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Tony’s Review of “Captain America”

(Image Credit: Marvel/Paramount Pictures)

Better late than never.

Wow… I’m pleasantly surprised with this film. In the battle of DC vs. Marvel, I feel that DC has been winning when it comes to movies. Marvel has quantity, DC has quality. And until Marvel puts out a movie that is on the level of “The Dark Knight”, DC will always be on top. However, Marvel did a terrific job with “Captain America”. As the last film before next summer’s “The Avengers”, there was a lot riding on this movie. The last Hulk and Ironman films were both a little on the disappointing side, and reviews of “Thor” were really good or really bad. This was a movie that had to inject a little hope into the fans for the year wait until the next film.

For those of you with healthy social lives, here’s a quick explanation of just who Captain America is. Steve Rogers is a small, meek guy in 1940s New York who wants nothing more than to enlist and fight in World War II. Steve fakes his enlistment papers and goes to various recruitment centers hoping for one recruiter to have pity on him and allow him in. His exploits are discovered by Dr. Erskine who finds Rogers’ tenacity to be ideal for the super soldier program. Rogers is by far the weakest and most physically inept candidate in the program, but after jumping on a dummy grenade thinking it to be real, and outsmarting the other recruits in a “capture the flag” competition, he is chosen to be given the procedure that would make him a super soldier. The procedure is a success, making Rogers taller and increasing his muscle mass. After an attack by a Nazi spy that effectively shuts down the Super Soldier program, Rogers is used in a propaganda tour to rally American support to the war effort. And to tell any more would be too much of a spoiler.

When I heard that Chris Evans was cast as Captain America, my heart sank. I’d never seen Evans in a film where I thought he was the stand out. After two terrible “Fantastic Four” movies and “Not Another Teen Movie”, I only looked at Chris Evans as mini Ryan Reynolds. Thankfully, Evans must have been saving up his best work for a movie of this sort. Evans easily slipped into the leading man role and showed he can do a role with a minimal amount of sarcastic dialog. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t sarcastic lines. Tommy Lee Jones was the surprising comic relief in the film as Col. Chester Phillips. I only know the character name right now because I have IMDB opened up as I type this. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember his name after the movie and just referred to him as “Captain One Liner”. Funny? Absolutely. Necessary? Not always. It’s obvious that Jones took this role far more serious than when he played Two-Face in “Batman Forever”, but there wasn’t a single scene where he didn’t have witty comeback. An actor of his caliber doesn’t need that. As the villain The Red Skull, Hugo Weaving was the best choice. After the Matrix trilogy, Weaving has proven himself to be a great bad guy. But I’m afraid he’s been typecast because I’ve heard many people say they expected The Red Skull to look at Captain America and say “Hello Mr. Anderson.”

The special effects of the movie were amazing, at times. To achieve the effect of Chris Evans as a 90 pound weakling, many people incorrectly believe the special effects crew put Evan’s head on the body of a smaller actor. In reality, the effect was achieved by digitally reducing Evan’s own body. Knowing this, I have a whole new appreciation for the effects team. However, towards the end of the movie, there are a few shots that were so obviously green-screen that it makes you think the movie was directed by George Lucas. After amazing effects to shrink the muscular Chris Evans, seeing obvious green-screen moments are very disappointing.

Overall, this movie was good, but really should have been amazing. A movie like this really needed an iconic, John Williams score. The music was good, but nothing impressive. This movie could have used the soundtrack from “Team America World Police” and it would have fit perfectly. The acting was great and the story was complete and flowed nicely. It catered to the die-hard comic book fans, but told the story in a way that non-fans wouldn’t be out of the loop. The idea of a chemically/radioactively enhanced man wearing an American Flag inspired outfit is hokey, no doubt about it. But this movie made the choice in costume understandable and actually believable. But really, this movie was lacking something to put it into the “amazing” category, but I just can’t put my finger on it. But it is definitely something you need to see on the big screen.

Yes… this was a real movie.

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