Purely by chance, I ended up at the midnight showing of Captain America in downtown Boston last night.
Purely by chance, so did my younger brother. Perhaps we are related, after all.
Before I start my review, I will sum up my knowledge of Captain America so that you understand where I am coming from: 1) he is patriotic 2) he has a shield 3) he has a sidekick name Bucky—which I only know thanks to recent trips to Target’s action figures aisle. So yes, I come from a world of darkness.
And into the light. Because Captain America was COOL.
It was funny. It was pretty. It was dramatic. It worked. It worked as both a movie and a comic book movie.
It starts, of course, with the origin story. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a scrawny, chronically ill Brooklyn-ite who wants to join the army. He wants to join the army so badly he’s tried 5 times. But then he meets Dr. Abraham Erksine (Stanley Tucci), who sees in Steve the qualities that make not a soldier, but a hero. This is exactly what Dr. Erksine is looking for, because has the serum to make the hero into a supersoldier.
Agent Smith crazy Nazi Dr. Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) is trying to harness the power of the gods to take over the world, not for Hitler but for his own “scientific” organization called Hydra.
Because that always works.
This is one of those movies where there’s so much cool stuff happening I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s not really a question of plot—it’s a very formulaic superhero plot, you won’t really be shocked by anything. But there’s just so many cool things going on. Like a chorus line Captain America. *zips lips*
Suffice to say that after a brief stint as a media consultant, Steve Rogers aka Captain America charges into Nazi territory to save the world. And he kicks ass, and he takes names.
The movie was put together superbly, from the actors to the costume design to the general milieu. Tommy Lee Jones plays Tommy Lee Jones, which he does quite well. Chris Evans is both an excellent scrawny Steve and an excellent ripped Cap. The 1940s sets and costumes and atmosphere were dead on and oh-so-pretty. I love a good 40s setting.
And there are so many little things in this movie, from an Indiana Jones reference to a quick nod to Dr. Arnim Zola’s future as a robot. (<—why I go to these things with the comic geek BF) Everyone freaked out when Bucky picked up the shield. I think a true Cap geek would find a lot of little hidden treasures.
So, yes, I love the movie. A few minor plot quibbles (“so wait, how did she know—nevermind…”) but it was an awesome ride and the time flew by.
Finally, one kind of major point: Captain America is the first of the comic book movies that has made me want to read the related comics. X-Men, well, I already loved the X-Men. Thor, eh. Batman, eh. But in Captain America there was a whole montage sequence that showed Cap and his team going on dozens of missions—and I want to know what they are. His team looks like fun, and I love the character and setting. I want more.
However, having read the new Captain America issue #1 that came out last week or whenever… I was unimpressed. Marvel, if you’re going to make an awesome movie, you should make sure you’re supporting it with an awesome book.
Because, yeah, awesome move. Go see it.
EDIT: and it probably goes without saying for a Marvel movie but stay through the credits.