the film we are very clear that Steve Rogers is a stand up guy that he cares about his country and wants to make a difference. So things get slightly frustrating when the same message is revisited over and over and over again throughout the film. Its like, “get over it! You are now hench and super human; think of all those mere mortals who are following you into the same battles. Surely you must spare a thought for them?” So ironically, what is supposed to become Roger’s ‘real’ power proves to be just a massive drawback for enjoying the film. Each moment of sulking and self pity drags the pace to a dribble.

Chris Evans does fairly well as Rogers. He manages to pull back his own arrogance enough to make the character remotely believable. Yet all that whining and stropping makes the character quite boring when compared to supporting roles. Hayley Atwell treads a fine line between annoying and endearing as Peggy Carter. Naturally quite a charming actress, she brings Carter to life almost to the detriment of Evans’ performance. But the real stars are Hugo Weaving and Tommy Lee Jones as Johann Schmidt and Colonel Chester Phillips. It’s film like this which remind you of just how brilliant Jones can be in a comic role. Weaving does a stellar Werner Herzog voice, and proves to be more evil than ever as the Nazi leader of ‘Hydra’. It is almost impossible to remember that he once played a cross dressing Abba fan!

If Iron Man was your cup of tea, then Thor probably would not have been. If you preferred Thor, then you probably like The Incredible Hulk over Ang Lee’s version. And if The Incredible Hulk was your idea of the perfect superhero film, then you are an idiot. But if you fancy just a bit of harmless fun, with an emphasis on guilt and responsibility, then Captain America is for you.

6 out of 10 

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